GET CAUGHT READING
More Islanders Choose Hawaiʻi Books
What would you pick if you were asked to share any passage you want from a book or story or poem or other written word?
“Anything I want?” is one person’s stricken reaction. “Do you know how difficult that is to narrow down?”
Well, thank goodness there’s so much richness in literature and life from which to choose!
In PBS Hawaiʻi’s new video read-aloud initiative GET CAUGHT READING, with community partners Farmers Insurance and the Hawaii State Public Library System, it’s lovely to listen to William Butler Yeats’ love poem “When You Are Old,” and it’s a kick to hear Dr. Seuss’ witty exuberance.
However, without any discussion or plan, there seems to be a collective theme developing, in which individuals are choosing Hawaiʻi authors, writing about Hawaiʻi. You can tell as they read in these videos, that they’ve settled on excerpts that truly mean something to them. There’s a lot of heart going into this.
In fact, one of our citizen readers, Nanette Napoleon , brought her hand to her heart and abruptly stopped reading: “Oh, I’m sorry,” she told our TV studio crew. “I get emotional.” Nanette was reading from an 1893 letter written by Hawai‘i’s last monarch on her last day as monarch (and quoted in Helena G. Allen’s book). Facing a U.S. overthrow of her government, Queen Liliʻuokalani wrote that she was yielding her authority “to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps loss of life.”
Left: Nanette Napoleon paused to regain her composure.
From the Queen’s English, we go to Pidgin English – a quote from a Waikāne, Windward Oʻahu man in Mark Panek’s book, Big Happiness: The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior. Kahaluʻu nonprofit leader Kevin Chang reads aloud, in part: “Still get mana. Because t’ings can still grow up here. The watah still flowing.”
Right: Kevin Chang chose a quote in Pidgin English.
Kūhaʻo Zane invoked an ancestral migration to a new land.
A brand-new PBS Hawaiʻi Board Member, Hilo’s Kūha‘o Zane, quoted from Ka Honua Ola, by his illustrious auntie, Puanani Kanakaʻole Kanahele, in both English and Hawaiian. We hear of an ancestral canoe journey that came ashore at Nihoa, the island of sheer cliffs 120 miles northwest of Niʻihau.
Kamani Kualaʻau, another PBS Hawaiʻi Board Member, found inspiration in Change We Must, authored by singer Emma Veary’s late mother, Nana Veary. There’s a story about Nana’s mother in shallow coastal waters, catching fish by lifting up her muʻumuʻu like a net. She followed the fisherman’s code: Take only what you need, not what you want.
Left: Kamani Kualaʻau conveyed the fisherman’s code.
These and other video read-alouds appear between TV programs on PBS Hawaiʻi and you can also view the videos on demand at www.pbshawaii.org. And yes, we welcome volunteers!
Check out director/editor Todd Fink’s captivating animation of the words. Also, watch for GET CAUGHT READING to visit a public library near you.