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Gala recognizes state’s best books

Hawaii’s annual book awards are called "Ka Pala­pala Po‘o­kela," which means "excellent or exemplary manuscript." So it’s fitting that the awards this year are being given at the site of the first printing press brought to Hawaii.

The 2011 Ka Palapala Po‘o­kela Awards is a "gala event" to be held 5:30 to 9 p.m. May 6 at the Mission Houses Museum. Hosted by Kimo Kaho­ano and Carole Kai, the event — in addition to the book awards — will feature pupu, cocktails and gourmet European dark chocolate truffles by Choco le‘a, plus music by beloved local trio Na Leo. Plus, there will be tours of the Mission Houses grounds.

The Ka Palapala Po‘o­ke­las, given by the Hawaii Book Publishers Association, recognize titles published in Hawaii the previous year, plus talented writers, artists, designers and editors.

In addition to supporting local literacy, the awards are part of HBPA’s outreach effort to recognize book publishing as a Hawaii industry.

Admission is $30. Tickets are available at www.hawaii­books.org or at the Mission Houses Museum store and Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii at Ward Warehouse.

Free parking will be available at Ka­wai­ahao Plaza on the corner of South and Ka­wai­a­hao streets.

Information: www.hawaiibooks.org or contact Keola Akana at keakana@ksbe. edu.

La Pietra to host author of ‘3 Cups’

Greg Mortenson, author of "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools," is an educator with a humanitarian bent. He has established more than 140 schools in rural, dangerous regions of Paki­stan and Af­ghani­stan, and at least five dozen temporary refugee schools, educating more than 64,000 children, most of whom are girls.

Mortenson, a guest of La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls, will talk about his experiences at 7 p.m. April 19 at the school. Admission is free.

As he recuperated from a mountain-climbing expedition in Paki­stan in 1993, Mortenson fell in with a group of children who practiced writing with sticks in the sand, and he promised to help them build a school. Surviving a kidnapping by the Tali­ban, a firefight between Afghan warlords, numerous fatwas and CIA interrogations, Mortenson’s life has also been threatened by Americans since Sept. 11, 2001, because he’s trying to educate children in a Muslim country.

President Obama gave $100,000 of his Nobel Peace Prize award to Mortenson’s work in Af­ghani­stan.

For information, go to www.lapietra.edu.

Swim program needs volunteers

The Hawaii Red Cross is seeking students and adult volunteers for its annual summer swimming program at Ala Moana Beach.

The program offers swimming instruction for adults and children starting at age 3 and emphasizes water safety.

In addition, teenagers age 14-18 can participate in Summer Buddies, a program that helps build leadership and aquatic skills and provides CPR training and certification.

According to the Red Cross, there are about 50 drownings and 150 near-drownings every year in Hawaii, and drowning is the second leading cause of accidental fatalities among children and teens.

Free swimming instruction for children age 3 to 14 runs on Saturdays from June 11 to 25 and July 9 to 30 from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. Instruction for adults and kids age 14 and older will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:15 to 6 p.m. from June 7 to 23 and July 6 to 28. Participants are encouraged to attend as many courses as possible, said Mary Meinel of the Hawaii Red Cross.

Online registration for swimming classes begins Friday at www.hawaiiredcross.org. Adults interested in volunteering or teens interested in the Summer Buddies program should contact Meinel at 739-8179 or meinelm@hawaii­red­cross.org.

Farrington High hosts art festival

Short videos and art will be featured at the fifth annual Farrington Film and Arts Festival.

The festival will start at 5 p.m. Friday at the Farrington High School Auditorium, 1564 N. King St.

The festival will include a fun fair, art show and performance by the Farrington band.

Videos will be screened at 6:30 p.m. with awards presented at 8:30 p.m.

Admission is free.

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