Author Bill Fernandez tells tales of Hawaii at the Menlo Park Library

by Scott Loftesness on May 1, 2010

I’m at the Menlo Park Library this morning along with a full room of other folks who are all here for author Bill Fernandez‘ talk about his book Rainbows Over Kapa’a.

Bill is half-Hawaiian and writes about 200 years of Hawaiian history. Born in Kauai in the town of Kapa’a, he is now retired and writing a series of novels from the indigenous native Hawaiian point of view.

Bill tells the story about how his town is on swampy land that the rich weren’t interested in. In the 1800’s, the Hawaiian kings allowed private property ownership, open immigration, and negotiated a reciprocity treaty with the United States that opened the market for sugar in exchange for rights to Pearl Harbor. Once the market for Hawaiian sugar exports expanded, demand grew, more labor was needed, more immigrants arrived, and so on.

Along the way, Bill tells his parents’ story – how his Mom and Dad met at the silent movies in Kapa’a when his Dad’s traveling movie show hit town. In 1939, his Dad opened the Roxy Theatre in town which would have failed financially had it not been for the war and all of the troops that arrived on the island.

I really enjoyed listening to Bill’s tales of Hawaii – and his singing! He’s got a wonderful voice for Hawaiian chants and songs – and that included leading us as a group in singing out! What fun! Learn more about Bill on his website – or join him on Facebook. Kepler’s sells Bill’s book, Rainbows Over Kapa’a – a real Hawaiian memoir. Today’s program was sponsored by the Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

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