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Hawaii Book & Music Festival returns this weekend. What to see. What to buy.

Hawaii_Book_Music_Festival_what_see_buyHawaii authors and book publishers are getting some serious recognition this month, and it has nothing to do with getting their titles on the Amazon.com Kindle or the Apple iPad.

A couple of weeks back, the Hawaii Book Publishers Association handed out prizes to winners of its annual Ka Palapala Pookela Awards, which honor the best Island books of the last year. (Translated from Hawaiian, the award’s name means “excellent manuscript.”) And returning to Honolulu this Saturday and Sunday is the 5th annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival—an outdoor one-stop shopping marketplace showcasing the breadth of literature and music created and published here in Hawaii.

Hawaii is home to one of the country’s strongest and most vibrant regional publishing markets—annually producing dozens of titles, ranging from cookbooks and childrens’ books, to authoritative guidebooks, biographies and coffee table-sized photo books, and fiction in all genres. Books published here often have the good fortune of finding comparable success with residents and visitors alike.

The Hawaii Book & Music Festival is annually the largest gathering of Hawaii-based book publishers, authors and music distributors. With 10 pavilions and stages, the family-friendly festival offers up book readings, kids activities, entertainment and more than two-dozen publisher and bookseller booths. Admission and parking are free. And all of it takes place under the many shade trees of the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds at Honolulu Hale—easily reachable by city bus lines from Waikiki.

Hawaii_Book_Music_Festival_what_see_buyIf you’re looking to take home a few Hawaii book souvenirs, the fest is a great place to meet the authors in-person, or catch them doing readings or participating in panel discussions. For Hawaii residents, the ever-popular Book Swap and CD Swap tents (sponsored by Bank of Hawaii and Outrigger Hotels & Resorts) offer a chance to trade in items from your current collection for something new.

Other Book & Music Fest stuff we’d recommend checking out include:

• The Hawaiian Culture and Language Pavilion. The Alana Hawaiian Culture Program (alana means “awakening" in Hawaiian) will feature panel discussions and presentations on the evolution of Hawaiian culture, including hula and contemporary chant, throughout both days.

• The Authors’ Pavilion. Over the fest’s two days, the pavilion will feature in-person appearances by more than a dozen notable authors including Dan Kois (Israel Kamakawiwoole’s ‘Facing Future’), Duane “Dog” Chapman (Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given) and Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants).

• Sunset Kani Ka Pila Concert. A concert featuring contemporary Hawaii music acts Mailani, Sean Naauao and Maunalua. From 6 to 8 p.m., Saturday.

Hawaii_Book_Music_Festival_what_see_buyFinally, we’d be seriously remiss if we didn’t put in a book fest plug for a member of our own family: Stop by HAWAII Magazine sister company Watermark Publishing's booth on both days to peruse its wide selection of books covering a broad range of Hawaii topics. Watermark took home four prizes at this year's Ka Palapala Pookela Hawaii book awards, including Book of the Year (Ben: A Memoir, from Street Kid to Governor by Benjamin J. Cayetano), Hawaiian Culture Book of the Year (Wayfinding through the Storm: Speaking Truth to Power at Kamehameha Schools by Gavan Daws and Nā Leo o Kamehameha) and Cookbook of the Year (Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura). Congrats!

The 5th Annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival happens from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 at the Frank F. Fasi Civic Grounds at Honolulu Hale at Punchbowl and King Streets.

For more information—including a downloadable copy of this year’s program guide—visit the Hawaii Book & Music Festival website.

Want to put together a shopping list of great books to buy at the fest, before you go? Click forward to the next page for a complete list of 2010 Ka Palapala Pookela Hawaii book award winners:

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Weekend fest celebrates Hawaii books and music
Hawaii Book & Music Festival spotlights best-selling authors, Islands-inspired music
Getting a read on this weekend's Hawaii Book & Music Festival
Hawaii Book & Music Festival returns to Honolulu. What to see. What to buy.

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