‘OHANA MEANS FAMILY by Ilima Loomis
Kirkus Star

‘OHANA MEANS FAMILY

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Discover the importance of kalo in Hawaiian culture.

Opening below a single bowl of purple poi, the text begins, “This is the poi for our ‘ohana’s lū‘au.” Using a cumulative pattern, it expands on where poi comes from to create a broader picture of the Hawaii countryside with a pair of presumably Native Hawaiian children as focal characters. They watch as the kalo, or taro, is pounded into poi, then, as the cumulative rhyme moves backward, they help in the taro patches of mud and clear water where the plants grow. A close-up of the taro patch zooms out to reveal more people working in many patches and the river that feeds the land that has been passed down from generation to generation. Each new addition to the cumulative text highlights an essential element of Hawaiian values, such as the land, elders, family, and food. In this read-aloud, Loomis writes a beautiful homage to kalo, a cornerstone of the culture and livelihood of the Hawaiian people. The poetic text combines with Pak’s breathtaking illustrations to depict kalo’s embodiment of the strong connection between land, water, air, sun, and the people. With his layered, textured paintings, Pak creates both beautiful pictures of the kalo and stunning panoramas of the community. A note on kalo and poi, an author’s note, and a glossary are provided to explain the importance of the elements of this story.

An incredible book to share with every member of your ‘ohana. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4326-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020




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