Hawaii Books for Kids
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Make the MOST of any trip:
To make the most out of any trip with kids you need to prepare them by letting them become familiar with what they will see and experience. Reading kids’ books set in Hawaii is the very best way to do just that! Get little minds thinking of all the wonderful things to see on the family’s adventure! Have them use critical thinking skills and discuss questions like: What will be the same as the way we do things at home? What will be different?
Remember the trip!
Some people go on a trip, come home, look at the photos and think….where was that taken? Which church was that?? Or even worse, spend time on a guided tour thinking, “Another Madonna and child painting?? Another church? Another beach? ” and have no idea what they are seeing or why.
Improve your trip AND your child’s intelligence:
We want children to remember, internalize, and make these experiences part of their core being! When a child learns something they add to their schema, or background knowledge, which will help them in their education until the end of time. Layering the learning by introducing information and then showing it to them on a vacation is the best way to internalize information. Use travel to get smarter and improve skills for the kids in the family!
“Reading is at the heart of all formal education.”
A GREAT way to get the wheels turning and introduce information about your adventure destination AND improve your childs’ intelligence and academic educational success is reading. Stories with familiar characters or beloved animals will pave the way for learning – really learning about the new culture they are going to experience. I’ve spent hours and hours reading books, reading summaries, reading about authors, reading reviews, so YOU DON’T HAVE TO! This list is comprehensive and all you need for getting starting daydreaming and learning about your trip. Read with the kids! Read kids’ books set in Hawaii or listen with an audiobook. Check out the lists for other destinations, too like Paris , London, Greece, New York City, San Francisco, Caribbean, Paris, Italy, and Canada.
Need more proof that reading is valuable? A study published in the Economic Journal, shows that ‘boys with easy access to books tend to have higher incomes when they become adults than their counterparts who grow up with few or no books by their side’ and “Men who grew up in households filled with books earn 21 percent more..”. So, read before your trip! It will be fun AND will make your kiddo smarter and wealthier in the long run.
Read at bedtime and have sweet dreams about your upcoming trip! Or download to an IPAD or Kindle and read on the loooooooooooong flight over. These are perfect for any storytime before, during, and after a trip, too.
Books are sorted by category. Underneath each book , you’ll find a summary and some information on the age the book is written for. When available, the lexile measure (the reading level measure used in schools) is listed. Click on the link or the photo to purchase through Amazon and get started daydreaming about your trip to Hawaii with the kids!
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read Before You Go
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about the Sights
A is for Aloha: A Hawai’i Alphabet by U’ilani Goldsberry
Sweet introduction to the colorful culture and sights of Hawaii. Great introduction for a traveler of any age. Written for ages 6+. Pages: 40 pages.
What’s Great about Hawaii by Mary Meinking
Beautiful overview of the Aloha State. Read about the wonderful outdoor beauty that Hawaii has to offer like parks, beaches, and whale watching. Get all the tidbits like population information and state motto. Written for kids 6+. Length: 32 pages.
Aloha is… by Tammy Paikai There is a lot more to ‘aloha’ that at first glance. This pretty books gives you the multiple meanings of aloha in a poetry form. Written for young kiddos ages 4-7 but the information is great for older kiddos, too. Length: 20 pages.
S is for Sumo: Celebrating Hawai’i, the Aloha State by Tammy Yee
An interesting introduction to the culture of Hawaii in the form of an ABC book which starts at a/ama and ends with zori. Written for kids but a great introduction to anyone who is interested in the culture. Length: 40 pages.
We really enjoyed the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Some people are really concerned about animal experiences and rightly so. There are some really terrible animal experiences in the world, but not the one in Hawai. You can feel good about this experience!
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read About Volcanoes
Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes by W.D. Westervelt
Now, science can explain the inner workings of a volcano but before all the technology advances, Hawaiians were explaining volcanoes with myth and stories. Read the interesting explanations handed down through generations! Written for kids in the 8-12 range. Length: 173 pages.
Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber
No one does photographs better than National Geographic and the ones in this book are fantastic. Learn how volcanoes are created before visiting Hawaii which is entirely formed from them. Written for kids ages 5-8, you can’t beat this as a refresher for any age. Lexile Measure: 0710L. Length: 32 pages.
Volcanoes: Mountains of Fire by Eric Arnold
Fantastic book for a stage 4 reader on what makes a volcano tick. Wonderful photos, too. Written for elementary school aged kiddo, but nice cliff notes for the rest of the traveling group. Lexile Score: Not Available. Length: 48 pages
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about Pineapples
Pineapples are not native to Hawaii and are called halakahiki which means foreign fruit. Even though Hawaii is not a world leader in pineapple production anymore, the fruit is still a wonderful symbol of Hawaii.
