One Shark, No Swim

One Shark, No Swim


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With Niuhi sharks, even out of the water, you're not safe.

My dreams are nightmares. I don't dare fall asleep.
Guro Hari's teaching me Filipino knife fighting, but I'm too scared to come out of the bathroom. I'd rather learn Lua and train with Jay and Char Siu, but Uncle Kahana won't let me. He says it's for our safety, but I don't believe him.
Uncle Kahana's obsessed with Niuhi stories, Hawaiian myths about sharks in human form. If he's right, even out of the water, no one's safe.
I have a secret knife I call Shark Tooth. I may have to use it.
That thought excites me.
And that's the scariest thing of all.

One Shark, No Swim is Book Two in The Niuhi Shark Saga trilogy.

This edition contains a Hawaiian & Pidgin Glossary and a Discussion Guide. For free classroom materials, please visit

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939967107
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Publication date: 09/21/2013
Series: Niuhi Shark Saga Series , #2
Pages: 302
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

LEHUA PARKER is an award-winning and best-selling author of Pacific literature stories that explore the intersections of Hawaii's past, present, and future. Her published works include the Niuhi Shark Saga Trilogy, Lauele Town Stories, and Fairy Take Ink's Fractured series, along with various plays, poetry, short stories, and essays. Her work is used in public and private school curricula at the elementary to university level. One Boy, No Water, Book 1 in the Niuhi Shark Saga, was a 2017 Hawaii Children's Choice Nene Award Nominee.

Originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools, Lehua is an author, book doctor, public speaker, and educator. Trained in literary criticism and an advocate of indigenous cultural narratives, she is a frequent speaker at conferences and symposiums. Connect with her at

Read an Excerpt

One Shark, No Swim

A Novel

By Lehua Parker, Corey Egbert

Jolly Fish Press

Copyright © 2013 Lehua Parker, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-939967-74-9


Kalei Comes Ashore

~Sashimi: thinly sliced raw fish often served as an appetizer and usually dunked in a mixture of soy sauce and spices before eating.~

When Kalei's shark head broke the surface of the large saltwater pool at Piko Point, all he was thinking about was raw ahi tuna sliced thinly and spread like a fan on a bed of green cabbage. He smacked his lips remembering the last time — how the hot wasabi paste and shoyu burned his tongue; and how the flavor of wood from the chopsticks lingered in the back of his throat long after he'd swallowed each morsel of fish.

Remember to chew, he thought. Humans chew.

For Kalei, eating fresh ahi was no big deal, but having someone else catch, clean, and serve it sashimi-style on a platter was a once in a blue moon special. When a spicy sashimi craving hit, there was only one place to go: Hari's in Lauele Town, Hawaii.

So really, how big could Hari's new TV be? Kalei thought. Last night, Pua kept raving about how it's just like being in the picture. Right — as if that's even possible sitting at my table in the shadows of the oleander bushes. Pua. She's so fascinated with humans, she's becoming one.

He twitched his lips and bared his teeth in a shark-style scowl.

I can't believe she plans to live like them when Le'ia starts school in the fall. Even if I thought Father would agree, I'd be against it. No matter how she pleads, Pua can't make me visit or stay and I won't even if she gets a big screen TV with premium sports channels.

He nodded to himself.

Regardless of what Pua does, I'm keeping my special table at Hari's so I can watch a football game or sumo match in peace.

Sumo! If that new TV of Hari's is as big as Pua claims, I'll have to make sure I've got something more substantial than a sashimi platter of fish in my gut — something like a couple of monk seals or a huge chunk of pilot whale. All that sumo meat in slow motion is like catnip. With Pua and Le'ia living in Lauele, we can't afford another missing tourist rumor.

With only the moon as his witness, Kalei gracefully shifted from Niuhi shark to human form, treading water as he worked his way to the edge of the tide pool. Pausing to wipe his newly human eyes, Kalei inhaled his first breath of air, pulling the oxygen deep into his lungs. Forcing the last tang of seawater from his body, he paused.


His nose twitched. He opened his mouth and inhaled again. He felt microscopic flecks of blood trickle past his teeth coat the insides of his cheeks. There were at least three different kinds of blood in the air and none of them were very fresh. The oldest and strongest scent was fish blood — nothing remarkable on a reef except that it was from a large deep water fish — not something caught or speared off Piko Point and certainly not enough to mark a kill.

The smell is centered near Pohaku, he thought. The cut is from the best belly part of the fish, not the head or tail. There's a hint of banana leaves, too. Someone's lunch?

He sniffed again.

