Several Punahou alumni and faculty have published books in the past two years that span a variety of genres and subjects. Here’s a roundup of some of their work.
Nicholas Abcede ’15
“The Night Light: A Horror Story”
Laura, a naive scientist, journeys to find out what the “Night Light” is. She thinks she already knows, but as she investigates the strange circumstances surrounding the mysterious phenomenon, she realizes she’s dealing with something not of this world. What follows is a whirlwind of cosmic horror and paranoia for Laura, as the research forces her to confront increasingly deep and disturbing questions.
Carl R. Ackerman (retired faculty)
“A Success Story in Public Education: The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou and Its Partnership-Marriage Methodology”
This work of nonfiction by Carl R. Ackerman tells the story of Punahou’s Clarence T.C Ching Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities (PUEO), a program that addresses the public purpose of an independent school. Ackerman founded the program in 2005, and PUEO now works with approximately 320 public school students from 94 public, charter and independent schools who demonstrate academic potential but limited economic opportunity.
Sara Ackerman ’84
“Red Sky Over Hawaii: A Novel”
Inspired by real places and events of World War II, the book immerses the reader in a time of American history full of suspicion and peril in this lush and poignant tale about the indisputable power of doing the right thing against all odds.
Jordan Barnes ’03
“One Hit Away: A Memoir of Recovery”
At the age of 24, Jordan Barnes ’03 woke up next to a lifeless body, rifled through his dead friend’s pockets for any remaining heroin and went right back to using. Strung out and homeless during the supposed best years of his life, there was no clear way out of the opioid crisis ravaging the streets of Portland, Oregon. After a harrowing journey, Barnes found himself at the gates of Sand Island Treatment Center. He soon discovers that the hardest battle of his life was yet to come. “One Hit Away,” which won Indies Today 2020 “Best Book of the Year” award, is his arduous and unlikely true story of recovery, rehabilitation and redemption.
Tom Boyle ’79
“Through the Water to the Sky” Volume 1
Named after the intense blue of the sky seen through a wave, this photo book series by notable surf photographer and former pro bodyboarder Tom Boyle ’79 chronicles the legendary rivalry between Hawai‘i-born world champion bodyboarders Mike Stewart and Ben Severson throughout the ’80s and ’90s. An award-winning photographer and filmmaker, Boyle helped pioneer high-performance bodyboarding and documented the sport from an intimate perspective from its inception. His first photograph was published in 1978 in Surfer Magazine, when he was a senior at Punahou.
Brian DeMare ’92
“Land Wars: The Story of China’s Agrarian Revolution”
Brian DeMare ’92 draws on new archival research to offer an updated and comprehensive history of Mao Zedong’s land reform campaigns to fundamentally transform the countryside. DeMare, an associate professor of history at Tulane University, argues that the reality was much more complex and brutal than is commonly understood.
Edited with annotations by David W. Forbes ’59
“The Diaries of Queen Liliuokalani of Hawai‘i, 1885 – 1900”
Published here for the first time, Queen Lili‘uokalani’s diaries, which she penned between 1885 and 1900, reveal her experience as heir apparent and monarch of the Hawaiian Islands. Collectively, the diaries, introduced, edited and annotated by David W. Forbes ’59, provide the reader with invaluable insights into Lili‘uokalani’s private life, thoughts and deeds during her rule as sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands; the overthrow of her government in 1893; her arrest, imprisonment, trial and abdication in 1895; and her efforts to avert the 1898 annexation of her beloved Islands to the United States.