Pineapples Don’t Grow On Trees: How and Where Fruit Grows by Jeremy Schroeder
This easy reader explains how pineapples grow. Written for young elementary school children. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 30 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read Mysteries
Pineapples in Peril by Cheryl Linn Martin
Follow along with thirteen year old Leilani and her friends Maile and Sam as they solve the crime of vandalism on the Hawaiian pineapple plantation. Written for the tween aged set. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 265 pages.
Thea Stilton and the Legend of the Fire Flowers by Thea Stilton
Off to Hawaii for the International Hula Festival, the mouse sisters find out the volcano is about to erupt right on the side where the festival is located. Oh, no! What will they do? Save the day of course!! Written for kids ages 7-10. Lexile Measure: 710L. Length: 176 pages.
Secret of the Shark Pit by Lee Roddy
This is a great mystery for boys! Josh’s family heads to Hawaii because their dad has a business trip. Their hotel room is burglarized and a treasure map gets stolen. While trying to locate the stolen map, they find themselves in a pit filled with sharks. Boys and shark lovers will enjoy this mystery! Written for kids aged 9-12 years. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 120 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about surfing.
The Surfing Boy by Kory Cathryn Victor Sweet book about a little boy and his ocean friends. Written for preschool aged kids. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 28 pages.
S Went Surfing by BeachHouse Publishing Kids
who are learning their letters in the alphabet will enjoy the silly antics of the letter S who goes surfing. Charming book for young kids and an example of personification for the older kids. Written for preschool through kindergarten. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 32 pages.
Extreme Surfing by John Crossingham
Cool photos of athletes surfing. Boys and reluctant readers will especially enjoy this book! Written for readers ages 8-11. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 32 pages.
My Surf Lesson: Look Before You Leap by Robert Diaz
Great book on surfing which includes safety awareness information. Enjoy the ocean, but be aware of the power! Written for elementary school aged kids. Lexile Measure: Not Available. Length: 32 pages.
Surfer Chick by Kristy Demsey
I love this cute book about a really cool dad who teaches his little chick how to surf. Full of fun surfer lingo and fun photos any elementary school aged kiddo will enjoy. Written for preschool but will easily be enjoyed any elementary school aged kid. Lexile Measure: 520L. Length: 32 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read fiction set in Hawaii
High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House Book #28) by Mary Pope Osborne In this Magic Tree House adventure, Jack and Annie are sent back in time to Hawaii. Naturally, strange things start to happen that require them as they experience the true magic of aloha. Written for the middle school aged kid 6-9 years old. Lexile Measure: 370L. Length: 96 pages.Beach Mouse: A Babymouse book by Jennifer Holm
Babymouse learns to surf! If your kiddo loves the graphic novel style and Babymouse then this book is a must before heading to Hawaii. Written for aged 7-10 years. Lexile Measure: GN150L. Length: 96 pages.
Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler
Cute book about Fergus and Dink exploring and finding treasures to add to their collection. This time they stumble upon a surf board and when Dink gives is a try, big sister Fergus needs to help! Written for preschool – kindergarten aged kids. Length: 30 pages.
Junie B. Jones: First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! by Barbara Park
Junie is excited about a vacation to Hawaii with her family where she gets to use a real camera to take photos for her journal. Junie gets into all the expected messes that your kiddos will love! Written for kids grades 1-4. Lexile Measure: 360L. Length: 128 pages.
Catch that Wave (Magic Bone #2) by Nancy Krulik
Sparky and his magic bone find themselves in Hawaii. Sparky has lots of fun making new friends and experiencing traditional Hawaiian fun by surfing and learning the hula! Written for kids in grades 1-3. Lexile Measure: 0360. Length: 128 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Coloring Books and Activity Books
Coloring Book: My Surf Lesson by Roberto Diaz
Daydream about surfing and learn ocean safety while coloring. Great conversation starter – color together! Length: 28 pages.
Hawaiian Plants and Animals Coloring Book (Dover Nature Coloring Book) by Y. S. Green
Dover Publications always do a marvelous job at coloring books. This one is a wonderful overview of animals and plants from Hawaii. See things like mango and the cone-headed grasshopper. Written for any age but best for those with the fine motor skills ages 8+. Length: 48 pages.
Endangered Animals of Hawaii Coloring Book by Patrick Ching
Kids love animals in general and this will give them time to really think about the different animals that live on and near the Hawaiian islands. Perfect for kids of all ages. Length: 32 pages.
Amazing Mazes Under the Sea by Ellie Crowe
This is a great activity book for daydreaming about a future trip, riding on a very long airplane trip, or remembering a trip. I have a kiddo that LOVES mazes and if you do, too, this book is a must. Written for kids elementary school aged. Length: 24 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about luaus.
A luau is a traditional Hawaiian party which includes food and entertainment such as music and the traditional dance of hula.
