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Escape to Hawaii

Updated on November 7, 2015
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

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Hawaii for Teachers & Travelers

Aloha! Are you looking for scenic video clips, fun worksheets, and entertaining children's books for escaping to Hawaii? Included are links to wonderful YouTube videos, worksheets, book suggestions for children, and more -- all related to the state of Hawaii! Whether you're dreaming of a summer tropical paradise getaway to Hawaii or looking for teaching ideas on Hawaii, you've come to the right place!

Orchids image credit:
Orchids image credit:

What Makes This State Special: Orchids, Macadamia Nuts, Cacao Beans, and Vanilla

Big Island is the world's leading producer of orchids & macadamia nuts. It is also the only place in America where cacao beans (chocolate) & vanilla are grown.

Pineapple Image Credit:
Pineapple Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Pineapples

Hawaii produces over 1/3 of the world's pineapples. Lanai used to have the world's largest pineapple plantation.

Kilauea Image Credit:
Kilauea Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Volcanoes

Kilauea is the world's largest & most active volcanoes. It has been erupting continuously since 1983.

Pearl Harbor Image Credit:
Pearl Harbor Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, a lagoon harbor on the island of O'ahu, is most well-know for the surprise military attack on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the top tourist destinations in Hawaii.

Our Favorite Book on Pearl Harbor

"The Attack on Pearl Harbor" (Disasters in History) by Jane Sutcliffe was our favorite picture book on Pearl Harbor. My boys loves this comic book style account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They learned almost as much from it as they would have from a longer chapter book. We also enjoyed "Pearl Harbor" (Ready To Read Level 3) by Stephen Krensky.

Sea Turtle Image Credit:
Sea Turtle Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: The Animals

Hawaii has developed a unique fauna due to an absence of natural predators. Only 2 known native mammals, the monk seal and the hoary bat, can occasionally be spotted. In Hawaii more bird species have become extinct than anywhere else in the entire world. Underwater there are about 680 fish species & 40 species of sharks. Find out more at

Our Favorite Books on Marine Life of Hawaii

Our overall favorite book was the very simple picture book, "What am I? A Hawaii Animal Guessing Game" by Daniel Harrington. Also look for "DK Readers: Shark Attack!" by Cathy East Dubowski, "Sand to Sea: Marine Life of Hawaii" by Stephanie Feeney, "Baby Honu's Incredible Journey" by Tammy Yee, and "Baby Honu Saves The Day" by Tammy Yee.

Queen Lili'uokalani Image Credit:
Queen Lili'uokalani Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Royalty

Polynesians were the first settlers of Hawaii. At various points in history the Russian, French, and British all laid claim to the islands. Eventually America took control of Hawaii despite the pleas by Hawaii's last native ruler, Queen Lili'uokalani.

Favorite Books on Hawaii's History

"The Last Princess : The Story of Princess Ka'iulani of Hawai'i" by Fay Stanley is one of the books at the top of my list when studying Hawaii. It is a longer picture book but is absolutely fascinating and has wonderful illustrations! Also look for "Kamehameha: The Boy Who Became A Warrior King" by Ellie Crowe, "Hawaii, Gem of the Pacific" (Landmark Chapter Books) by Oscar Lewis, "Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased" by Amy Novesky (a picture book), and "Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii, 1889" (Royal Diaries Chapter Book) by Ellen Emerson White.

Iolani Palace Image Credit:
Iolani Palace Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: A Royal Palace

The only royal palace in America is Iolani Palace. It is located in Honolulu and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the capital city.


What Makes This State Special: Hula

Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance form. It usually dramatizes a story.

Hula Dancing

Our Favorite Resources on Hula Dancing

"The Story of Hula" by Carla Golembe is a neat picture book that includes the history of hula dancing and what it looks like today. It also includes a CD! Also look for the fun picture books "Legend of the Hula Moose" and "Maile and the Huli Hula Chicken." If you would like a compilation of Hawaiian music that includes hula music, we most enjoyed "Hawaiian Playground" produced by Putumayo Presents.

Surfing Image Credit:
Surfing Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Surfing

1/3 of Hawaii's best surfing beaches are on Oahu, which is the most visited island in Hawaii.

Our Favorite Books on Surfing

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe is a great picture book biography on Duke Kahanamoku, who was considered the father of modern surfing. Also look for "Rhinos Who Surf" by Julie Mammano. It is a very short, cute picture book that includes vocabulary used by surfers. Other good picture books about surfing include "Story of Surfing" by Carla Golembe, "My Daddy Taught Me to Surf" by Joseph Tomarchio, "Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty" by Lisa Pliscou, "Surf's Up For Kimo" by Kerry Germain, and "Moki and the Magic Surfboard: A Hawaiian Fantasy" by Bruce Hale.

Oahu's Wind Towers Image Credit:
Oahu's Wind Towers Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Wind Power

Oahu is home to the world's largest wind generator. The tower itself is 20 stories high.

What Makes This State Special: Sea Cliffs & Waterfalls

Maui has the world's highest sea cliffs & the state's longest waterfall.

Honolulu Image Credit:
Honolulu Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: The Largest City

Honolulu is the largest city in the world according in terms of border length because it includes all unnamed islands within the Hawaiian Archipelago. That makes Honolulu almost 1,500 miles long -- which is a length more than halfway across the 48 contiguous states.

