There are few real life local heroes as well known as Eddie Aikau. A legendary waterman whose name is synonymous with courage and sacrifice, his tale is both sad and uplifting the way many ocean tales are. In a beautiful picture book illustrated by Melissa Desica, author Marion Lyman-Mersereau captures this heroic story as no one else could.

Eddie Wen’ Go-The Story of the Upside Down Canoe (Watermark Publishing, 2008) is a children’s book with quite a bit of text, and this would be daunting if not for the fact that the book comes with an audio CD. The story is read aloud with different people playing the various sea animals and characters. The story is well written from the different perspectives of Tutuwahine the Whale, Mr. Honu, Mr. Mano the shark and the dolphins but the voices on the CD add a melodic richness to the book.

It’s hard to say exactly what happened in the ocean and even more difficult to convey such a tragedy to a young audience but Marion Lyman-Mersereau’s retelling using sea animals  and Hawaiian words and phrases is both respectful and touching.

Marion Lyman-Mersereau helped build the Hokulea and was a crew member on it’s 1978 journey. She’s a teacher and paddling coach. She dedicated this book to Eddie and several other crew members.