We Love a Luau: A Lift the Flap Book by Jodie Shepherd
If your kiddos enjoy the Backyardigans then this book is a must. It is based on the episode, “The Legend of the Volcano Sisters” and of course is full of fun and learning. Expose the kids to a flavor of Hawaii before you visit! Written for preschoolers. – 1st grade. Length: 16 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about the Hawaiian Language
The Hawaiian language has only 18 letters (and one looks like a symbol and not like a letter at all). Dave Barry jokes “The Hawaiian language is quite unusual because when the Polynesians came in their canoes, most of their consonants were washed over board in a storm, and they arrived here with almost nothing but vowels.” and indeed it seems that way when you look at the words.
Kili and the Singing Tree Snails by Janice Crowl
Read this book for the experience of seeing SO many vowels! The Hawaiian language has more vowels than English and they are all pronouced. Have fun with the kids sounding out the words like “King Kaniakapupu Kamehameha” and “LaHo oho’ i Ea”.
Ka Hulu Kohukohu Animal Sounds in the Hawaiian Language by Kimo Armitage and Lilia Wahinemaikai Hale
Now, we all know that animals make the same sounds the world over, but the way that sound is represented in a language differs a lot. Children will love this book as they follow a red parrot named Ho’okohukohu as she flies around the island visiting her animal friends. Written for elementary school children who will love it. Length: 28 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Reading for the little travelers
Good Night Hawaii by Adam Gamble
If your littles enjoy goodnight stories this one is a nice introduction to Hawaii and it is familiar for those who love the classic Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
Written for the littles ages 2-3 years. Length: 20 pages.
Froggy Goes to Hawaii by Jonathon London
Froggy takes a holiday to Hawaii and enjoys surfing and dancing the hula. Written for kids 3-5 years and anyone who loves the Froggy series. Lexile Measure: 650L. Length: 32 pages.
Diving for Numbers in Hawaii by Johann Bosgra
What fun book for the littles! This book is shaped like a mask and snorkel and comes in several titles Diving for Shapes, Colors, Fun, and Opposites. LOVE this book and so will your young traveler. Written for children aged 2-4 years. Length: 24 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about history
I survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by Lauren Tarshis
This book series is and excellent one for middle aged elementary kids. Written from the perspective of a child, you get a great overview of this historical event in United State’s history. A MUST to read before seeing the USS Arizona monument so kids can understand what they are looking at when you visit. Written for kids aged 7-10 years. My son LOVES this entire series. Lexile Measure: 620L. Length: 112 pages.
Pearl Harbor: Ready to Read Level 3 by Stephen Krensky
Excellent book to introduce a stunning moment in American history to kids. Written for kids aged 6-9 years old. Lexile Measure: 820L. Length: 48 pages.
Under the Blood Red Sun: Prisoners of the Empire by Graham Salisbury Story set around the time period of the bombing of Pearl Harbor this brings up the difficult topic of Japanese internment in the states. Written for kids ages 12+. Lexile Measure: 640L. Length: 272 pages.What Was Pearl Harbor? by Patricia Brennan Demuth
Excellent book that puts a significant historic event on a level a child can understand. Part of a wonderful series. Written for kids aged 8-12 years. Lexile Measure: 0800 Length: 112 Pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about Legends
The Story of Chinaman’s Hat by Dean Howell
This island off the coast of O’ahu is this island that is shaped like a Chinese straw hat. The legend of how this island came to be is one the kids will enjoy. Written for elementary school aged kids. Length: 36 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about the holidays Hawaiian style!
The Hawaii Snowman by Christine Le
Really lovely illustrations by Michel Le in this sweet book. A snowman sees a shooting star and makes a wish to see Hawaii. He is lucky to have his wish granted, but….is he really? Hawaiian warmth and snowmen don’t go together! Kids will enjoy. Written for elementary school aged kids. Length: 36 pages.
Santa’s Hawaiian Holiday by Malia Collins
Tired Santa needs a rest before gearing up for the big season of Christmas so he takes off to Hawaii for some R and R. Santa explores the culture of Hawaii and learns to hula. Written for elementary school aged kids. Length: 32 pages.
Kids’ Books Set in Hawaii: Read about curiosities
Hawai’i’s Animals Do the Most Amazing Things
by Marion Coste Interesting book about animals who have some very curious habits such as the elapio who likes to rub ants over its body. Books includes animals such as: humpback whale, spinner dolphin, and fisher bird. Written for kids aged 9-12 years. Length: 48 pages.
Hawaii’s Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever by Kathryn Drury Wagner
With a title l like that…what is not to like? Kids and tweens love icky, smelly and so on and this book is right up their alley. Written for kids of mid elementary school age – tweens. Length: 160 pages.
The benefits of reading don’t end when the vacation begins!
Reading at bedtime is a great way to relax the kiddos. Relaxed children sleep better in new and unfamiliar places like hotel rooms! BUT, don’t lug those books with you! Pack light! Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks Reading really comes alive when the professional actors do the reading
If you are heading to the BIG island of Hawaii you’ll be interested in these related posts!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist