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School: Kanu o ka ‘Aina New Public Charter School

City/State: Waimea, HI

Grade(s): Pre-K

Format(s): Bilingual, Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Visual Arts, World Language

Project Overview

This book of values was created by pre-kindergarten students and their teachers from the Kanu o ka ‘Aina Charter School on the Big Island in Hawaii, as part of an extensive and ongoing effort to create culturally relevant bilingual curriculum materials for Hawaiian students.

The creation of curriculum materials is part of a larger effort to reintroduce Hawaiian students to native culture and language – helping them to reclaim traditional language before it is lost. As part of a larger movement in Hawaii, the Kamehameha Charter Schools are one of the leaders in this effort. A foundation connected with the charter schools, called the Kalo Foundation, arranges for the professional publication of these books and products. For more information visit

In a very kid-friendly way, the book includes many different traditional Hawaiian cultural values, represented through Hawaiian and English words and examples of students demonstrating each value shown through digital photographs. 

Many schools have a Code of Character for their school community – a set of values to follow; this book does a nice job of using photographs to showcase students demonstrating those values through their actions. The photos would make excellent posters.

Adults were involved in the layout and production of the book, but students had a hand in the design and overall look and feel of it. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights a useful way to make values clear to students – demonstrated through actions, captured by a compelling photo – rather than as a static mandate on a list
  • Creates a personalized account of cultural values, providing a template for any school
  • The photographs of young children demonstrating the values are very endearing; they would work well as posters in the school
  • An example of a bilingual book that can be read in two languages
  • Provides specific examples of each of the values. For example on pages 6 and 7, “Give and receive help” is demonstrated through a picture “Aunty Ku’ulei helps Ke’ale with planting” (“Aunty” is a respectful term for a female adult in the Hawaiian culture)
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