The thousands of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines have a total land mass smaller than Rhode Island's. According to the author, their first settlers came from Southeast Asia thousands of years ago and remained relatively isolated until successive waves of explorers, settlers, and soldiers from Portugal, Spain, Germany, Britain, Japan, America, Australia, Korea, and China, began arriving in the 16th century. In this colorful photo essay, Hermes focuses on 15 children reflecting different cultural backgrounds on different islands. His descriptions of everyday life are vivid, but brief. Only one map is provided, with many islands shown no larger than a period and others not even represented. Still, a fascinating glimpse of little-known cultures struggling to keep their identities and maintain traditions while assimilating new cultural elements. Brief pronunciation guide; glossary; index.