Ohana Means Family

by Ilima Loomis (Author) Kenard Pak (Illustrator)

Ohana Means Family
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Join the family, or ohana, as they farm taro for poi to prepare for a traditional luau celebration with a poetic text in the style of The House That Jack Built.

"This is the land that's never been sold, where work the hands, so wise and old, that reach through the water, clear and cold, into the mud to pick the taro to make the poi for our ohana's luau."

Acclaimed illustrator and animator Kenard Pak's light-filled, dramatic illustrations pair exquisitely with Ilima Loomis' text to celebrate Hawaiian land and culture.

The backmatter includes a glossary of Hawaiian terms used, as well as an author's note.

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Kirkus Reviews

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)

Copyright 2020 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

Publishers Weekly

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. (Feb.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

★ The importance of this native Hawaiian tradition is revealed through Loomis' and Pak's textual and visual re-creations. The wind, the rain, the sun, the 'land that has never been sold, ' and the wise old hands that work the land show that family is one of many interconnected parts—plant, planet, human, the elements—each as important as the other. Pak's lovely, stylized watercolors bring readers close enough to see droplets on the roots of the kalo and then zoom out to see the whole sun-kissed island. Loomis writes in a gentle rhyme that undulates like the elements she describes so that readers will soon be murmuring along in sync. . . . this book does an admirable job of honoring the culture without cliché.—Booklist, Starred Review

★ 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.—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review


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.' . . . The creators present this traditional practice—cultivating, harvesting, preparing, and eating a treasured food together—through the lens of Hawaiian culture.—Publishers Weekly
Ilima Loomis
Ilima Loomis is an award-winning author and journalist who's contributed to publications including Science, Science News for Students, and National Geographic Traveler. She is based on Maui, Hawaii.

Kenard Pak has illustrated several picture books, most recently, The Fog by Kyo Maclear and Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter which Pak both wrote and illustrated. He has worked as an artist on many films with Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation and Laika. Pak lives and works in San Francisco, California.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780823443260
Lexile Measure
-
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Neal Porter Books
Publication date
February 04, 2020
Series
-
BISAC categories
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
JUV030060 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
JUV017000 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | General
JUV074000 - Juvenile Fiction | Diversity & Multicultural
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Stories in rhyme
Families
Family life
Hawaii
Luaus
Poi
Socail life and customs

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