Books teach lessons from Hawaiian culture

  • Contributed by Ann Hettinger

    Owners Ann Hettinger and Lahela Correa hold up their different books up for sale now online.

  • Contributed by Heather Cornell

    Second-grader Kinley Holohan of Kilauea School is holding her award winning poem about peace up at Anahola Beach with her teacher Heather Cornell.

  • Contributed by Ann Hettinger

    A student from Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) public charter school is enjoying her copy of the second edition of the book.

HANALEI – The second edition of lessons in aloha has been released by the Aloha Publishing Hawaii, a company out of Hanalei, with artwork and writings from Kaua‘i students included.

Entitled “Aloha — What it Means to My Ohana”, the book is compiled and published by the two owners of Aloha Publishing Hawaii, Ann Hettinger and Lahela Chandler Correa.

They started publishing the books in 2015, each filled with 14 lessons on the concept of aloha, incorporating activities, illustrations, cultural teachings and Hawaiian words in each lesson. Lessons are created to encourage integrity, creativity, innovative thinking, discussion, and hands-on learning on your own, at home or in the classroom. They’ve sold more than 20,000 copies since then.

“These books give kids a great place to explore meaningful topics in a fun way,” said Hettinger. “They offer a blueprint for children, that teaches character and culture within themselves in a fun, creative fashion. It enables them to have a voice and teaches them to express it in a positive way.”

Books are distributed at Kaua‘i schools for a discount, and educators say their students look for representation in the pages. Included in the books are works from students at Hanalei Elementary School, Koloa Elementary School, Wilcox Elementary School, Kekaha Elementary School and Kalaheo Elementary School.

“What a blessing to receive an entire school set of the books… our teachers received a great professional development that facilitated their immediate use in the classroom with the students,” said Erik Burkman, principal of Kalaheo Elementary School. “Lessons from these books have also been used by our Kumu to assist in the teaching and learning of Hawaiian values.”

He continued: “Our school is always looking for ways to build and nurture our Hawaii lens through which we communicate, teach, and shape our learning environment.”

Heather Cornell, a second-grade teacher at Kilauea Elementary School, said her student Kinley Holohan was happy to see her award-winning poem about peace published in the book.

Aloha Publishing Hawaii i is keeping the Kaua‘i lessons passed down from generation to generation going by publishing their second edition of the book called “Aloha – What it Means to My Ohana.”

Ann Hettinger is a running coach and a women’s adventure guide who has lived on Kaua‘i for more than 20 years, which made her appreciate the Hawaiian culture and the local generational lessons that she’s seen passed down. She teamed up with local resident Lahela Chandler Correa, who was born and raised in Wainiha Valley where she and her family farmed kalo.

These two women from different backgrounds came together to create Aloha Publishing Hawaii with a mission to produce books that teach students the old traditional values of Hawai‘i by focusing on the importance of the “aloha spirit.”

“The word ‘aloha’ grounds me, it reminds me of the person I strive to be,” said Correa.

Hettinger added: “The books are based on the lessons of aloha as taught to Lahela Correa by her parents and all the generations before her. For Lahela, ‘aloha’ is not just a word, it has a deeper meaning that is endless.”

Hettinger said it is their mission to perpetuate that message as long as possible.

“Aloha is a way of life. This is who we are, we live it, we breathe it every day of our lives,” said Correa. “Aloha means that when we meet someone they are greeted with (the) utmost kindness. When we offer to do something, nothing is expected in return and when we share, we give freely.”

Hettinger said it is an honor to help Correa in sharing the lessons in the book such as “Aloha is kindness,” and “Aloha is Kuleana.”

“These are the basic human values that we strive to achieve ourselves and teach our children to help generate peace, love, and acceptance for each other and around the world,” said Hettinger.

Working with local talent is also a priority for Correra and Hettinger — all of the artwork is from artists on Kaua‘i and books are printed on O‘ahu. Nothing is outsourced, according to the duo.

“Given what we are experiencing now with COVID it is now more important than ever that we support local businesses and industries so that we are not as dependent upon tourism,” said Hettinger. “We have many incredibly talented people in our islands, let’s employ them.”

“Aloha — What it Means to My Ohaha” retails for $12.95 at Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, and through the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua‘i.

“We will do whatever it takes to work with the teachers. One teacher said she didn’t have the funds, so I and Lahela knocked on doors until we were able to purchase them for that teacher,” said Hettinger. “We will find a way to make it happen.”


Stephanie Shinno, can be reached at 245-0424 or


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