cover image ‘Ohana Means Family

‘Ohana Means Family

Ilima Loomis, illus. by Kenard Pak. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4326-0

This “The House That Jack Built”–style poem explores the importance of poi, the Hawaiian staple that, an author’s note reports, “no celebratory lu¯’au is complete without.” Loomis (Eclipse Chaser) begins “This is the poi/ for our ‘ohana’s lu¯’au”; Pak (The Hundred-Year Barn) shows it in a hollowed-out bowl garnished with green leaves. The lines that follow build on each other: “This is the kalo/ to make the poi/ for our ‘ohana’s lu¯’au.” Two Hawaiian children with black hair watch an adult man pound pieces of kalo plant on a board. A page turn reveals a vast field—dark, heart-shaped leaves in the foreground, plants spreading into the distance. Another turn shows kalo growing in fields flooded with water “clear and cold” and stylized human figures of all ages helping to harvest it. As the sun goes down, a family gathers at a long table under palm trees by the sea. The creators present this traditional practice—cultivating, harvesting, preparing, and eating a treasured food together—through the lens of Hawaiian culture. A glossary is included, though it contains no pronunciation information. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. [em](Feb.) [/em]