Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer Series: 50 States - Hawai'i

*My summer series has taken longer than I had anticipated.  I will continue through the fall until all 50 states have been completed.  Today, we will learn about my favorite state:


Ranking as one of the most visited states in the Union, Hawai'i officially became a state on August 21, 1959.  Centuries before that, it had been visited by Captain James Cook who named the archipelago the "Sandwich Islands" in honor of the Earl of Sandwich.  King Kamehameha I unified all of the islands in 1810 and renamed them the "Kingdom of Hawai'i."  Protestant missionaries arrived in the early 1800s as did whalers.  The town of Lahaina on the island of Maui was an important whaling harbor and has retained the charm of this bygone era.  Colonists from America took control of the islands in 1893, and it officially became a U.S. territory in 1898.  Portions of the U.S. military were positioned in Hawai'i leading up to World War II, and the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, forced the U.S. into the war.  In 1959, Hawai'i became the 50th state.

Located in the Pacific Ocean almost 3000 miles away from California, Hawai'i is the southernmost state.  It is the widest state from east to west with 130 separate pieces of land spread out over 1600 miles.  There are eight main islands: O'ahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Moloka'i, Hawai'i, Niihau, and Kaho'olawe.  O'ahu is the most popular island; this is also where the capital, Honolulu, is located.  Maui is home to the world's largest dormant volcano, Haleakala.  Kauai is where visitors will find the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" and Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest places on the planet (it receives more than 450 inches of rain per year).  Lanai is known as "pineapple island" as it is the world's single largest exporter of the fruit.  Molokai is a quiet island without the hustle and bustle of the tourism industry.  It also used to be the site of a leper colony run by Father Damien.  The island of Hawai'i is also known as "The Big Island" and is home to one of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea, and this state's highest point, Mauna Kea, which stands 13,796 feet high.  Niihau is a privately owned island that accepts few visitors.  Kaho'olawe is an island that was once used as target practice by the US Navy and Air Force.  People are not permitted to go on shore without permission.

There are no majority populations in Hawai'i; everyone is considered in a minority.  Despite such a wide variety of cultures, there are just two official languages: Hawaiian and English.  The Hawaiian language uses just 12 letters - A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, and W.  It also uses the symbol '.  There are several websites where you can learn Hawaiian.  I have not included them here, as none of the ones I found are free.  Aloha is the word most associated with Hawai'i, and it is the state nickname.  Aloha means "hello," "goodbye," and "love."  Mahalo means "thank you."  Many of the state symbols employ the Hawaiian language such as the state bird, which is the Nene, or Hawaiian goose.  The state tree is the Kukui, and the state fish (which is one of my favorite) is the Humuhumunukunuku apua'a, or the Reef Triggerfish.  A rule of thumb for speaking Hawaiian is that every letter makes a sound.  Therefore, Hawai'i, would be pronounced like Ha-wa-e-e (both e's are long).  The state motto is (are you ready for this one):

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono

This is translated, "The life of the land is perpetuated by righteousness."

Tourism and defense are two of the largest industries in Hawai'i.  Agriculture ranks at the top as well.  Sugar cane and macadamia nuts are grown here.  One third of the world's pineapples comes from Hawai'i, and it is the only state that grows coffee.  Beautiful flowers such as the Hibiscus are gown here; this is the state flower.  One of the staple foods is poi.  It is taro root that is ground and then cooked into a paste.  When I had gone to the Polynesian Cultural Center years ago, I watched a man make poi.  He asked for a volunteer from the audience to try it.  Upon trying the gray paste-like food, he turned his nose up at it and said something negative.  The speaker was highly offended and said, "We don't make fun of your mashed potatoes."

Besides the places already mentioned above, other points of interest are Pearl Harbor on the island of O'ahu, the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, Diamond Head on O'ahu, Haleakala National Park, Na Pali Coast State Park, Iao Valley, the Hana Highway, and Iolani Palace which is the only royal palace on U.S. soil.  There are many other places to visit that provide history and adventure.  Visit The Hawaiian Islands page to see what each island offers.

The state flag of Hawai'i was actually commissioned by King Kamehameha I in 1819.  There are 8 white, red, and blue stripes which signify the eight main islands.  The Union Jack is present in the upper left and honors Hawai'i's past relationship with Britain.

Hawai'i is the only state that continues to grow.  This is due to the active volcano, Kilauea, which continues to produce new land as the lava flows into the ocean and then cools.  The state mammal is the monk seal, and the state marine mammal is the humpback whale.  Many people visit in the winter months to view these whales when they migrate to the warmer waters to mate and calve their young.

The temperature in Hawai'i does not vary much throughout the year.  It is rarely above 92 Fahrenheit or less than 60 F.  July's average temperature during the day is 82, and January's is 72.  Hawai'i has its own time zone, and it does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  This state is the 43rd biggest and the 42nd most populous.

