Aloha Bear & The Meaning of Aloha

Monday, January 7, 2002
Suburbia, California 


Graphic, courtesy of  Island Heritage

Soon, I'll be in front of a packed room to do a reading.

I'll be reading aloud for a classroom of children, just as I do from time to time. No biggie. I've been doing it for years.  Lots of fun for me and the kids, and a way to share Hawai`i and its Aloha out here in Lala land.  

As volunteers, we readers are given the option to read from one of our own favorite books or reading a book donated by the schools'  Read Aloud program.  My time is precious to me, and I "kill several birds with one stone":  I share my love for words, books, and reading; I share my cultural heritage with them with a little bit of Hawaiian geography thrown in; and I read to them about what is near and dear to me, Aloha, by reading aloud from a charming and loving book.

The book is Aloha Bear and The Meaning of Aloha, written and illustrated by the Honolulu Advertiser's award-winnng editorial
cartoonist and artist, Dick Adair (click here for a photo of the author/illustrator and his family). It's a sweet and engaging story about a bear who takes young readers on a "show and tell" adventure that vividly illustrates the meaning of the word "Aloha." 

I engage all of  their senses, including hugging a stuffed white bear dressed in an Aloha shirt and a flower lei.  I was recently so taken by the wee ones' faces as they were so completely transported to Hawai`i via their imaginations, that I gave them them my last copy of the book, so they could "revisit" Hawai`i by reading the book for themselves. 

So, last night, on the way home from Rosie's and Fletcher's when we stopped by The Block at Orange, home of Hilo Hattie, The Store of Hawai`i, I was on a two-objective mission:  A book hunt and redeem the Mother's Day gift certificate from my goddaughters Samara and Alana. I need nothing, and I could think of no better way to spend their gift but to buy several copies of the book, one for me to keep and the rest to give away again.

Alas, this was not to be, as Hilo Hattie's was out of the books. Shopping at Hilo Hattie's is always an adventure, and after leisurely browsing, I managed to accomplish half of my mission.  I redeemed the certificate -- for nothing I needed but will greatly enjoy: a fun Hawaiian print backpack, a hula outfit, complete with a grass skirt and coconut bra (an egregious come-on: you must return to about this purchase in a future entry. Hehehe.), and a bag of dried baby red clams for snacking. 

Now, I have a sporty and very Hawaiian backpack to pack up my Aloha Bear books and a much-hugged Aloha Bear before I embark on my storytelling forays. As homage to Hilo Hattie, who put our hometown on the map, here are some links, for those so inclined, to learn about the namesake of this fun store: 

>> Hilo Hattie's History  
>> Clarissa "Clara" Haili Inter Nelson
>> Hilo Hattie Does the Hula Hop   

As for the other half of my mission, I'll be scouring the 'Net for Aloha Bear and the Meaning of Aloha.  It's out there, somewhere.   I  just know it.

Update 2/01/02:

Just got off the phone with Amy Jones at Island Heritage, who will be shipping ten books out to me.  They will arrive in the next few days, just in time for my next read-aloud jaunt.  She was kind enough to extend me a courtesy (discount) off the retail cost, as read-alouds are non-profit, volunteer activities.  

The courtesy allows me to not only read the story, but to keep giving the children (and the schools) the book itself for their later perusal and enjoyment without a serious dent in my budget. 

To Amy Jones and Island Heritage: mahalo for your kôkua in my little quest to spread Aloha around, as well as the love for reading. 

Island Heritage
94-411 Koaki St.
Waipahu, Hawai'i 96797 

(800) 468-2800 ~ Fax: (808) 564-8877


"Life is a Gift."

Bearing Aloha, 
Author Unknown

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
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