Ho'Onani Hula Warrior
An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.
Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.
When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .
Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.
Ho’onani’s story first appeared in the documentary A Place in the Middle by filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.
Heather Gale is a former orthotist and author originally from New Zealand. Heather loves stories of all kinds, but she especially loves those that feature real people like Ho’onani. She fell in love with the art of storytelling during long car rides, making up stories to go with the scenes flashing by. Heather has two sons and now lives in Toronto with her husband and their two dogs.
One of the Ontario Library Association’s 2019 Top Ten Titles “Heather Gale’s prose is buttressed by Mika Song’s lovely drawings to make this a wonderfully feel-good story about tradition and difference.” — New York Times
“Boldly outlined watercolor and ink artwork . . . convey visual information with strength that suggests Ho‘onani’s own. And Gale grounds the child’s experience, based on a true story, in Hawaiian traditions, modeling showing ‘every person the same unconditional acceptance and respect’.” – STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly
“Ho’onani’s courage to be true to herself and her place in the middle is empowering. Hawaiian words are intermixed, and Song’s illustrations are full of emotion and determination.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An entertaining, illuminating, and empowering read, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior will make a welcome addition to classrooms, libraries, and story times!” — CM Magazine
“This is a book that delicately tackles a difficult but important subject with sensitivity and without fuss at an age-appropriate level.” –Resource Links
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