Jane Marshall Goodsill ’71
“Voices of Hawai‘i: Life Stories from the Generation that Shaped the Aloha State”
“Voices of Hawai‘i” began as a labor of love. A kama‘āina accomplished in the art of oral history, Jane Marshall Goodsill ’71 began interviewing Island residents who had known her late father, a partner in a venerable Honolulu law firm. Taken together, these oral histories tell a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tale of Hawai‘i’s journey from the World War II era into the 21st Century. Featured Punahou alumni include Frankie Anderson ’48; Corky Bryan ’61; Jim Case ’37; Phillip Ching ’48; Gerry Ching ’53; Mary Cooke ’54; Peter Ehrman ’77; David Fairbanks ’58; Mark Fukunaga ’74; Jimmy Greenwell ’63; Alice Guild ’52; Peggy Hannan ’71; Stuart Ho ’53; James Hustace ’69; Daniel Lam ’01; David Lee ’67; Bob Liljestrand ’59; Robin Loomis ’51; Duncan MacNaughton ’62; Luanna McKenney ’56; Randy Moore ’57; Willson Moore ’46; John Morgan ’74; Mike O’Malley ’59; Valerie Ossipoff ’58; Diane Paton ’53; Martin Rabbett ’71; John Reppun ’70; Jim Scott ’70; Kelvin Taketa ’72; Bill Tam ’66; Laura Thompson ’43; and Carol Wilcox ’60.
Fred Hemmings ’65
“Can, No Can! Making Changes, Hawaiian-Style”
Longtime Hawai‘i State Senator and world champion surfer Fred Hemmings ’65 offers a calabash full of ideas for the future of the Islands, including a sprinkling of “random thoughts” and yes-or-no options from a local boy’s perspective. The book is a lively compilation of Hemmings’s essays, letters, legislation, statements to the press and news clips, including hot-button items that are still relevant today. “I always have believed that there are good solutions to Hawai‘i’s problems, and that there’s usually a better way to do things,” Hemmings said.
Stephen Kagawa ’79
“Aloha Financial Advising: Doing Good to Do Better for Your Clients and Yourself”
Drawing on personal experience, Stephen Kagawa ’79 shows financial advisors how to shift the focus away from products and services and back to those they serve. Whether new to the industry or a 20-year veteran, the new set of priorities laid out in this book will help financial advisors deal with the pressure to sell, avoid going astray to chase money, and create alignment with clients.
Kimberly Kay Au ’84 Kau
“Tapestry: Entering the Presence of the Lord”
Kimberly Kay Au ’84 Kau invites readers to come to a place of renewal, refreshment and rest, and trade feelings of anxiety and worry for joy and peace. This original collection of poems and Scripture meditations was created to nourish the body, soul and spirit.
Tae Keller ’11
“When You Trap a Tiger”
Tae Keller ’11 won the prestigious 2021 Newbery Award for this work of fiction for young adults. It tells the story of Lily and her family, who move in with her sick grandmother. A magical tiger straight out of her grandmother’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. In this coming-of-age tale, Lily must find her voice, and the courage to face a tiger.
Vicky Heldreich ’59 Durand Lilijestrand
“Wave Woman: The Life and Struggles of a Surfing Pioneer”
In middle age, Betty Pembroke Heldreich Winstedt followed her dream of living near the ocean. She moved to Hawai‘i, and at age 41, took up surfing. Betty was an Olympic hopeful, a pilot, a mother, a sculptor, a jeweler, a builder, a fisherwoman, an ATV rider and a potter who lived life her way, dealing with adversity and heartache on her own stoic terms. A love letter from a daughter to her larger-than-life mother, “Wave Woman” will speak to any woman searching for self-confidence, fulfillment and happiness.
John MacGregor ’87
“The Top 10 Reasons the Rich Go Broke”
After 25 years in the trenches, guiding thousands of individuals and small business owners, John MacGregor ’87 opens the vault to share 10 incredible stories that have the power to transform readers’ financial lives forever. This book answers why 78% of people are suffering from financial stress and anxiety; why 65% of people could not come up with $500 today for an emergency expense; why money is the No. 1 source of stress in our society; and why this problem is getting worse, not better.
Jim Mayfield ’92
“Goodnight Waikiki, Goodnight”
This children’s book is a whimsical, rhyming bedtime story set in Waikīkī, featuring the surf, sun, and Waikīkī’s many famous sights and sounds. Kids will enjoy the detailed illustrations, and the hidden creatures and objects as they wind down after a busy day.