Play some Hawaii State Symbols Games or do some word searches or crossword puzzles.

Here is a list of books about Hawai'i from  I am an affiliate, so if you purchase any of these from my blog, I will receive a small commission.  Feel no obligation.

454074: The Mystery in Hawaii: The 50th State The Mystery in Hawaii: The 50th State
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

806162: Magic Tree House #28: High Tide in Hawaii Magic Tree House #28: High Tide in Hawaii
By Mary Pope Osborne & Sal Murdocca (Illustrator) / Random House Books for Young Readers

Join Jack and Annie on another exciting adventure! This time the siblings are transported to Hawaii where they make friends with the local people and learn how to hula and surf. But when a tsunami threatens the island, will Jack and Annie save their friends in time?

6707X: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
By M.C. Hall / Heinemann Raintree

498525: Hawaii Coloring Book, Grades PreK-3 Hawaii Coloring Book, Grades PreK-3
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Have fun while learning about your state's history! This coloring book contains coloring pictures with captions of Hawaii's most famous people, history, state facts, flora & fauna, and fun facts! 32 reproducible pages, softcover. Grades PreK-K.

345094: Pearl Harbor is Burning!: A Story of World War II
Pearl Harbor is Burning!: A Story of World War II
By Kathleen Kudlinski / Puffin Books

Frank thought that he'd found a new friend--but he never expected a war to come between them. It's 1941, and Frank is miserable. If only his family had never moved to Hawaii. Everyone and everything on the island looks and sounds strange to him. Then Frank meets Kenji, a Japanese-American boy who just might become a friend. But the unthinkable happens--Pearl Harbor is bombed, and by the Japanese! Can Frank and Kenji even be friends?

698391: #1: Aloha, Kanani
#1: Aloha, Kanani
By Lisa Yee / American Girl Publishing

Ten-year-old Kanani loves living in beautiful Hawaii -and she especially loves sharing the wonders of her island home with visitors. So when her cousin Rachel from New York comes to stay for a month, Kanani is excited to get to know her. But no matter what she does to help Rachel feel at home, it only seems to make her unhappy instead. Can Kanani find a way to connect with her cousin?

713890: Liberty Letters: Attack at Pearl Harbor
Liberty Letters: Attack at Pearl Harbor
By Nancy LeSourd / ZonderKidz

Standing on the airfield in Hawaii, watching a boy her age taking his first solo flight, Meredith vows again to learn to fly. In Washington D.C.,her friend Catherine is equally determined to write real news stories for the school newspaper. As December 7, 1941, approaches, the girls have no idea that their faith and their dreams are about to carry them through one of the biggest events in the life of their nation.

106296: Hawaii
By Shelley Gill / Charlesbridge Publishing

Join Patrick and his father as they tour the Aloha State. They kayak around the Big Island, drive to Haleakala Crater, visit the paniolos on Parker Ranch, and so much more. Learn historical, natural science, and cultural information as well as some Hawaiian words and fun facts.

41551EB: Little Pineapple, the little Hawaiian truck discovers the sugar cane trains - eBook Little Pineapple, the little Hawaiian truck discovers the sugar cane trains - eBook
By Karl Joseph Hill & Scott Thomas Lowe((Illustrator) / Pacific H&l Publishing

058380: Volcanoes Volcanoes
By Neil Morris / Crabtree Publishing Company

432394: Let"s Hula! Let's Hula!
By Suzanne Aumack & Connie Majka / Running Press

85152: DK Readers: Journey of a Humpback Whale (Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone) DK Readers: Journey of a Humpback Whale (Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone)
By Caryn Jenner / DK Publishing Inc.

27621EB: A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor - eBook A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor - eBook
By Harry Mazer / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

57344: At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
By Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon / Penguin Putnam Inc.

This is a monumental and definitive study of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. At 7:53 A.M.,December 7, 1941, America's national conciousness and confidence were rocked as the first wave of Japanese warplanes targeted the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. As intense and absorbing as a suspense novel,"At Dawn We Slept" is an unparalleled, exhaustive account of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor that is widely regarded as the definitive assessment of the events surrounding one of the most daring and brilliant naval operations of all time. Through extensive research and interviews with American and Japanese leaders, Gordon W.Prange assembled a remarkable historical study that examines the assault that seventy years later America cannot forget.

DISCLAIMER: I am an affiliate with  I receive a commission from any purchases made through my affiliate link.

All photos above (not book photos) are from


  1. Awesome informative post. I'm going to share this on my facebook page!!

    1. Thank you very much for reposting this. I have enjoyed creating this series. I envisioned doing one state every day or two, but it hasn't quite worked out that way. That is life, I guess. :-)

  2. Great info! Just a terrific run-down of the state. Thanks!

    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hawaii is my favorite state, so it was fun to do this one.