Thursday, June 16, 2016

You Never Know

A corollary to “Why Not?” in my April 17, 2016 posting is “You Never Know.”  You might as well do it because you never know where your efforts may lead.

So, with this in mind, last week, I decided to put up three more books on Amazon in a print-on-demand format. Each book has, I think, a “you-never-know” feel about it. Perhaps the book will take off. 

The first one is is a color version of my companion guide to From the Good Mountain. You can find out more about this book on my website here: 

Why go to the trouble of making a color version? It isn’t as if people interested in making books in the fifteenth century are beating down the door to get a copy in black and white. No, not that at all. It has happened that a Korean publisher has purchased the rights to translate the book into Korean and, what is more, the publisher would only do it if the book were in color. So, with an attitude of “why not?” I sent the digital color files to Seoul. Who knew that Koreans would be interested in this book? Then I thought: who knows? Maybe English speakers might also be interested in a color version.

Here are a few pages from the color version. Yes, it is a bit more expensive, but you never know. Maybe it will attract more customers.

The next book I made available on Amazon is Mango Rain. I tried and failed to get American publishers interested in the book. So, I translated it into Portuguese and sent it to a publisher in São Paulo, Brinque Book. After ten or so years, the book is still in print and doing quite well. It won an award and is part of the school curriculum. 

Mango Rain is about creativity. It tells of a little boy named Thomas who spies a bottle cap on a ground. Such an insignificant thing, but to Thomas, the bottle cap blossoms into an idea: Thomas will make his own toy car. The book draws on the metaphore of a mango tree. As the tree blossoms and bears fruit which slowly ripen in the hot African sun, Thomas collects what he needs, and with the help of his father, builds a toy car.  

This Thomas is the same Thomas many American children have already met in my book Rain School, now part of many school curricula. 

So, maybe my publishing Mango Rain, in English may attract many of the same readers. You never can tell.

The last book is Kahalaopuna, a traditional Hawaiian story of pono righteousness and aloha mercy. It tells of a beautiful maiden and her jealous suitor. In this Othello-like tale, the suitor winds up as part of the ridge on Mānoa Valley’s southeast side. I can see his outline from my kitchen window.

In 2001, I turned the traditional tale into an illustrated children’s book as part of the efforts of the residents of Mānoa Valley to prevent the electric company from erecting huge high-tension poles on Wa‘ahila Ridge. The sale of the book was to help off-set the legal costs involved in confronting Hawaiian Electric. In small part because of the book, in large part because of the efforts of the people of this valley and of the organization Mālama Mānoa, Hawaiian Electric decided to forego installing the poles.

A few weeks ago, a church in the valley asked me to come and read my story (which I’ll do tomorrow). They were disappointed to find out that the 2001 book is out-of-print. Last week, I decided to make it available once again. This time I turned it into a bilingual book, fixed up some of the images digitally, and put it up for sale on Amazon. I thought, once again, why not? And besides, I can’t know where this book will take me next.