Kapaemahu Book Review

Welcome back, everyone! 

It’s Jebeh Edmonds here, and I’m thrilled to share with you, from my latest episode a book review on the “Kapaemāhū” book. This wonderful tale, written by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, and illustrated by Daniel Sousa, takes us deep into the rich cultural history of four extraordinary beings from Tahiti who settled in Hawaii. These beings were known for their healing powers and their dual male and female spirits, embodying both in mind, heart, and spirit.

About the Book

“Kapaemāhū” takes us on a journey to pre-colonial Hawaii, where these four beings—Kapaemāhū, Kinohi, Kahaloa, and Kapuni—arrived on the shores of Waikīkī. Each one possessed unique healing abilities: Kapaemāhū healed by laying hands, Kinohi was all-seeing, Kahaloa could heal from afar, and Kapuni possessed great spiritual power. Their story, filled with mana (spiritual power), is a testament to the Hawaiian understanding of duality and balance, and the importance of inclusivity.

Why This Story Matters

The tale of Kapaemāhū is not just a story; it’s a profound lesson in cultural resilience and the power of mo‘olelo (storytelling). It reminds us of the rich history and traditions that shape our present and future. The people of Hawai‘i revered these beings for their healing powers and wisdom, and their story has been passed down through generations, gaining power with each retelling.

Learning from Kapaemāhū

In my review, I disect essential themes of the book:

  • Cultural Significance: The story highlights the respect for māhū (individuals of dual gender) in Hawaiian culture, teaching us about the importance of balance and inclusivity.
  • Healing Powers: Each character’s unique ability symbolizes different aspects of healing and spiritual power, showcasing the deep connection between the physical and spiritual realms in Hawaiian tradition.
  • Mana of Mo‘olelo: Storytelling itself is a source of mana. Sharing and perpetuating these stories keeps the culture and its values alive, enriching our understanding and connection to the past.

Educational Insights and Activities

For educators and parents, the “Kapaemāhū” book offers numerous opportunities to discuss important topics such as gender fluidity, cultural history, and the power of inclusivity. 

I hope you find this review enlightening and that it inspires you to explore the story of Kapaemāhū further. For more engaging content on cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, Mrs. Edmunds’ Cultural Corner.

Thank you for being a part of our community. Together, we can foster understanding, respect, and inclusivity in every aspect of our lives.

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