A President from Hawaii
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A President from Hawaii

by Joanna Carolan, Terry Carolan, Elizabeth Zunon
     
 

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A celebration of President Obama's ties to Hawaii highlights the state's cultural traditions and includes photos from Barack Obama's childhood.

Barack Obama is the first United States President to be born in Hawai‘i, the Aloha State. A President from Hawai‘i — originally distributed exclusively in that state — explores the unique

Overview

A celebration of President Obama's ties to Hawaii highlights the state's cultural traditions and includes photos from Barack Obama's childhood.

Barack Obama is the first United States President to be born in Hawai‘i, the Aloha State. A President from Hawai‘i — originally distributed exclusively in that state — explores the unique history and cultural traditions of President Obama’s birthplace. In addition to the well-known concept of aloha, it introduces such Hawaiian concepts as kokua (to help), lokahi (unity), and ohana (family), among others, and includes quotes from Barack Obama’s speeches, books, and interviews that reflect and embrace these themes.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
This richly illustrated picture book celebrates Hawaii, the fiftieth state in our union and the birthplace of President Barack Obama. Each two-page spread is a colorful collage of landscape paintings, cut-outs of Hawaiian flowers and foliage, and photographs, many of the President as a child and teenager. The illustrations accurately express the beauty and diversity of these popular tropical islands. Many pages include quotes from President Obama which offer first-hand accounts of his life in the Aloha State as well as the values instilled in him as a child. The author shares information about Hawaiian culture, geography, population, historical facts, family, and ways of life on the islands. Readers and listeners will enjoy learning common Hawaiian words such as 'ohana, mahalo, kupuna and keiki, which are conveniently printed in bold type. This picture book would make a valuable addition to school libraries and classrooms. A glossary of vocabulary words is included in the back of the book.
Kirkus Reviews
Originally published exclusively in Hawaii in 2009, this reissued title is now widely available, just in time for the upcoming electoral race. In what is more a tribute to the 50th state than to President Obama, the Carolans explore Hawaiian traditions and link them to snippets from the president's speeches, writings and interviews. Familiar words such as "aloha" and "lei" give room to lesser-known Hawaiian terms like "pono" (fair or just), "ho‘oponopono" (resolving conflict) and "kokua" (help). Written in rhyming couplets, the text attempts to capture the rhythmic rocking of a Hawaiian wave, yet more often than not, it is stilted and awkward. Some couplets appear to be thrown together almost as an afterthought or filler: "Here is where our president went to school. / Studying hard and getting good grades is very cool." Zunon's illustrations, saturated with lush greens and deep orange sunsets, lend a comforting warmth to the Hawaiian way of life. Photographs, signposts, newspaper headlines and more give a homey, scrapbook feel. Hawaiians do--and should--take great pride in their heritage. This attempt to share it with the world, however, seems like it is piggybacking on celebrity and falls flat. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-9)
Publishers Weekly
The Carolans, a husband-and-wife team who published an earlier version of this book in 2009 via their Banana Patch Press company, pay homage to President Obama and the state of his birth. Zunon (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) contributes oil and collage spreads that both mimic and refine the hodgepodge look of the original, assembling photographs, signs, postcards, and more against the natural vistas of the Aloha State. The overall effect, though, is still quite busy, with pages including childhood and contemporary snapshots of Obama, historical newspaper headlines, and archival photos of Hawaiian royalty. Choppy, strained couplets, which are sprinkled with Hawaiian words (defined in a glossary), present tidbits about the state’s culture and traditions: “It is a gesture of aloha to give a flower lei./ Showing kindness always is the aloha way.” Obama is spotlighted only briefly in the verse, and is instead represented primarily through quotations from his speeches. This slim offering doesn’t provide an especially edifying or informative look at either the man or the state. Ages 7–10. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Part biography, part portrait of the Aloha State, this book covers a lot of ground with a sunny touch. The collage artwork mixes oil paintings with postcards, headlines, and photographs of the president, Hawaiian people, buildings, and landscapes. In the same way, the text mixes information with quotes from Obama. Simple facts such as the number of islands and largest city are interspersed with biographical information about the president's life growing up there and a celebration of Hawaiian culture. "Mana is what Hawaiians call divine spirit or power. They believe it can be found in every person, rock, and flower. Hawai'i had a monarchy, which was taken away, but the people's mana was strong, and it still is today." Hawaiian words are in bold and defined, then listed in a glossary. This is not a book to turn to for reports. Instead, it will be best loved by students interested in the state, and by Hawaiians themselves.—Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763652302
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
07/31/2012
Pages:
24
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Dr. Terry Carolan was born in Melbourne, Australia, and moved to Hawai‘i in 1977. A pediatrician in private practice on the island of Kaua‘i since 1979, Dr. Carolan has written six other children’s books with Hawaiian themes.

Joanna Carolan was born in San Francisco. Her grandparents moved to Kaua‘i in 1967, and she spent part of her teenage years living with them in Wailua. She is an artist and owner of a studio and gallery on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i.

Elizabeth Zunon is the illustrator of several picture books, including Lala Salama by Patricia MacLachlan. She lives in Albany, New York.

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