Sto­ry­book Char­ac­ters Visit Stu­dents At Mililani Mauka School

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Central Oahu Islander - By STEVE MUR­RAY

Char­ac­ters from the pop­u­lar book se­ries Lit­tle Kahuna and Da Mene­hune vis­ited stu­dents at Mililani Mauka Ele­men­tary School Nov. 6 to pro­mote the val­ues of read­ing, re­spect, kind­ness and Hawai­ian cul­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to ev­ery­one in­volved, the event was a huge suc­cess as the chil­dren sat riv­eted to the story, and in­ter­acted ex­cit­edly with life-size mas­cots that rep­re­sented the story’s main char­ac­ters.

Lit­tle Kahuna and Da Mene­hune fol­lows the adventures of Keoki (the Lit­tle Kahuna) and his mene­hune play­mates Leilani, Kai, Moki and Kimo. Through their fun adventures, the play­ful char­ac­ters teach lessons about shar­ing, self-con­fi­dence and re­spect through tra­di­tional Hawai­ian val­ues.

“The whole idea is to help chil­dren learn about Hawai­ian cul­ture through fun char­ac­ters,” said au­thor and cre­ator Tom Aki. “At this age, kids don’t want to lis­ten to a kupuna or some­one’s grandma or some other older per­son who comes read a story. They want to at­tach them­selves to some­thing in the story. I feel the mas­cots give them the op­por­tu­nity to feel at­tached to the story.”

The stu­dents from Shan­non Snavely’s third­grade class were only the sec­ond group to re­ceive a visit from Keoki and his spe­cial friends. The first mys­ti­cal ap­pear­ance hap­pened at Heeia Ele­men­tary School where Aki’s co- au­thor, ed­i­tor and long­time fi­ance, El­iz­a­beth Lee, is a teacher.

“We had about 120 kids in the cafe­te­ria. We had a reader, and the kids were just in awe of the char­ac­ters. They loved them. They

Shan­non Snavely’s third grade class has a great time hand­ing out with Leilani, Keoki and Kai dur­ing their Nov. 6 visit to Mililani Mauka Ele­men­tary School. Photo by Miguel Gon­za­lez.

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