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Camille Naluai

The book Molokaʻi takes us on a journey of sadness, love, regret, hope, and despair. Set in Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i, it takes the reader on a lifelong journey filled with characters as familiar as any you could ever meet. There is one exception; they all have a horrible and deadly disease.

Rachel, a 6-year-old Native Hawaiian, is diagnosed with “leprosy” and taken away from her family to live in Kalaupapa. The one shining ray of hope in this abrupt change in location is Rachel’s Uncle Pono who had been living in Kalaupapa as a patient for sometime.

The little girl learns at an early age that the bonds of family love often cannot withstand the weight of a family’s shame. Although the book is fiction and based on true events, you can’t help but think of Rachel as a real person.

This isn’t the type of book you pick up and read if you are trying to do research or learn more about history. Instead, this is a book to just enjoy and take from it what you will.