No, there's no whiff of spice or rice. Not even a trace of plastic wrapper. Now why would somebody place a prime slice of raw fish on a banana leaf in front of Pohaku? It's like —

An offering!

Kalei kicked to the rim of the tide pool and considered Pohaku, a sacred round 'aumakua stone that sat like a guardian near the water's edge. Roughly the size and shape of a basketball, Pohaku was often mistaken for an ancient Hawaiian fishing god leftover from the days when stone and wooden gods dotted beaches and hills, but the truth was much more interesting. Most days, Pohaku was content to watch the surfers on the Nalupuki side of Piko Point or to watch the families splashing at Keikikai beach on the other.

Most days, but not all.

Kalei craned his neck — one of the few advantages to his human form — and scanned Pohaku's base for the source of the blood scent. His eyes confirmed what his nose told him: whatever smelled like a chunk of deep water fish on a banana leaf was long gone.

"Who remembered you, Pohaku," Kalei spoke, "but forgot you don't like fish?"

Pohaku didn't answer.

"Too embarrassed to tell the story? Don't worry. I know it's not your fault."

Kalei opened his mouth, letting the breeze tickle his tongue. Like a wine connoisseur, he ignored the flavors of jasmine, seaweed, and hot asphalt as he concentrated on one distinct note.

"I know blood when I smell it, Pohaku. There's fish and two other kinds here. Why?"


"Still not telling? Fine. I'll figure it out for myself."

Kalei gripped the edge of the reef and pulled himself completely out of the water, wiping his face with his hands, and running his fingers through his hair. He stretched a little, holding each arm high above his head and gently pulled on each wrist until the joints in his shoulders, elbows, and wrists popped. Bending at the knees and twisting his hips, he ended his out-of-water routine by rolling his ankles. He grimaced when he realized his right foot was still missing part of his big toe.

Even after all these years! I should be whole.

In the water the missing tip of his tail never affected him, but on land the lack of a big toe threw off his gait making him list a little to the right, awkward and clumsy, the very opposite of sleek and lethal.

Never missing an opportunity, he turned his limp into an advantage. On land, Kalei was a wolf among sheep, a predator who saw humans as either prey, competition, or beneath his notice. At first glance, most people felt a deep twist in their guts; a visceral horror that sent even the bravest human scurrying away. But others seeing his limp mistook their fear for a shameful reaction to his handicap and forced themselves to ignore their instincts — see how understanding and tolerant I am; your disability doesn't affect how I treat you — and held doors open for him instead.

Kalei wiggled his remaining toes and smiled. Despite all their fancy inventions and comfortable living, humans were fatally foolish. Even an octopus understood the benefits of camouflage.

Standing firm with both feet on the ground, he could better feel the lava rock buzz and thrum with the afterglow of some remarkable event. Intrigued, he drew another lungful of air, hunting for another trace of the second type of blood.

"Human? The second blood is human! It's fresher than the fish blood and it spilled right next to you, Pohaku! Ha la! You naughty 'aumakua!" he teased. "Is some-wanna-be-chief making old-time human sacrifices to you? Has someone mistaken you for a war god? People these days," Kalei sighed, "can't tell their 'okoles from their elbows."

In his mind Kalei felt Pohaku's slow indignation bubble to the surface followed by the image of a husky boy falling on the reef, then cupping his bloody nose as he hurried to shore.

"So according to you, Pohaku, it's just from a boy with a bloody nose? How sad. Makes me almost wish some wanna-be-chief was brave enough to beat his war drums and raise the old gods."

With the second blood scent fixed in his mind, Kalei inhaled and turned toward shore. "There's a trail of blood drops from the fat clumsy boy that leads all the way to the beach, and a faint whiff of his pee near the pavilion that continues to the road. Odd. This boy's too old for wetting his pants. Feeble minded, perhaps?"

Kalei reached down and patted Pohaku.

"Can you imagine, Pohaku? Humans are so disgusting now; in the old days we never had this problem. The feeble minded were given back to the gods. Everybody's so sensitive nowadays it gives me a rash."

Kalei spun on his heel and paced the reef around Pohaku, splashing heedless through small puddles, crushing pipihi and too-slow hermit crabs in his wake. From Piko Point he looked toward the lights of Lauele Town and the occasional passing car along the beach road. He scratched his arm, reflecting on Pohaku's story.

"Nice try, Pohaku, but you know as well as I that a kid's bloody nose from a trip and fall on lava rock doesn't leave behind this delicious caffeinated champagne buzz in the reef. Something big happened here. There's more to it than you're telling."

Kalei opened his human mouth and throat wider than a human could, gulping down great gasps of air, parsing each flavor to identify its source.

