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Ho'Onani cover

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

illustrated by Mika Song

Ho'onani, who doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) or kāne (boy), is happy to be in the middle and eager to lead a school performance of a traditional kāne hula chant even though she knows that some may get upset that a wahine is leading.
Ho'Onani cover

How to Teach This Book

  1. Hula is storytelling, and each chant tells a unique story, from traditional stories to mythology and creation tales. Hula, like other forms of storytelling, entertains as it passes on the beliefs and history of a culture and can help students understand and value cultural knowledge and differences.
  2. Talk with students about the importance of passing on traditions and stories and together plan to create community with a Read Across America storytelling night. Start with inviting experienced storytellers to your classroom to generate enthusiasm for storytelling and then build on student interest to have students research, learn, practice, and tell stories of their own. When student storytellers are ready, host an evening for family and friends to hear student stories or take the show on the road and have students perform or record their stories for audiences at libraries, retirement homes, or community centers.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. Ho’onani doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) or kāne (boy), but in the middle. What other ways do people sometimes find themselves “in the middle”?
  2. What do you think when you’re told that is something just “for boys” or “for girls”?
  3. Ho’onani reminds herself to be “strong, sure, and steady.” What do you say to yourself to give yourself courage?
  4. Who is supportive of you in the things you like to do or want to do? How do they show their support and respect for your choices and interests?
  5. Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is based on a true story and real people. If you met Ho’onani, what questions would you ask her?

Additional Resources for Teaching About Gender Identity

Celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources.

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