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  The Kaua'i Made Products seal is awarded to products unique to Kaua'i, using Kaua'i products and made on the island. These books are written by a Kaua'i resident, Bill Fernandez, about his life on the island, and were written sitting in the old house his mother bought with her pineapple cannery earnings.

Hawai'i in War and Peace

Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews:

BOOK REVIEW: A young teen at a Hawaiian military school near the end of World War II contemplates his future in Fernandez’s Hawai'i in War and Peace, the second book in his autobiographical series.


"After retiring in California, Fernandez’s father sent his 14-year-old, Hawaii-born son to military school in Honolulu. It was 1944, when the world was still at war. But even once the war was over, Hawaii remained at unrest: a labor union—on hold due to implementation of martial law—launched a workers’ strike, while a tsunami hit Kauai and Hilo.Fernandez, who’d experienced racism in Hawaii, toured the mainland U.S. with his family and found a nation with unbridled prejudices and discrimination. His father wanted him to study to be a lawyer, leaving Fernandez, who feared Hawaiians might have no future in their homeland, to consider his options. The author’s memoir is a riveting account of his experience in a world in disarray, both during and after the war. WWII is aptly displayed, particularly the pervasive fear of nuclear weapons as well as the worry of communists infiltrating America. But what makes the grandest impression is the more personal side of the narrative. Fernandez, for example, is Portuguese-Hawaiian, but his brown skin and surname lead some to mistake him for a Mexican, mistreating him accordingly. Similarly, his family witnessed a hotel clerk reject service for a Jewish couple after seeing the man’s last name. In Tennessee, Fernandez had to stop and think about which of the segregated restrooms he could use, while the situation in Mexico proved equally appalling: just the lighter-skinned citizens, it seems, had jobs or money. Particularly regaling are Fernandez’s descriptions of beaches surrounded by barbed-wire fences and fishing near the shore. Readers will be especially intrigued by events that brought Fernandez to his transformative decision to attend Stanford University.
Engrossing and identifiable."

Stanford Alumni Review:

"Bill Fernandez, '53, JD '55...As World War II was winding to a close, the author found himself in a strict military boarding school in Honolulu, the idylllic Hawaii of his childhood gone.  Read along as he faces the changing world and discovers who he is." 

Stanford Alumni Review "Shelf Life", online version. Sept-Oct, 2016.

                                                                Amazon.com  contains several reviews:

                             My favorite is by Len Edwards: "This is the best coming-of-age story I have ever read."

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Kaua'i Kids in Peace and W W II  (Click for Review)

Reviewed by: Kirkus Indie Review (Click on this)

Amazon.com

Reader review (April, 2013): "This book is truly a delight. If you've ever watched an eight-year-old boy getting himself into trouble and wondered, "What could he possibly have been thinking?", this book will provide insight. Growing up on The Garden Island as told through the eyes of a young boy will have you alternately laughing and crying. Bill Fernandez recounts stories of fishing, friendships, having little but sharing all, and the quest to find Santa Claus that took him and his pal through a burning sugar cane field. This book is a wonderful mixture of island history coupled with personal experience and that of an extended family. The author describes the importance of the ocean to Hawaiian culture. He tells of the ways that the bombing of Pearl Harbor serverely altered island life, bringing GIs, bomb shelters, curfews, rationing, and the threat of Japanese American internment to the paradise of Kaua'i."

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly  April 22, 2013:

"In this candid memoir, Hawai'i native Fernandez (Rainbows Over Kapa'a) describes his hometown and the effects of the war on his childhood on the ethnically diverse island of Kaua'i. The narrative, which weaves childhood adventures with historical references, begins in peacetime with Fernandez growing up blissfully unaware of global troubles outside of his island. On an island laden with natural beauty, people trust ancient beliefs in kahunas, spiritual experts with "magical powers that can shrivel your body or snatch your soul." Growing up surrounded by more than 20 ethnic groups, Fernandez explains "the Hawaiian way" of sharing "what you had with friends or strangers," though, "Unfortunately, this tendency to give without expectation of reward had led to Hawaiians living in poverty." Colorful recollections of learning how to swim, searching for a skyrocket-flying Santa Claus, learning about life while polishing shoes for American soldiers, and his parents' investment in a New York-style theater move the narrative forward. The latter half of the book depicts wartime changes in his hometown after the attack on Pearl Harbor: conflicts and tension between residents and their Japanese neighbors who feared internment; and the effect of soldiers in town. Though the chronology is sometimes confusing, this is an honest retelling of one native's experience during the war, and will be of particular interest to those interested in Hawaiian history."

