cover image Aloha Everything

Aloha Everything

Kaylin Melia George, illus. by Mae Waite. Red Comet, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-6365-5112-8

Lush illustrations by Waite and rhythmic quatrains from Melia George paint the story of a Hawaiian girl who learns about her cultural heritage through hula. A baby, born “where the ocean spray’s kiss meets the sky’s close embrace” grows into a child. To teach her the history of her people, adults “breathed life to the tales/ with each step and each song,/ generations of lore/ that the hula kept strong.” A repeating refrain—“What did hula teach her?”—forms a through line that introduces spreads about the islands’ formation, the girl’s voyaging ancestors, and “great tales of old,/ kept as records preserved/ to be lovingly told.” Combining intricate images of the natural world, people portrayed with various skin tones, and lore, acrylic and gouache paintings linger in the eye in this gossamer work that concludes with a question: “What did hula teach you?” A pronunciation guide and glossary conclude. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)