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Book cover for Legend of the Gourd

Legend of the Gourd

Written and illustrated by Caren Loebel-Fried

Bishop Museum Press 2010
12 pages, full color

$16.95, Cloth

Legend of the Gourd

Bishop Museum Press

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

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

Praise for Legend of the Gourd

As a writer, Loebel-Fried tends to be overshadowed by her extraordinary block-print illustrations. That's not really fair, as Loebel-Fried's storytelling abilities are first rate, and she has the uncanny ability to suggest much in just a few words. She is also helped along by Kaliko Beamer-Trapp's Hawaiian translations. Loebel-Fried has won the American Folklore Society's Aesop prize for Children's Folklore and a Ka Palapala Po'okela from the Hawai'i Book Publishers Association. 

"Gourd" might put more trophies on her mantle. The district of Kau, on the Big Island's Kamaoa Plain, is reputed to house the "Children of the Gourd," so named after a legend of two lovelorn alii and a tragedy that passes between them. The story is told through the gourd itself, a symbol of the Hawaiian people's connection to the land.

The story has resonance in Christian mythology as well. It's gorgeously illustrated and handsomely designed. Not just for kids.

- Honolulu Star Advertiser


In the district of Ka'u, spread across the Kama'oa Plain, live the Children of the Gourd. This magical tale delves into the past to reveal how the people of this region came to be named.

During the old days of Hawai'i, a young man and woman fell in love. Though both were descended from chiefs, their relationship was looked down upon. And so the young couple ran away together, accompanied by many who cared for them. They crossed the Kama'oa Plain, along the flank of Mauna Loa, where they settled near the shore and thrived. Alas, the people's happiness turned to sorrow as the chiefess became ill soon after her pregnancy and did not recover.

Follow in the footsteps of the chief as he makes his way from Kama'oa to Kapu'a, guided by a tiny green vine sprouting from the burial cave of the chiefess. What he finds at the end of his journey brings him back from the grief of losing his wife and solidifies the future of his people.

Caren Ke'ala Loebel-Fried beautifully depicts the love story between the two ali'i and the miracle that comes to pass after a tragic death.

Adapted and illustrated by Caren Ke'ala Loebel-Fried, a storyteller and second-generation carver who learned the ancient art of block printing from her mother. Her inspiration comes from the legends and natural world of Hawai'i, and her illustrations and stories have appeared in many books and magazines.

Translator Kaliko Beamer-Trapp has been involved in the revitalization of the Hawaiian language for over 15 years, and was formally adopted into the Beamer family by Nona Beamer in 1995. He currently lives in Hilo, Hawai'i.

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