Letitia Moffitt ’86
“Bird People: A Memoir”
After moving from New York City to rural Illinois, writer Letitia Moffitt ’86 met veterinarian Ken Welle. As she began to share more of her life with him, she realized this would also mean sharing her time with animals. Yet she never suspected how tense, terrifying and noisy those moments would be. Well loved birds, and he did not merely want to own them. He wanted them to fly free.
Susanna Moore ’63
“Miss Aluminum: A Memoir”
In 1963, after the death of her mother, 17-year-old Susanna Moore ’63 leaves her home in Hawai‘i with no money, no belongings and no prospects, to live with her Irish grandmother in Philadelphia. Her journey takes her from New York to Los Angeles, where she becomes a model and meets Joan Didion and Audrey Hepburn. She works as a script reader for Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, and is given a screen test by Mike Nichols. But beneath Miss Aluminum’s glittering fairytale surface lies the story of a girl’s insatiable hunger to learn and her anguished determination to understand the circumstances of her mother’s death.
Barack Obama ’79
“A Promised Land”
In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama ’79 tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency – a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
Anjoli Roy (Academy English teacher)
“Enter the Navel: For the Love of Creative Nonfiction”
Styled as a self-referencing cabinet of curiosities, this chapbook provides compounding insight into the navel. It is also a Rorschach for the genre of creative nonfiction. This text demands you be swayed to see what, in fact, is so good about looking at one’s own navel after all.
Bobbie Gibson ’58 Sandoz-Merrill
“Compelling Conversations with Dolphins and Whales in the Wild”
Hawai‘i-born author, therapist and parenting specialist Bobbie Gibson ’58 Sandoz-Merrill takes readers on her 10-year journey into the deep and personal world of wild dolphins and whales. It took her almost an entire decade of swimming with the cetaceans to believe they could communicate with her. But once she yielded to the idea that their messages were both deliberate and wise, she discovered the real magic was not in their ability to converse with her, but in the power of what they were saying.
Margo Leipua‘ala Sorenson (former faculty)
This children’s book will teach you that everyone is special no matter what your size is, and that good things will come if you continue to believe in yourself. Sorenson, author of more than 30 books, enjoys writing for young readers since she believes they are ready for new ideas and experiences, and they really enjoy “living” the lives of the characters in books.
Leonard Stanley ’48
“Adrian: A Lifetime of Movie Glamour, Art and High Fashion”
This book is a bright and vivacious look at the fashion, art and homes of one of the most celebrated fashion designers of the 20th Century. Adrian (1903 – 1959) designed costumes for over 150 Hollywood productions, including fabulous gowns worn by such iconic actresses as Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn. He then went on to found one of the most popular and influential fashion labels of the mid-20th Century, Adrian, Ltd. This is the first book on the famed fashion and costume designer to be published with the cooperation of his family, and it includes a treasure trove of never-before-seen images and anecdotes.
Phillip Swatek ’67
“The Marijuanistas of Maui: A Sojourn”
Many years before marijuana was legalized, industrialized, homogenized and regulated, hearty visionaries grew their plants in the wilderness of Hawai‘i. Outlaws by definition, they defied law enforcement, politicians, thugs, violent nature and a powerful criminal syndicate to create the nascent domestic marijuana industry. In this tale set in the 1980s, two Yalies and their friends attempt to harvest their crop and convey it to their broker in New York.
Eli Revelle Yano Wilson ’05
“Front of the House, Back of the House: Race and Inequality in the Lives of Restaurant Workers”
Two unequal worlds of work exist within the upscale restaurant scene of Los Angeles. White, college-educated servers operate in the front of the house – also known as the public areas of the restaurant – while Latino immigrants toil in the back of the house and out of customer view. In her book, Eli Revelle Yano Wilson ’05 shows us what keeps these workers apart, exploring race, class and gender inequalities in the food service industry.
Jaimee Wriston ’69
“How Not to Drown”
From WILLA Literary Award-winning author Jaimee Wriston ’69 comes a novel about a former celebrity model whose feral granddaughter turns her fiercely controlled life upside down. Wriston is a professor of English and creative writing at The State University of New York at Binghamton.