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Stanford Alumni Review:

"When he was still a boy, Fernandez's native Kaua'i was effectively isolated, offering him a fantasy-like childhood. Pearl Harbor changed all of that, bringing not only the outside world but American GIs, military law and the ever-present threat of internment."

Stanford Alumni Review, "Shelf Life", online version, Sept-Oct, 2016.

 

Author and Creative Writing Teacher, Bill Bernhardt:

"Kaua'i Kids is a delightful memoir by a talented writer with a genuine gift for capturing the spirit of a time long past.  Bill Fernandez blends authentic history with tales of innocence maturing into wisdom in the Hawaiian Islands of the 1930s and 1940s. This story of childhood lost will resonate with readers of all ages and cultures."  May, 2013

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The Cult of Ku:

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Newspaper Review - May 29, 2016:

"Crime Novel Explores Racism and Class Strife in 1920s Honolulu" by Misty-Lynn Sanico:

"Kapaa native Bill Fernandez, author of Kaua'i Kids in Peace and War and other hanabata-day memoirs, tackles fiction with "Cult of Ku: A Hawaiian Murder Mystery". This time the setting is 1920s Honolulu, a town in transition to which his protagonist Grant Kingsley, a war hero and recent law school graduate, returns home. The scion of a wealthy sugar plantation family, Kingsley's status is challenged after his mother reveals on her deathbed that his real father might have been Native Hawaiian.

His racist grandmother works to disinherit him, and when she is found dead in an apparent human sacrifice, he is incarcerated as suspect No. 1. But when four more murders of wealthy Caucasian landowners occur, he is released. The murders, which Kingsley is determined to solve, fuel further social discord in a community already strained by racial tensions following the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom and the end of World War I.

Half-Hawaiian and a retired judge, Fernandez weaves ample doses of local history, culture and social issues into the story, sometimes at the expense of cohesion.

But overall, "Cult of Ku" is rich in setting and characters and provides a revealing portrait of race relations and the stigma of being a half-caste Hawaiian among Hawai'i's upper crust during the early 20th century."

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Kirkus Reiews

"Fernandez...incorporates Hawaiian history, folklore, and labor struggles into a 1920-set mystery packed with violence and murder...The depth of the author's historical knowledge is evident throughout this novel, and he offers many fascinating insights into the era...An edifying novel that explores cultural conflicts in Hawaii between the world wars." 

Kirkus Reviews, February, 2016.

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Stanford Alumni Review:

"Bill Fernandez, '53, JD '55...Hawaiian native history and the long-lasting effects of imperialism simmer beneath the surface in this Pacific murder mystery, with war hero Grant Kingsley racing to identify who's behiind the ritualistic killings and the Cult of Ku."

Stanford Alumni Reivew "Shelf Life:, online version.
Sept-Oct, 2016

                  

Amazon.com has several reviews.

"Wow. So many turns and twists. Kept me guessing until the end."

"Bill Fernandez brilliantly weaves the very real ruthless labor tactics of Hawai'i's sugar cane growers...and encouraging ethnic disharmony."

John Tana, An Adventure Novel of Old Hawai'i

"Set in 19th-century Hawaii, a historical novel stars a handsome young hero.

The story begins...when 17-year-old John Tana, an orphan, is thrown off his land by the evil sugar baron Robert Grant. John finds himself on the run, not only from Grant's henchmen, but also from the vengeful Capt. Julius Shaw and the murderous whaling crew...friends and relatives abound, including his beautiful cousin Leinani. He escapes to Maui with Shaw in hot but futile pursuit...eventually flee to Honolulu (Oahu). Along the way, readers meet...many, many others...a social backdrop that has the Caucasians (Americans) at the top of the heap, then the native Hawaiians, then the Chinese...The story chronicles a hatefully racist time and place, in which the Chinese, especially, live in fear of the next mob to bubble up. And don't forget missionary Christianity versus the native religion. John is adept at the ancient Hawaiian martial art of lua, which stands him in good stead as combat has become a crucial part of his daily survival. Fernandez...a native Hawaiian, is an authentic voice for John and the Pacific archipelago's turbulent history. Plot twists come thick and fast, and there is always the seductive undercurrent of John's love for Leinani, a romance that at times seems doomed. The author expertly moves the plot along...and the vivid and intriguing details of Hawaiian daily life in the 19th century ring true. At times, John's virtue and especially his fighting prowess test the reader's credulity, but the strinking ending is not tidy, a plus.

For the setting and era alone, this ripping adventure yarn offers sufficient rewards."

                                                                                          Kirkus Reviews, April 2017