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  • Writing the Hawai'i Memoir Now Available on Audible.com

    Darien Gee's award-winning writing guide, Writing the Hawai'i Memoir, is now available as an audiobook via Audible.com.

    This step-by-step blueprint for starting and completing your memoir (or family history) leads writers of any experience level through a natural, intuitive writing process that can be followed at any pace, quick or slow. This guide is for anyone who has a life story and wants to share it with others.

    Narrated by Carin Gilfry, with a dedicating pule written and recorded by Rev. Danny Akaka, Jr., the audiobook edition of Writing the Hawai'i Memoir lets you absorb Darien's advice while you're on-the-go. Or, sit in your favorite chair and think of it like your own personal writing seminar!

    Courtesy of Darien, we have three free Audible downloads to give away! Want one? Here's how to enter: Tell us the one-sentence summary of the memoir you would write.

    You can tell us in any of three ways:

    • Leave a comment on this blog.
    • Post a comment on our Facebook Page (preferably where we've shared the link to this post, but anywhere on the page is OK).
    • Tweet us (@watermarkhawaii) using the hashtag #hawaiimemoir ("Hey @watermarkhawaii, my #hawaiimemoir would be: ...")

    On September 1, 2015, we'll gather up all the responses and pick three lucky winners at random. (You'll need to sign up for an Audible account and have either a smartphone or Kindle in order to redeem and listen to the audiobook.)

    Here are some examples from our Watermark Publishing and Legacy Isle Publishing memoir releases to inspire you:


    by Frances H. Kakugawa

    A coming-of-age memoir of life in a Hawaiian plantation village—now buried beneath a blanket of lava.

    My Name is Makia

    by Makia Malo with Pamela Young

    A child of Kalaupapa who grew up to carry his message of hope and love around the world.

    The Society of Seven: Last of the Great Show Bands

    by Frances Kirk

    The saga of the Society of Seven, one of the most enduring success stories in show business.

    Wayfinding through the Storm

    by Na Leo o Kamehameha with Gavan Daws

    The human story of a crisis that erupted at Kamehameha Schools and came close to destroying a historic educational community.

    We can't wait to hear your memoir ideas!

  • Wordsworth's Poe-TREE Contest Winners

    Happy Earth Day, everyone! We are celebrating by announcing the winners of the Wordsworth the Poet "Poe-TREE Contest!"

    In the Wordsworth Poe-TREE Contest, students were asked to write a poem celebrating their favorite tree, following the model of Wordsworth the Mouse and his friends in the book Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! The young mice in the story campaign to save the trees in their community by writing poems reminding all the neighbors about the special qualities of the trees around them.

    Poems were judged based on creativity, poetic merit and how well they conveyed what makes the trees special to the students. The six contest winners will receive a copies of each of the three books in the Wordsworth series, a gardening tool kit and a Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

    MakaylaRoseMolden (current) Makayla Rose Molden

    K-5 Division Winners:

    Makayla Rose Molden (age 6, Kapolei, Mauka Lani Elementary), untitled

    The Mountain Apple tree is yummy to me.
    The fruit is up so high to knock it down is a game I try.
    I collect the fruit and make apple pie.



    Eli Wolfe Eli Wolfe

    Eli Wolfe (age 5, Honolulu, University Laboratory School), “Banyan Tree”

    I like to climb the
    Banyan tree
    at Barwick.
    I can climb to
    the sky.
    You should try it too
    It is so fun.


    Grade 6-8 Division:

    Cindy Tsou Cindy Tsou

    Min-Hua (Cindy) Tsou (age 11, Kapolei, Kapolei Middle School), “Red Maple Tree (Acer rubrum)”

    A bright, scarlet leaf blew by.
    A red lobed leaf fall and fly.
    It can be red, yellow and even green.
    Red maple trees makes a beautiful scene.
    It grows in the north, with it’s flower blooming back and forth.
    A red maple tree brings red, bright shines.
    A red maple is of course, very fine.