"I sense conflict ... a fight? No ... fear. Prey. A hunt!" He turned back to the stone guardian. "Who hunts boys, Pohaku?"


"I know you know, you old forgotten thing. There's a third kind of blood here that's as fresh as the fat boy's. They're connected. It's the memory of the fat boy's fear that's pulsing through these rocks, the kind of fear that comes from a predator's chase. You know I can't allow that. Not here. Who dares hunt boys in Lauele, Pohaku? Who are you protecting?"

Kalei crawled along the rocks, trying to identify the third blood. "It would be easier if you just told me, Pohaku. You know I'm going to find out." He set his nose against the lava, almost inhaling bits of seaweed, but it was useless; in his human form his senses were too limited and blunted for this kind of delicate detective work.

"I can't believe you're making me do this," he said. "You know how much I hate to change!"

In two strides he was back to water's edge and dove back into the big salt water pool. The water roiled a moment, and then parted to reveal the tip of a massive Niuhi shark snout. The shark floated over to Pohaku and daintily sniffed.

Kalei erupted out of the water, changing into human form mid-air. Landing, he swung his foot to kick at Pohaku.

"Niuhi!" he yelled. "A young Niuhi was hunting here! Definitely male. It's not Le'ia or Pua."

He wrinkled his nose and closed his eyes, all thoughts of sashimi and TV banished. He clenched his fists, nails digging into his flesh.

"Who dares to come around here, Pohaku? I know you know!"

But Pohaku sat still as stone.



~I ka nana no a 'ike: By observing, one learns.~

The shark jaws unhinged in slow motion, the rows of teeth gulp, gulp, gulping the half-frozen carcasses, slicing through the heavy rope strung through the fishes' eye sockets, and untethering the rotting mass from the side of the dive boat.

"Crikey!" said the narrator from the safety of the shark cage, "That was close."

I snorted into my guava juice, the straw almost going up my nose. You call that close? I thought. Try swimming outside the bars.

The great white shark cruised past the cage, its flat black eye watching the divers wave chunks of melting fish at it through spaces wide enough for lenses and arms, but not heads or snouts. I paid close attention to the way the shark moved, watching to see if it would reveal its nature in ways Australian researchers never intended.

It's after the bait. It couldn't care less about the divers.

I rattled the ice in my glass, careful not to touch the condensation with bare skin.

Not Niuhi.

I took another sip as the dive team scrambled back into the boat.

"Confunit! Now you, Alexander Kaonakai Westin?"

Three names!

I jumped up from the couch, narrowly avoiding dumping ice down my front. "Uncle Kahana!"

Uncle Kahana and his dog Ilima stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. More than just my great-great-uncle, he was the person who found me abandoned on the reef at Piko Point when I was a newborn and brought me to my Westin 'ohana, the family who adopted me and raised me as their own. He was the one who taught us about my water allergy, about how a single drop on my skin burns like acid and how I can't eat raw seafood or rare meat because it makes the water allergy worse and gives me nightmares.

Uncle Kahana claims we're all 'ohana by blood as well as by adoption because his Aunty Lei had the same allergies, but he won't tell me who my other people are or where they live except to say Hohonukai-side, which isn't on any map. It drives me crazy, but he keeps telling me patience, Grasshopper, like some gray-bearded kung fu sifu in a bad Chinese movie.

Uncle Kahana had his hands on his hips and his head cocked to the side. Not a good sign.

"I hui'd the house from the back, Zader, but you never answered," he said.

"Sorry, Uncle. I didn't hear."

Ilima stood next to Uncle Kahana, panting a little and wagging howzit with her tail. I love Ilima. She's been Uncle Kahana's shadow and part of the family from before I was born.

Wait, I frowned, thinking about it. That would make her over 100 in people years. I blinked. No way, that can't be right.

As I continued to look at her, she dropped her eyes and tail. She licked her lips and put her nose to the ground as if all she was thinking about was the next snack she could hoover from the carpet.

Uncle Kahana followed my eyes to Ilima and her new obsession with the floor. Suddenly, her head lifted and her eyes gleamed. Perking her ears, she made a beeline for my bag of jalapeno jerky on the coffee table.

Uncle Kahana dropped his hands from his hips and muttered, "Yeah, I wanna see you take just one bite, titah."

Ilima sniffed the bag.

"Go for it. I dare you. You're gonna be scraping that carpet with your tongue, bumbai. Remember the Mexican buffet? Remember jalapenos? Remember fire-futs fo'days?"

She got a little closer and inhaled. The spicy jalapenos went right up her nose. Ilima snorted and backed away, blinking at me like I was some kind of monster who'd popped her favorite balloon.

