These books are relatively quick reads for me, but since I love historical fiction, I try really hard to pay attention to all the details!
Nanea’s story begins in 1941, on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii. Her given name is Alice Nanea, and the author packs a variety of Hawaiian words into the story. She’s the baby of the family, with an older brother, David, and an older sister, Mary Lou. Her mother is a Hawaiian native, while her father is from Oregon, from the mainland. I had to remind myself that Hawaii wasn’t a state yet!
Nanea enjoys spending time with her friends, Lily and Donna. They like shave ice on the beach, learning and performing hula, and school.
As the story progresses, we learn that Nanea’s father is a welder for one of the shipyards. Pearl Harbor is bustling with activity, especially as World War II has ramped up over the last several years. However, many on the island go about their daily business, welcoming tourists and taking care of their families.
A special contest is being held, and Nanea and her friends are excited to enter. The prize is a brand-new Schwinn bike! They have to meet four criteria. The deadline to enter is December 15th.
Then, on December 7th, everything changes. Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese. Nanea’s father has to work around the clock, and her brother and sister volunteer their time and effort in the community. Nanea feels like the baby again, wanting to help, but being too young. Everyone is scared as martial law is declared, blackouts begin, and schools are closed.
Christmas doesn’t feel very festive, but the family celebrates anyway. They rekindle the Hawaiian spirit of “ohana” and “aloha.”
This story wraps up around January 1942. Just as things begin to look normal again, Nanea and her friends learn that one of them may have to leave because of the Army’s orders. Nanea wants to help her friends, but she’s not sure how!
Overall, I dug deep into Nanea’s story. I found myself dreaming about the story and picturing certain scenes every night when I went to bed. I really want to visit Hawaii now!
I really appreciate the attention to historical accuracy, while making it relevant to the main audience. Nanea may be the baby, but she’s starting to grow up. And, I learned a few new things along the way!
I’m already thirteen chapters into Volume 2 – Look for that review soon!
5 out of 5 stars.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