The 2012 Ka Palapala Poʻokela Awards gala is fast approaching (Friday, May 11), and to generate excitement for the event as well as educate the public on the nominees, we are counting down the books nominated for each awards category. Where applicable, I will link to book reviews from Hawaiʻi Book Blog.

For a complete list of all the nominees we’ve posted and for all the updated information on the event, please visit our dedicated Ka Palapala Poʻokela Awards page.

The eighth category we are spotlighting is one of my personal favorite categories in the Awards.  These are books full of history, biographies of people or places, and much more.  This year there are a great number of books spanning politics, surfing, hula, labor relations, and a number of biographies and memoirs.  Recent winners in this category include Mai Paʻa i Ka Leo: Historical Voice in Hawaiian Primary Materials, Looking Forward and Listening Back and Ben: A Memoir, From Street Kid to Governor.


Excellence in Non-Fiction

Books reflecting history, biography, autobiography, science (other than natural science), geography, language, etc.

Backstage in a Bureaucracy: Politics and Public Service
Susan M. Chandler & Richard C. Pratt
University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011
136 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3501-9

Big Happiness: The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior
Mark Panek
University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011
334 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3468-5
HBB Review

Damien: The Making of a Saint
Mutual Publishing
Mutual Publishing, 2011
136 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 1-56647-946-0
HBB Review

Edward Bailey of Maui: Teacher & Naturalist, Engineer & Artist
Linda McCullough Decker
RainSong, 2011
352 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0615386157

Fighting Paradise: Labor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawai‘i
Gerald Horne
University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011
472 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3549-1

Georgia O’Keefe’s Hawai‘i
Patricia Jennings and Maria Ausherman
Koa Books, 2011
124 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0982165645

Growing Up American in Papa’s World, Stories of a Korean Immigrant Family
Marie Park Fujii
Belknap Publishing & Design, 2011
224 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0981640334

Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past
John R.K. Clark
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2011
512 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0824834142
HBB Review

Kaka‘ako As We Knew It
Marsha Gibson
Mutual Publishing, 2011
176 pages, Softcover
ISBN: 1-56647-943-6
HBB Review

Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii
Frances H. Kakugawa
Watermark Publishing, 2011
112 pages, Softcover
ISBN: 978-1935690160
HBB Review

Lihue Mill: Grinding Cane and Building Community, One Hundred Fifty Years of Sugar Processing Along Nawiliwili Stream
Jan TenBruggencate
PAHIO Development, Inc. and Lihue Ms, LLC, 2011
116 pages, Hardcover

Men of Hula (Revised Edition)
Benton Sen
Island Heritage Publishing, 2011
124 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 1-59700-623-8

No Nā Mamo: Traditional and Contemporary Hawaiian Beliefs and Practices
Malcolm Naea Chun
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2011
424 pages, Cloth
ISBN: 978-0824836245

Richard Smart of the Legendary Parker Ranch
William C. Bergin & Dexter Keaweehu Vredenburg
Island Heritage Publishing, 2011
202 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1617101038

Waves of Resistance: Surfing and History in Twentieth-Century Hawai‘i
Isaiah Helekunihi Walker
University of Hawai‘i Press, 2011
240 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3547-7
HBB Review


Wow, this is by far the biggest category of nominees in this year’s KPP Awards.  Fifteen books total, signifying some very excellent non-fiction that was written this year.  What do you think?  Have you read any of these books, and if so, which one is your favorite?

Remember, you can attend the 2012 Ka Palapala Poʻokela Awards gala on Friday, May 11 at Bishop Museum. Enjoy heavy pūpū, gourmet chocolates by Choco leʻa, entertainment by Ka ʻEhā, and a book sale and author signing. Tickets can be purchased at Native Books/Nā Mea Hawaiʻi at Ward Warehouse (808-596-8885). For more information about the event, please contact