When a young Matthew Kaopio asked his grandmother Pearl Leilani White about 'aumakua, she got angry. "We don't believe in those things anymore," she scolded. "We are Christian and there is only one God!" While the grandparents of other children in school spoke freely about their family heritage, Matthew's grandmother, for some reason, seemed ashamed of hers. But later in her life when her short-term memory had begun to fail, she returned to the old days and shared the once-forbidden stories with her grandson.
In Hawaiian Family Album, Kaopio presents eleven of his grandmother's stories, each accompanied by a vibrant mouth-brush painting. The stories in this collection are heartwarming, funny, and scary. They tell of a time in Hawai'i when clouds foretold the events of the day, and animals had the power to protect or curse.