Storybook Characters Visit Students At Mililani Mauka School
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.