Scenes of Kaua'i                                                                    


Hawaii Like You've
Never Read about It Before

Call: (855) 279-7253
Kapaa, HI 96746-1521

  The Kauai Made Products seal is awarded to products unique to Kauai, using Kauai products and made on the island. Kauai born and raised, Bill Fernandez writes memoirs and novels set in the islands and featuring native Hawaiian heroes while sitting in the house his mother bought with her pineapple cannery earnings in the 1920s. 

Hawaii in War and Peace

Kirkus Reviews: 

"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 15-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, Hawai'i remained at unrest: a labor union--on hold due to implementation of martial law--

 launched  a worker's 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 ini disarray, both during and after the war. WW II 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 bathrooms 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."  (Emphasis added)


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 idyllic 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.  (Emphasis added)

                                                                            -------------------------------------------------------------- reviews:

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


Kauai Kids in Peace and WW Two  

Hawaii  Book Blog:

"Fernandez does a magnificent job...recalling the details of his childhood...hard not to smile reading descriptions of how toys and

games were crafted through resourceful childhood imagination...well written...providing a strong sense of setting...Many of these

tales of innocence are punctuated with life lessons...The second the midst of World War II...the downed Zero pilot...who landed

on Niihau...terrorized the intriguing memoir...crafts a tale of rich memories and unique experiences...perpetuating the history

of Kapaa and Kauai."   (Emphasis added)


Reader review: "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 way that the bombing of Pearl Harbor severely affected island life, bringing GIs, bomb

 shelters, curfews, rationing, and the threat of Japanese-American internment to the paradise of  Kaua'i."  (Emphasis added)


Reviewed by Publishers Weekly:

 "In this candid memoir, Hawaii native Fernandez (Rainbows Over Kapaa) describes his hometown and the effects of the war on his

 childhood on the ethnically diverse island of Kauai. 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...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."  (Emphasis added)


 Stanford Alumni Review:

 "When he was still a boy, Fernandez's native Kauai 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 every-present threat of internment." 

               Stanford Alumni Review, "Shelf Life", onlilne version, Sept-Oct, 2016 (Emphasis added)


Author and Creative Writing Teacher, Bill Bernhardt:

 "Kauai Kids is a delightful memoir by a talented writer with a genuine gift for capturing the spirit of a time long past.

 Bill Fernande 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 (Emphasis added)


The Cult of Ku

 "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 WW Two and other hanabata-day memoirs, tackles fiction with "Cult of Ku:

A Hawaiian Murder Mystery". This time the settinig 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...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 Hawaii's upper crust during the early 20th century." 

            Honolulu Star-Advertiser Newspaper Review (Emphasis added)


Kirkus Reviews

"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 throughtout 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 (Emphasis added)


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 behind the ritualistic killilngs and the Cult of Ku."

              Stanford Alumni Reviews: "Shelf Life", online version. Sept-Oct 2016 (Emphasis added).

                                                            --------------------------------------------- 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 Hawaii's sugar cane growers...and encouraging ethnic disharmony." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crime  &  Punishment  in  Hawai'i

"Bill Fernandez's weaving together of adventure and Hawaiian history is nothing short of brilliant. Highly recommended. 

This is a terrific novel!"

                         Bill Bernhardt, author of the Ben Kincaid series. (Emphasis added).


Kirkus  Reviews:

"An attorney finds trouble in paradise in this crime novel set in 1930s diving with his friend [who] is killed...Kingsley

is left wih an enemy who vows to harm his family...the local news is abuzz with...a different case...The wife of an officer in the U.S.

Navy claims she was raped by local men...the Massie Affair...trials would bring attention to racial unrest on the islands...combines the

factual and the fictional and seasons them with healthy doses of gunfire and Hawaiian history. While Kingsley and his family are

invented, the Massie Affair is a real event...vivid picture of discord in what the uninformed might assume was a tropical wonderland

before the attack on Pearl Harbor...this book delivers plenty of enticing history."  (Emphasis added)   


John Tana, an  Adventure  Novel  of  Old  Hawai'i, a trilogy

Kirkus  Reviews:

"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...the striking ending is not tidy, a plus...For the setting and

era alone, the ripping adventure yarn offers sufficient rewards."   (Emphasis added)


Gods, Ghosts and Kahuna on Kauai, Book Two of the John Tana Trilogy

Kirkus Reviews: 

"The handsome resourceful Hawaiian John Tana is back...set in 19th c. Hawaii. John has fled the corruption and dangers of

He's lost his great love, Leinani, but...marries a good woman...the evil, powerful sugar baron Robert Grant is still his sworn enemy, and Hawaii

is at a political tipping point...the end of the Kingdom of Hawaii...complicated by...racial tensions...John has converted to Christianity, but...

others still follow the old religion, gods, and superstitions...a festering wound....As a Hawaiian, he wants the respect that he feels he deserves.

..he gets it and begins to prosper...bits of derring-do are well-done...[The author] introduces the reader to Hawaiian history and by Judith Fernandez that lend an effectively primitive charm to the story and bring to mind Antoine de Saint-

Exupery's sketches for The Little Prince."


Hawaiian  Rebellions,  Book Three of the John Tana Trilogy

Kirkus Reviews:

"...historical fiction series starring a 19th-century Hawaiian freedom fighter...old loves endure, and familiar hatreds flare."

" installment of trilogy...wife...terrified by threats of old native religion...danger is real...kidnapped...severely

traumatized...mother and son escape to a beautiful valley...that the lepers have made their safety in this Eden...

the author keeps the plot moving briskly and believably...John is a well-rounded character...action scenes are Fernandez's

forte...broken revolutions are well-handled...tension between John's Christianity and the native religion...trapped between the world...and the realm...he was born into and that will always be pulling at him...The whole trilogy is worth a read."

Reader Reviews:

"You made me interested in reading fiction again! I couldn't put the book down."  Joe

"Your book was wonderful, Bill. The pace was so fast I couldn't put it down. I've thought about John Tana's life so much

since I read it. You really made it all come to life for your reader. Everyone on Hawaii should read it...I've recommended the whole series to several

people. Keep going, Bill. You're truly good at it."     Donna

   SPLINTERED PADDLE, a novel of Kamehameha the Great


"A historical novel...stars a fierce yet tenderhearted young warrior determined to bring security to his family...1790...sent by his attend

...military training academy...daunting challenges...makes one fast friend...and one very dangerous enemy...entangled in a risky romantic

liason that will cost him tale, Bill Fernandez...has done his research...narrative is rich in small details of island life before

the impact of Western civilization...endless intrigue...action-packed adventure,  a wealth of rich historical and cultural minutiae,                                                         and an engaging protagonist."   

(Emphasis added) 2019

Reader Reviews:

"...superb would be an understatement...deep knowledge of the history, context, cultural tapestry and chivalry...captured the soul of..

.characters and woven them into a thematic whole that is truly truly moved me...the text and subtext are truly inspiring

...Your books are an indelible legacy to your very existence."    D. Bal, Kaua'i