Texas dad has ‘crazy’ Hawaiian daydream
Reviews of Hawaii-themed books by Texas dad Mike Guardia, Constance Hale and Ruth Moen.
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“It’s Snowing in Hawaii,” by Mike Guardia (Willow Clubhouse Book, $17.95), is written in verse and shares the tales of locals enjoying their first snowstorm.
Guardia, a captain in the Army Reserve who currently resides in Texas, began his writing career six years ago while on active military duty, exclusively writing books on military history. This is his first children’s book, which was inspired by his 3- and 4-year-old daughters.
He’s never lived in the islands but found inspiration on a snowy afternoon.
“One winter, while it was snowing outside, my girls and I were sitting on the couch watching a Hawaiian-themed cartoon. As I gazed out the window and saw the snow falling, I thought to myself: ‘I wonder what would happen if it snowed in Honolulu. Wouldn’t that be crazy?’” he said.
Within a few hours of asking himself that question, Guardia sat down with a pen and notepad and started making the rhymes for the storybook.
“I read it to my girls as a bedtime story and they loved it.”
Melanie Stephens’ illustrations are lively and fun, and help bring the tale to life. Among the scenarios were sailors ice-skating in front of the Arizona Memorial and the kids building snowmen donning hula skirts.
PEACEFUL ISLAND TALE WITH POLYNESIAN PRIMER
“‘Iwalani’s Tree,” by Constance Hale (BeachHouse Publishing, $14.95), is a gentle story about a young girl finding solace in the presence of a looming ironwood tree on the beach.
For ‘Iwalani, the tree provides the perfect spot to daydream and let her imagination run wild.
The book includes information on botany, geography and culture of Polynesians in the back of the book to pique a child’s interest, making it a good gift for mainland friends and family. The book is vividly illustrated by Kathleen Peterson.
FUN WITH WILDLIFE OF HAWAII FOR KEIKI
Word searches, mazes, dot-to-dots and color-by-numbers are among the activities featured in “Animals in Hawaii Coloring and Activity Book” (BeachHouse Publishing, $4.95), illustrated by Ruth Moen.
The 64-page book, designed for 2- to 5-year-olds, teaches kids about the local fauna through fun pursuits. In one activity, a fisherman needs help through a maze to find an octopus. Another page has kids searching for differences within the two underwater scenes.
Moen lives on Oahu and has worked as an art director designer, muralist and illustrator.