bipoc books

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Lei and the Legends

Lei and the Fire Goddess

Curses aren’t real. At least, that’s what twelve-year-old, part-Hawaiian Anna Leilani Kamaʻehu thinks when she listens to her grandmother’s folktales about sacred flowers and family guardians. Anna’s friends back home in Colorado don’t believe in legends, either. They’re more interested in science and sports—real, tangible things that stand in total contrast to Anna’s family’s embarrassing stories. So when Anna goes back to Hawaiʻi to visit her Tūtū, she has no interest in becoming the heir to her family’s history; she’s set on having a touristy, fun vacation. But when Anna accidentally insults Pele the fire goddess by destroying her lehua blossom, a giant hawk swoops in and kidnaps her best friend, and she quickly learns just how real these moʻolelo are. In order to save her friends and family, Anna must now battle mythical creatures, team up with demigods and talking bats, and evade the traps Pele hurls her way. For if Anna hopes to undo the curse, she will have to dig deep into her Hawaiian roots and learn to embrace all of who she is. “Lei and the Fire Goddess blends preteen angst and beloved Hawaiian moʻolelo in a way that hasn’t been done before.” —Auliʻi Cravalho, actress and voice of Disney’s Princess Moana “Malia Maunakea displays mastery in weaving Hawaiian words, mythological references, and legendary Hawaiian figures into her story in a manner that draws readers’ attention to the richness of the traditions and beauty of Hawai’i. . .this story belongs in the hands of middle grade readers who love adventure fiction and mythological elements, as well as those who wish to find an example of rediscovering pride in one’s culture and identity.” — School Library Journal

Lei and the Invisible Island

An exciting follow-up to Lei and the Fire Goddess features a mysterious, invisible island, dangerous spirits, and a newcomer who does not need Lei’s help…or does she? It turns out that curses are real.After saving her best friend and ancestral guardian, Kaipo, from Pele the fire goddess’s traps and successfully preventing lava from destroying her tūtū’s house, all Lei wants to do is take a nap. The only problem? Kaipo’s ʻaumakua pendant is missing, and without it, he will soon rot . . . emotionally and physically. So Lei, Kaipo, the shapeshifting bat Ilikea, and newcomer Kaukahi—a fiercely independent fashionista—set off on a journey to an invisible island where they hope to find Kaipo’s pendant. To get there, they’ll have to jump off the edge of their world, contend with sharks, and cross an ocean. And when they arrive? The crew realizes that the missing pendant is the least of their problems. For there are evil spirits gathering, and they’re out for blood. In this exciting follow-up to Lei and the Fire Goddess, Malia Maunakea crafts a tale about friendship, family, culture, and what it means to forgive each other and yourself.