    Emerson Goo Emerson Goo

    Emerson Goo (age 12, Honolulu, Niu Valley Middle School), “Forest Guardians”

    Sentinels at watch
    Forest guardians holding
    Treasured memories




    Grade 9-12 Division:

    Sophie Corless Sophie Corless

    Sophie Corless (age 15, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Northern Highlands Regional High School), “The Lemon Tree”

    The cool sticky air clings to me;
    my bare feet squelch in the grass
    just after the rain shower.
    The lemon tree stands in the back corner
    towering over the garden, and has a prevailing presence.
    Under the tree lies my step ladder,
    with my initials carved in the leg.
    The wicker basket dangles
    on a tiny branch at my height.
    I have my technique down,
    twist and snap over and over again.
    Even the bees and ants are fixated on my movements,
    their fragile wings and tiny legs
    seem to stop to observe.
    Little droplets collect in the pores of the rind,
    making my hand cool,
    droplets of lemon juice ooze through the pores
    and run down my hand to my wrist and to my elbow,
    stopping and then dripping off.
    By the end I am covered in a mixture of rain and lemon,
    dried and sticky.
    With every lemon I snap off,
    the branch snaps back and sprinkles me with rain.
    I swear I hear my sweltering forehead
    sizzle against the cool droplets.
    In the kitchen I squeeze every last lemon,
    popping the juice into the pitcher with the yellow flowers,
    along with a fistful of sugar and a splash of water.
    I crack the ice tray in half, scooping out the cubes.
    The first sip makes my face contort
    into an uncomfortable position,
    one you can’t avoid,
    but the last is always the sweetest.

    ZoeEdelmanBrier Zoe Edelman Brier

    Zoe Edelman Brier (age 18, Allendale, New Jersey, Northern Highlands Regional High School), “Veins of Color”

    I remember maple Leaf picking
    with my father before the bus
    came to ship me off
    to a grey school building
    with a grey blacktop
    and grey windows.
    The colors of the Leaves
    were brighter than anything
    I’d ever seen, standing out
    against the blah of morning.
    even through fog,
    the Leaves shown like bright beacons
    of change and hope for the future.
    the Leaves would vein and crinkle
    in red and orange and yellow,
    mixing in a thin canvas.
    My father would sit me on his shoulders
    and have me reach the highest branch
    possible to get the best Leaf
    to press in a book that I still have
    12 years later, the colors frozen in time,
    unbrowned and delicate, red stains
    clashing with the dark green of Leaf.

    Congratulations to all our winners! Go give your favorite tree a hug!

  • Wordsworth the Poet’s Poe-TREE Contest

    Frances H. Kakugawa, author of the Wordsworth the Poet children’s books, and Watermark Publishing announce the Wordsworth the Poet “Poe-TREE Contest,” open to children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. (Contest rules follow.)

    In Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! — the newest Wordsworth the Poet adventure released this month — a bulldozer has invaded the little mouse’s special koa grove where he often writes his poems. What should Wordsworth do? His new friend, Akiko, has an idea! Wordsworth, Akiko and their friends, Dylan and Eliot, have all written poems about the special qualities of the trees they see around them — mango trees, coconut trees, kukui trees. Akiko tacks poems to each tree and reminds their neighbors of how important a part of their community the trees really are.

    To enter the Wordsworth the Poet Poe-TREE Contest, kids can follow Wordsworth and his friends’ example and write a poem that celebrates their favorite tree. For an example, see Akiko and Eliot's "Save This Tree" poems (above and below; click on the images to enlarge).

    Six prize packages will be awarded, two per grade division (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12). Each prize package includes a copy of each of the three books in the Wordsworth series, a child’s gardening tool kit and a Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

    Send entries ATTN: Wordsworth’s Poe-TREE Contest to wordsworth@bookshawaii.net or to Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop St., Ste. 310, Honolulu, HI 96813. Download an entry form here.

    Contest Rules:

    • The contest is open to all children kindergarten through 12th grade residing in the United States.
    • Each entry must include the child’s name, age and grade, school, hometown and parent, guardian or teacher’s contact information and signature. Download an entry form here.
    • Poem must be about the entrant's favorite tree.
    • Winning poems will be selected by the judges, including Frances Kakugawa, based on creativity and poetic merit.
    • Materials submitted will not be returned.
    • Entries must be received by January 15, 2013 DEADLINE EXTENDED: March 1, 2013.
    • Winners will be notified February 1, 2013 April 15, 2013. Winners may be asked to submit a photo of themselves for publicity purposes. Winners' name, hometown and likeness may be used for publicity purposes.