Looking for Family-Friendly Movies on Hawaii?

Some great family-friendly movies that are specifically related to Hawaii include "Princess Kaiulani", "Lilo & Stitch", "Blue Hawaii" (with Elvis), "Peal Harbor" by the History Channel, and "Hawaii" (with Julie Andrews).

Hawaii's State Flag

Great Children's Books on Hawaii

Best Books for Babies & Toddlers

Good Night Hawaii (Good Night Our World)
Good Night Hawaii (Good Night Our World)

Also look for "Diving for Fun in Hawaii, A Touch-and-Feel book" by Johann Bosgra, "My Day at the Beach in Hawaii" by Dennis Fujitake, "Baby's First 1-2-3 in Hawaii" by Jon J. Murakami, "Mo'o's Colors" by Tammy Yee, "Hawaiian Alphabet" by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and "Too Many Mangos" by Tammy Paikai.


Favorite Picture Books on Hawaii

In addition the books that I listed above under specific categories (surfing, Pearl Harbor, etc.), also look for "Goodnight Hawaiian Moon" by Dr. Carolan, "The Hawaii Snowman", "Froggy Goes to Hawaii" by Jonathan London, and "Luka's Quilt" by Georgia Guback. We also loved "How to Draw Hawaii's Sights and Symbols" which isn't a picture book. It's a great book that combines Hawaii's geography with easy art lessons.

Favorite Books on Hawaiian Tales & Legends

Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man
Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man

Also look for "Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai'i" by Gerald McDermott, "Pele and the Rivers of Fire" by Michael Nordenstrom, "Menehune and the Nene" (Treasury of Children's Hawaiian Stories) by Susan Yamashita, and "Snow White and the Seven Menehune" by Donivee Martin Laird.

A is for Aloha: A Hawai'i Alphabet
A is for Aloha: A Hawai'i Alphabet

This is my favorite series on individual states. Each page has a simple rhyme concerning the word starts with that letter and then includes a bit more about that particular regional animal, location, etc. It provides a wonderful overview of what makes each state unique. Both modern and historical aspects of the state are includes. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful!


Good Chapter Books Related to Hawaii

If you need more options, look for "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board", "The Secret of the Golden Pavilion" (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories) by Carolyn Keene, "Junie B., First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! (Junie B. Jones, No. 26)", and "Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet" by Graham Salisbury.

Good Chapter Books Related to Hawaii

High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House 28)
High Tide in Hawaii (Magic Tree House 28)

This is a great for early readers and also makes a wonderful bedtime reading story!


Helpful Worksheets and Lapbook Pages on Hawaii

Hawaii's State Quarter

Great Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages on Hawaii

All About Hawaii provides great links to printable worksheets, book suggestions, and activity ideas about Hawaii.

Hawaii for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.

Volcanoes Unit Study contains a unit study with lapbook pages, activities, and book suggestions on volcanoes.

Lapbook for "The Island Below the Star" includes free lapbook pages and activity ideas for "The Island Below the Star" by James Rumford.

Hawaii State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about Hawaii. The site also includes a number of helpful worksheets, links, and information.

Family-Friendly Video Clips Giving an Overview of Hawaii

Free Tour of Hawaii

Hawaii starts at 17:59

Where is Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii?

Honolulu, Hawaii:
Honolulu, HI, USA

get directions

I have not been to Hawaii. Have you?

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Have you been to Hawaii yet? Did I miss any great resources on Hawaii? - Or just let me know you dropped by. I LOVE getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @Kumar P S: Thank you!

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 

      7 years ago

      Amazing place ! Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @Liveliferead LM: Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • Liveliferead LM profile image

      Liveliferead LM 

      7 years ago

      Awesome pictures, one of my dreams is to visit Hawai and surf :)

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @efriedman: Yes, it does look beautiful!

    • efriedman profile image


      7 years ago

      Have only seen Hawaii for 2 days many years ago. Would love to go back

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @Millionairemomma: Thank you! I haven't been to Hawaii yet, but it sounds like an amazing tropical paradise!

    • Millionairemomma profile image


      7 years ago

      My homeland. This is a great guide for people who want to travel to Hawaii. Is it one of your favorite places?

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @rt8ca: Thank you!

    • rt8ca profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent videos, especially liked the USS Arizona clip. Thanks for sharing!

    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida

      @driveindustries: Thank you for the suggestion to add the Bishop Museum. It looks like a fun museum! I added a YouTube Video about it under the History of Hawaii section.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. Don't forget that the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is the best place to learn about the different cultures that became the Hawaiian Islands. And thanks for visiting our lens on planning a backyard luau. Mahalo!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      I've been to Hawaii once, and would love to go back. Thanks for featuring my Hawaii Quiz lens.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 

      7 years ago

      great destination for sure.. one day .. . . . . :)

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      7 years ago

      This is a fantastic and very comprehensive lens about Hawaii! The plate tectonics lesson plan will come in handy with our 4th graders when we teach that unit in Science. You did a great job of decribing all there is to see and do in Hawaii - mahalo nui loa (thank you very much)!


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