Book cover of Kapaemahu




Publisher & Publication Year

Kokila, 2022

Publisher's Book Page


Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (Native Hawaiian), Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson

Author's Website 


Daniel Sousa



In this retelling of an Indigenous Hawaiian legend, four Mahu—individuals of dual male and female spirit—sail from Tahiti to Hawaii in the 15th century. Here, they share their gifts of science and healing with the people of Waikiki. The islanders return this gift with a monument of four boulders in their honor, which the Mahu imbue with healing powers before disappearing. As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and the once-sacred stones are forgotten, until the 1960s. Though the true story of the stones was not fully recovered, the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass them at Waikiki Beach today.

Notable Achievements

A Stonewall Honor Book; A School & Library Journal Best Picture Book of the Year; A Shelf Awareness Best Children’s & YA of 2022


Kirkus Reviews: "Filled with cultural details and beautifully illustrated in vibrant tropical colors, the book pays homage to Indigenous Hawaiian healing traditions and affirms two-spirit people... A poignant monument to the power of hidden Indigenous histories."

School Library Journal: "Every library should consider creating or augmenting sparse Pacific Islander collections with this work."

Educator Guide

This dual-language guide, created by Kanaeokana, includes learning objectives, discussion questions, and activities.

Link to Guide

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