    For those who are ineligible to enter the Poe-TREE Contest, or who aren’t inclined to write poetry, Frances and Wordsworth have another way to celebrate trees: They invite readers far and wide to plant trees in their own communities. “It’s not only about trees being cut down where we live,” Frances writes in the introduction to Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! “Our children and their children must have trees in their future to hug and enjoy and sit under in the shade. Trees also help keep us alive and healthy.”

    Frances has created Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society to recognize readers of all ages who plant a tree in Wordsworth’s honor. To receive a membership certificate in the Plant A Tree Society, readers must plant a tree for Wordsworth in their community (in the backyard or at school, for example) and post a photo of themselves with their tree on Wordsworth’s Facebook page. Photo submissions should indicate the variety of the tree and where it was planted. Submissions may also be e-mailed to wordsworth@bookshawaii.net or mailed to Watermark Publishing. Photos will not be returned and will be posted online.

    We understand that not everyone can plant a tree in their own backyard, so we have teamed up with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to offer a solution: A program to plant Wordsworth Legacy Koa Trees on Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ 1,000 acres of conservation land on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Groups or individuals may sponsor a Wordsworth Legacy Tree for $60. The purchase also includes a copy of Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!, a certificate bearing the GPS coordinates of the planted tree, and automatic membership in Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society. Additionally, $10 of the sponsorship fee will be directed to a fund dedicated to providing Legacy Trees for underprivileged children. Wordsworth Legacy Trees may be purchased at http://legacytrees.org/watermarkpublishing.

    We are very excited to work with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to help return native growth to the Hamakua Coast! The land set aside by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods for this conservation program once belonged to King Kamehameha I, and some original koa trees still remain on the property. HLH uses seeds from these ancient Hawaiian trees to grow the Legacy Trees. Each tree is implanted with an RFID chip which transmits information on the tree's growth, as well as identifying it as the sponsor's tree. What an amazing project!

  • Happy Birthday, Don Ho

    This August 13th, legendary Hawaiian entertainer Don Ho would have been 82. The multi-talented Ho passed away in 2007, just a few short months after completing the interviews for his autobiography—a project he'd put off doing for years.

    These were the final interviews of his life, and the book went on to be completed by his co-author, Jerry Hopkins, finally assembled in what Hopkins called "a modern Hawaiian quilt" of oral history, a format Ho had approved before his death.

    Pilot, musician, actor, cultural icon. Don Ho took it all in stride. His view, as his good friend and sometime collaborator Kui Lee sang: "Ain't no big thing, bruddah."

    It's no big thing in terms of what Mainland guys do—the Beatles or the Doors or whoever the hell they are. But I don't think you will find many other groups that sustained themselves this long—night after night after night—for 45 years. You know what I'm saying? I mean, I've got to be nuts to have done that.

    - Don Ho, 2007

    Nuts or not, audiences loved Donald Tai Loy Ho. He charmed the ladies, made the men laugh, and embodied the Aloha Spirit to millions worldwide.

    In celebration of his birthday, we're giving away 10 copies of his memoir, Don Ho: My Music, My Life, via Goodreads. (You do need to be a Goodreads member in order to participate in the giveaway program.)

    If you just can't wait to find out if you're a winner, you can purchase the book at the very special price of $8.13 in honor of his birthday, 8/13. This price takes effect on August 13 and expires August 31, 2012.

    Critics have said of Don Ho: My Music, My Life:

    The inclusion of people who refused to participate in efforts by other authors makes this book a milestone, and a must-buy for anyone interested in Ho or his impact on modern Hawaiian entertainment.

    - John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

    You'll chuckle over the Don Ho bubble machine and that bottle of bubbly that paid homage to his hit song. You'll recognize his failing health. And you'll relive the watery farewell, when hundreds bid him adieu. You'll remember Ho in a way that he probably would approve."

    - Wayne Harada, Honolulu Advertiser

    Hau‘oli lā hānau, Mr. Ho!

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