Hidden Hawaii is a treasure trove of information about the geography and history of the fiftieth U.S. state. Did you know the hula dance was outlawed by Christian missionaries? It was brought back by King David Kalakaua at his coronation in 1883. "Hula is the language of the heart," he said, "And therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people." The story of the Hawaiian people over the last two hundred years is both tragic and inspiring, and award-winning travel writer Ray Riegert offers just enough to whet my appetite.
The author lives in California, but the sections on each of the islands read like letters from a local, offering tips as you plan your trip. Check out this description of the mule ride to the historic Kalaupapa Leper Colony (people still live there!):
You saddle up near the Kalaupapa Lookout and descend a 1700-foot precipice, among the tallest sea cliffs in the world. Kalaupapa unfolds below you as you switchback through lush vegetation on a three-mile long trail. The ride? Exhilarating, frightening, but safe. And the views are awesome.
The selling point of the Hidden Travel books is that they clue readers in to the less touristy places, so I was expecting to learn which beaches, parks, and dining establishments are enjoyed by the locals, and I did. I was surprised to find locally used lodgings listed as well:
For a funky country place high in the mountains overlooking the Kona Coast, check in here. Catering primarily to workers, this 11-unit hotel remains a real sleeper. It might be difficult to book a room during the week, but on weekends, the lunchpail crowd heads home and you can rent a small place at an unbelievably low rate.
Now that's my kind of book.
This is the fourteenth edition, published in 2008—I think we definitely need a homeschool field trip to Hawaii before the next edition comes out, don't you? We could call it a unit study. Read some more Graham Salisbury books...study Pearl Harbor and volcanoes...
Your turn to test out this book: Ask me anything about Hawaii, anything at all, and I'll see if the answer is in there. Come on, see if you can stump me!