Fifty States Of Fiction: Hawaii


We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!


Today’s State: Hawaii

Nickname: Aloha State

Motto: “The Life of the Land Is Perpetuated in Righteousness”

Bird: Hawaiian goose

Flower: Hibiscus

Entered the union in: 1959

Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Hawaii as Graham Salisbury portrays it in Under The Blood-Red Sun.


In 1941 Tomi is proud to call Hawaii home. He lives with his family in a small, stilt-legged dark green house on the Wilson’s property in Honolulu. During the day he hikes through the trees to the grassy field where his father keeps racing pigeons. After school, Tomi and his best friend meet at diamond grass, a green field in between their houses, to practice baseball. Eventually, Billy even joins Tomi on his father’s fishing boat for a two-day trip. They sail out of Kewalo Basin and head for the open seas to catch yellowfin tuna and bask in the sun. But when December hits and the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Tomi’s Japanese heritage turns his life upside down. He scampers up the banyan tree with Billy and watches as smoky clouds cover the sky above the harbor in darkness. Suddenly Tomi finds himself burying the relics of his parents’ culture in the backyard and hiding his family’s katana in a rotten log. He risks a dangerous swim all the way to Sand Island just to catch a glimpse of his father, one of many Japanese men who are quickly arrested in the panic following the attack. Honolulu is a good place, but how will Tomi survive when his father, an innocent man, is shipped off to the mainland?

Have you read any other books set in Hawaii? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what the Aloha State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Idaho through literature.

And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.

See you all next week!


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