Am­a­teur Ed­u­ca­tor Cre­ates Ef­fec­tive Learn­ing Pro­gram For Keiki

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Central Oahu Islander -

hugged them and gave them high-fives,” said Aki.

Even though he’s not a trained ed­u­ca­tor, Snavely said Aki, a Ka­neohe res­i­dent, has come up with a unique way to en­gage young stu­dents.

“The books are well-writ­ten, they are not too long, the pic­tures are bright and col­or­ful. He’s def­i­nitely found a niche that kids re­late to.”

As far as the mas­cot char­ac­ters, they were just as im­por­tant, said Snavely, as the lessons be­ing taught.

“I think the mene­hune’s be­ing small and the smaller ver­sion of the boy (Keoki) helped. See­ing them does help the kids make a bet­ter con­nec­tion to the story.”

Aki said the lessons in the sto­ries were taken from his own childhood ex­pe­ri­ences, and that his ef­forts at be­ing a self-publisher of chil­dren’s books pro­vided fur­ther con­tent to the sto­ries.

“In the sto­ries are mes­sages that I hope will mo­ti­vate them to ques­tion things, to ask ques­tions and search for an­swers. I’m try­ing to in­still in kids to set goals and be mo­ti­vated to see their goals come true.”

Aki and Lee have pub­lished two books in what is a planned 10-book se­ries. Each book — about 28 il­lus­trated pages in length — acts as a sin­gle chap­ter in the com­plete story.

The first two books, Lit­tle Kahuna and Da Mene­hune and Lit­tle Kahuna and Da Mene­hune: Lost and Found, al­ready are pop­u­lar with young read­ers. A yet-un­ti­tled third book is in the illustration phase which Aki hopes to have ready by Fe­bru­ary when they plan to un­veil their statewide ini­tia­tive to bring their lov­able char­ac­ters to ev­ery ele­men­tary school in the state.

To date, the pair has do­nated copies of both books to more than 236 ele­men­tary schools across the state. The books are avail­able for check out at the schools’ li­braries.

Par­ents can also pur­chase the books at lo­cal book­stores and online at Isander­

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