The 2011 Ka Palapala Poʻokela Awards gala is coming soon (Friday, May 6) and to generate excitement for the event as well as educate the public on the nominees, we are counting down the potential winners, quickly highlighting the books nominated for each awards category. Where applicable, I will link to book reviews from Hawaiʻi Book Blog.

This is the category where we throw the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” out the window.  These are books where the design of the cover and/or the internal guts are found to be above and beyond compare.  If looks could kill, the books in this category would be on Death Row for murder.

See our previous nominees posts:

Excellence in Design

Books where the design (including, but not limited to, textand/or illustration presentation and/or cover presentation) isdeserving of special recognition.

Anshū: Dark Sorrow
design by Rowen Tabusa
Juliet S. Kono
Bamboo Ridge Press, 2010
327 pages, paperback
ISBN: 0910043833
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

Beyond the Sandbox: Preschool Matters
design by Phyllis Kunimura and Tom Niblick
Phyllis De Graff Kunimura
Pono Press, 2010
176 pages, paperback
ISBN: 978-0692008126

The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong
design by Kurt Osaki and Marisa Oshiro
Alan Wong with Arnold Hiura, photography by David Murphey, Yasuo Kondo and Alan Wong
Watermark Publishing, 2010
284 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1935690078
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity into Success
design by Julie Matsuo-Chun
David Heenan
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2009
233 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0824834302

Hart Wood: Architectural Regionalism in Hawaii
design by Julie Matsuo-Chun, Lucille Aono, and Santos Barbasa
Don J. Hibbard, Glenn E. Mason, Karen J. Weitze
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2010
276 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0824832360

Mohala Mai ʻO Hau/How Hau Became Hauʻula
design by Mosaic
Robert Lono ʻIkuwā, illus. by Matthew Kāwika Ortiz
Kamehameha Publishing, 2010
32 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 9780873362399

No Choice but to Follow
design by Rowen Tabusa
Jean Yamasaki Toyama, Juliet S. Kono, Ann Inoshita, Christy Passion
Bamboo Ridge Press, 2010
151 pages, paperback
ISBN: 9780910043823
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

Plenty Saimin
design by Carol Colbath
Feng Feng Hutchins, illus. by Adriano F. Abatayo III
Island Paradise Publishing, 2010
44 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 0970588968
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art
design by Barbara Pope Book Design
Adrienne L. Kaeppler
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2010
448 pages, paperback
ISBN: 978-1883528386

Regulating Paradise: Land Use Controls in Hawaiʻi, Second Edition
design by Wilson Angel, Santos Barbasa, and Blaise Domino
David L. Callies
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2010
366 pages, paperback
ISBN: 978-0824834753

Stories of Rell Sunn: Queen of Mākaha
design by Mariko Merritt [compiled by Greg Ambrose] compiled by Greg Ambrose
Bess Press, 2010
176 pages, flexibind
ISBN: 978-1573063234
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

What Maui Likes to Eat
design by Courtney Young
Chef Tylun Pang
Mutual Publishing, 2010
256 pages, hardcover
ISBN: 978-1566479363
Link: [Hawaii Book Blog review]

Interestingly enough, only one of these books is not nominated in another category.  That would be Stories of Rell Sunn which is also a book we’ve reviewed (and enjoyed!).  A lot of these books have either visually stunning covers, beautiful photographs inside, or just overall excellent composition.  Let us know your favorites if you have one!

Remember, you can attend the 2011 Ka Palapala Poʻokela Awards gala on Friday, May 6 at the Mission Houses Museum. This year’s gala event will be hosted by Kimo Kahoano and Carole Kai, with entertainment by the award-winning musical group, Nā Leo. Enjoy ʻono pupu, cocktails and gourmet chocolates by Choco leʻa. Come early and tour the Mission Houses Museum. To purchase tickets, please visit