July/August 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“This extraordinary book recounts the arrival of four healers to Waikiki centuries ago and the stone monuments that represent them. Colonization attempted to bury the stones, but now readers all over the world can learn of their power and origins.”
— Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA
In the 15th century, four Mahu sail from Tahiti to Hawaii and share their gifts of science and healing with the people of Waikiki. The islanders return this gift with a monument of four boulders in their honor, which the Mahu imbue with healing powers before disappearing.
As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and the once-sacred stones are forgotten until the 1960s. Though the true story of these stones was not fully recovered, the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass by them at Waikiki Beach today.
With illuminating words and stunning illustrations by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Daniel Sousa, KAPAEMAHU is a monument to an Indigenous Hawaiian legend and a classic in the making.
Daniel Sousa is an Academy Award–nominated animator who uses the themes embedded in myths and legends to examine archetypes of human nature. Born in Cape Verde, he approaches filmmaking from a painter’s perspective, focusing on the fragility of fleeting moments, memories and perceptions. His short films include Feral, which was supported by a Creative Capital Foundation grant and screened at Sundance, and Fable, which won awards at festivals around the world. He recently completed animating several native legends for the four-part PBS special Native America, which weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions. Sousa has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, the Museum School, the Art Institute of Boston and the Animation Workshop in Denmark.
A Shelf Awareness Best Children’s & YA of 2022!
PRAISE FOR KAPAEMAHU
“...a glorious picture book reclamation." — Shelf Awareness.
★ “A poignant monument to the power of hidden Indigenous histories." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review.
★ “...a fine read-aloud in conjunction with a history lesson on Hawaii, its people, their language, and the colonization that occurred." — School & Library Journal, starred review.
“Sousa's dreamy illustrations—taken from the film—reflect the text's thoughtful tone.” — Booklist
“Sousa’s illustrations portray the healers as chiseled, monumental forms reminiscent of the stones that house their spirits; the inky shadows and rich red-gold light of the ancient tale contrasts dramatically with the sand-reflected brightness of modern Waikiki.” — BCCB
“A beautiful, important book that not only offers indigenous representation, but also underscores the long history and deep importance of nonbinary people in certain cultures.” — Mombian
“The picture book’s stunning sepia-toned illustrations, which match the film, combined with the simple but powerful text, make this an excellent introduction to Indigenous Hawaiian culture and to the mahu and third gender people.” — Book Riot