"Yeah, that's what I thought, Ilima," he said. "Discretion is the better part of valor, Titah, no matter how delicious you think the jerky." He gestured to the TV. "Why are you watching this crap, Zader? I thought Jay was the one fascinated by Shark Week shows."

Jay's my hanai brother, my almost twin from different parents. When I turned on the TV this morning, he sat with me for a minute or two then wandered outside to wax his board for the millionth time. Jay was taking Nili-boy's request for help with the junior surf campers way too seriously.

I shrugged. "Jay's surfing again. He doesn't care about shark shows now."

I looked down at my glass wrapped in a dish towel and inched my big toe deep into the carpet. I didn't like talking about sharks or surfing. I pretended I didn't care about things like going to the beach or playing soccer without worrying about sprinklers coming on or having to carry a stupid umbrella and wear shoes everywhere I go. But the truth was I hated being different in ways that made me special.

Special is way overrated.

Last year Uncle Kahana helped me figure out a way I can be out on the reef near the action and not stuck by the pavilion. I look like a space alien freak in all my gear, including long rubber hip waders, a jacket with a hood, a welder's helmet, and vinyl gloves, but at least I can sit at Piko Point and feel like I'm part of the surfers lined up for the next wave.

Since I can't surf, I spend a lot of my time drawing what I see in the tide pools at Piko Point while I wait for Jay and his friends to paddle back out after riding waves all the way to the beach at Nalupuki. Some people think I'm a good artist; it's how I got into Ridgemont Academy for seventh grade. My painting of a ti leaf lei on the bottom of Jay's surfboard even helped him get back in the water after a shark scare last year. But I'd trade all my sketchbooks and pens for surfing in a heartbeat.

Back when Jay was afraid of sharks, he watched Discovery Channel Shark Week reruns twenty-four seven. Mom hated it then and doesn't like it now that I'm watching them. I'm not afraid of sharks, exactly. I watch for a different reason, one I haven't told anyone.

If Mom knew, she'd approve even less. She'd probably throw the TV in the trash and send me to counseling.

Uncle Kahana said, "If Jay's surfing again, why are you still filling your head with all this shark shibai?"


Excerpted from One Shark, No Swim by Lehua Parker, Corey Egbert. Copyright © 2013 Lehua Parker, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Jolly Fish Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Cover Image,
Front Matter,
1 — Kalei Comes Ashore,
2 — Research,
3 — Dreaming of the Girl,
4 — Scotch Tape and Heels,
5 — Hill Slide Blues,
6 — Uncle Florence Nightingale,
7 — Nu'uanu Road Trip,
8 — Land Surfing,
9 — Bull Lye, the Science Guy,
10 — Coming Home,
11 — Aloha, Mary Poppins,
12 — Salting the Wound,
13 — Confession is Good for the Soul,
14 — Coming Clean,
15 — The Game,
16 — A Knife that Knows Your Hand,
17 — K-Pop Divas,
18 — Art Park Guy,
19 — Secrets,
20 — The Competition,
21 — Reef Walk,
22 — A Blade That Knows Your Heart,
23 — Survivor,
24 — Brothers,
25 — Fight Like a Shark,
26 — Hoping It's Haupia,
27 — Dessert,
28 — Tools, Not Toys,
29 — A Taste of Raw Fish,
30 — Raw Fish Dreams,
31 — Lipstick Warrior,
32 — Jackie Chan Wannabe,
33 — Lauele Girlz,
34 — Bump,
35 — Revelation,
36 — The Writing on the Wall,
About the Author,

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One Shark, No Swim 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
         The weather turned a little colder this week and I needed a vacation, so I decided to spend the weekend in my mind at least.  Lehua Parker's second book, One Shark, No Swim, in The Niuhi Shark Saga just came out, and I thought it was a good excuse to curl up on the couch with my son and a warm blanket to see what Zader, Jay, and Uncle Kahana are up to.              Let me tell you why I love this series.  For me, the greatest part is Lehua’s connection to not only the Hawaii culture, but the twelve-year-old boy experience.  Sure, Zader’s a Niuhi god, but he still has to deal with the same growing pains as all boys, like impressing his art teacher, always being hungry, deciding if he likes make-up on girls, and how to be a bully blocker without becoming too aggressive himself.   I have a son who is close to Zader’s age, and I find it difficult to find good literature both appealing to this middle-grade boy market and a mom’s sensibilities.  This book does!  My son loves the sharks and the supernatural element.  I love the cultural diversity and Lehua’s witty, wry humor.  If you like to read with your kids, it’s a win for everyone.