All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

The Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai´i Retold by Jama Kim Rattigan, Pictures by Carla Golembe

by | May 18, 2009 | Blog | 3 comments


I first saw this book feature in the fairytales/folktales section of our local library and immediately recognized the name – Jama Rattigan. I was pretty excited to see this book since I have visited Jama’s blog, alphabet soup. Both Holly and I enjoy reading her blog entries. She also wrote a book called Dumpling Soup, which I have not had a chance to check out yet, but hope to soon.

I was definitely intrigued by the idea of a book about the Woman in the Moon, I was familiar with the man in the moon, but this was new story to me. From the book,

On nights when the moon is round and full, some say that man lives in the moon. But in the islands of Hawai’i, where the gentle winds tell stories from ancient times, the children know that it is not a man in the moon. A woman lives there, and her name is Hina.

I just loved this tale about how Hina became the woman in the moon and about her tapa cloth making skills. Tapa for those of you who might not know (I didn’t), is cloth made out of the bark of the mulberry tree.  Tapa is then painted with intricate designs and used as clothing or even wall hangings in some areas.

Hina is Hawai’i’s most talented tapa maker and in high demand. Unfortuntely her husband does not help in the way he is supposed and Hina grows weary of all the demands placed on her to make tapa and provide food for her husband. Rather than live an unhappy life, she decides to search for new home to live in peace and make tapa. Most particularly because she wants to be able to do things that women are not allowed to do like eat fresh coconut, roast pork and golden ripe bananas. Eventually she climbs a moonbow to reach the moon.

I really liked this story and so did my daughter especially the illustrations by Carla Golembe. Golembe’s style of painting is one I particularly like with bold colors and striking scenes. I also liked that while Hina was not happy,  she found her own home and once again was happy. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes folktales as this one is a fascinating story one worth reading over and over again.

What some things that make you happy and or how do we determine our own happiness?

Jama Rattigan’s website and her blog jama rattigan’s alphabet soup

Carla Golembe’s website

This review is part of Cari’s Diversity Rocks! challenge


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