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Obama sis turns page

President Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, at right, will read her children’s book “Ladder to the Moon” at Barnes & Noble at Kahala Mall at 2 p.m. today.

The book, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, tells the story of Little Suhaila and how she wishes she could have known her grandmother. One night she gets her wish. A golden ladder appears at her window, and Grandma Annie invites her on a magical journey.

Soetoro-Ng says the book was inspired by her young daughter’s questions about her grandmother Ann Dunham, who died in 1995, and her own wish that her mother had lived to meet her granddaughter. In the story Suhaila’s mother says, “Your grandma would wrap her arms around the world if she could.”

Dunham raised both Obama and Soetoro-Ng, and held a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawaii.

The reading will be followed by a book signing. Call 737-3323 for more information.

Hokule‘a crew talks technique

The crew of the Hokule‘a will be discussing the art of using the stars to navigate around the world at the Wayfinder Festival.

Nainoa Thompson, at right, and other members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society will explain the ancient technique at the festival from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Waldorf School, 350 Ulua St.

Kids can also play voyaging-themed games. Entertainers Kupa Aina, Taimane Gardner, Kaukahi and Jeff Peterson will perform.

The event benefits the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Free comics

Free Comic Book Day celebrates its 10th anniversary on May 7 with free comics at stores and libraries across the island.

Among the free titles are Kung Fu Panda, Smurfs, Spider-Man, Thor, Batman, Betty and Veronica, Avatar and Green Lantern.

Free comics are available at Other Realms (1050 Ala Moana Blvd.), Collector Maniacs (3571 Waialae Ave.), Gecko Books & Comics (1151 12th Ave.) and Jelly’s the Original (98-023 Hekaha St.). Public libraries distributing comic books are Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kapolei, Liliha, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani and Waimanalo.

Some libraries will feature appearances by science-fiction or comic costumed characters.

The goal of Free Comic Book Day, held on the first Saturday in May, is to promote the comic book medium to new customers. For more information, visit

Children’s day ‘Golden’

Children’s Day, a Japanese holiday that is part of the “Golden Week” of holidays in Japan, will be celebrated with traditional games, food, entertainment and arts and crafts at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii tomorrow.

The festival, known as Kodomo no Hi, stems from centuries-old festivals for boys and girls, known respectively as Shobu no Sekku (Iris Festival) and Momo no Sekku (Peach Festival). They were eventually combined and are usually celebrated on May 5.

The festival will feature interactive demonstrations by martial arts and taiko drumming schools, said Denise Park, a spokeswoman for the center.

Children can also take part in “kingyo sukui,” a game in which participants try to collect live fish with a paper scoop. “It’s real thin, like rice paper, in a scoop, so that’s where the challenge is,” Park said. “There is a technique to it.” A child who collects five fish wins one to take home, she said.

For a $75 fee ($60 for JCCH members), formal kimono dressing by Masako Formals will be available, with the King Photo Service offering photography packages starting at $20. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 945-7633.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, with fees charged for certain activities. The Japanese Cultural Center is at 2454 S. Beretania St.

UH to host kimono event

The University of Hawaii Laboratory School Kimono Program is holding a kimono dressing event, with funds to go to the Aloha for Japan Relief fund, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 14.

Kimono experts will dress children or adults in a formal kimono, donated by the Friends of the World, and take photos with your own camera for a donation. Participants have a broad selection of kimono to choose from, although kimonos for boys are only for those age 5 because formal kimonos are only made for boys that age.

Dressings are by appointment only. Participants can make an appointment by contacting Jean Sakihara at 947-8889 or

All proceeds will go to the Aloha for Japan relief fund. Checks can be made out to Aloha for Japan.

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