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Book cover for Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits

Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits

Written and illustrated by Caren Loebel-Fried

University of Hawai'i Press, 2002
128 pages, 60 illustrations, 20 in color

$26.99, Cloth

Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits

Published by University of Hawai`i Press

Winner - Aesop Prize for Children's Folklore, American Foldlore Society

Winner - Ka Palapala Po`okela, Excellence in Hawaiian Culture

Winner - Ka Palapala Po`okela, Excellence in Children's Illustrative Books

Praise for Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits:

Ancient Hawaiians lived in a world inhabited by the spirits of gods and ancestors who moved in and out of the myriad forms of the natural world. At times of crisis or creation these guardian spirits appeared in dreams or waking life to guide, protect, or right injustice. Five of these guardians--shark, plover, breadfruit tree, owl, and gourd--make vivid appearances in this jewel-like book.... In retelling these tales, Loebel-Fried draws on several versions of each, found in published sources and ethnographic notes in the Bishop Museum Archives in Honolulu. The bibliography, citing over eighty works, attests to meticulous research. The content of the stories, the striking illustrations, and the clear and simple language make this book appealing for the young as well as for adults--and a real find for storytellers.-Parabola Magazine, Summer 2004

Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits" is unique indeed as it retells legends in an entirely new way. Perhaps most noteworthy of all are the 60 woodcuts, some in color, that are spread throughout the book. This work deserves the attention of Hawaiian collectors who savor the spiritual aspects of life in the islands and the role it still plays in the lives of many.- The Molokai Dispatch, November 2002

More than a collection of mythical, fantastical stories of breadfruit or plovers, sharks or owls. Her book is a lens for viewing the world as a Hawaiian would view it, for infused in each story is the notion of 'aumakua, or guardian spirit. Caren Loebel-Fried is also the illuminator of her own words. Her hand-colored block prints help tell the story and provide stunning decorative elements to the page. Her work is bold and evocative.
- The Honolulu Advertiser, May 2003

The stories link Hawaiians directly to nature. Notes are included that put the legends into context both historically and culturally. The stories are definitely for those who want to learn more about the legends or just revisit them.
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin, March 2003

A modern retelling of several centuries-old legends, and the more than 60 block prints that accompany each tale are stunning. Loebel-Fried has done a great job bringing these stories to life.
- The Bergen Record, February 2003

Volcano artist Loebel-Fried, who both "retells" these tales and created the way-cool block prints that illustrate this handsome book, delves into the fascinating legends of Hawaiian 'aumakua, or creatures who watch over us.
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin, November 2002

The well-made volume consists of nine illustrated retellings of Hawaiian mo'olelo (legends) about protective gods, divided into five chapters, one for each of them. Her medium is block prints, very stylized, clean and appealing, and the stories are told in a very readable… style.
- The Honolulu Advertiser, December 2002



Ancient Hawaiians lived in a world where all of nature was alive with the spirits of their ancestors. These 'aumakua have lived on through the ages as family guardians and take on many natural forms, thus linking many Hawaiians to the animals, plants, and natural phenomena of their island home.

Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits is told in words and pictures by award-winning artist Caren Loebel-Fried. The ancient legends are brought to life in sixty beautiful block prints, many vibrantly colored, and are narrated in a lively "read-aloud" style, just as storytellers of old may have told them hundreds of years ago. Notes are included, reflecting the careful and extensive research done for this volume.

"Caren Loebel-Fried's writing is fresh and vivid, her art strong and alive... and I found her research to be outstanding. Hawaiian Legends of the Guardian Spirits will enrich the hearts and minds of readers. The strength of Caren's retelling comes from a very honest wellspring of love for her work on behalf of Hawai'i and its people."
- From the Foreword by Nona Beamer

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