By Rich Figel
On the current Career Changers TV episode, we have a segment about a Sea Life Park app for smart phones and tablets developed by a new local venture called Pass the Projects... which was started by David DeLuca, who is also the Director of Bess Press. If you have any books about Hawaii or local culture, chances are at least one of them was published by that company. I was given a copy of Pidgen To Da Max long before I moved here -- which brings up an interesting point that is often overlooked: books add to the allure of the islands and help market Hawaii to the world.
Sure, we often hear how TV shows like Lost or Hawaii Five-0 and movies shot in Hawaii can bump up tourism numbers. But what about all the non-fiction and children's books that are bought by visitors in local shops -- or online? Everything from Bruddah Iz to ukes and cute sea creatures have been exported to faraway places through print media. And now those traditional publishers are getting into digital adaptations, which could expand their markets even further.
Besides Bess Press's entry into digital (click here for our segment on that), there are some other CCTV "alumni" we've featured who are making the transition. Haleiwa publisher Kerry Germain recently announced that Island Paradise Publishing is making their award-winning children's picture books available on Kindle, iPad and other tablets. Those titles include her popular Kimo surfing series and Plenty Saimin, which was written by my friend Feng Feng Hutchins (met her in a playwriting workshop). Got relatives on the Mainland with keiki? Send them an app as a gift! Here's the link to Kerry's website.
Another friend of mine, Ellie Crowe, is having her children's book -- Hoku the Stargazer -- made into an app with music by local publisher Island Heritage. I'm also collaborating with Ellie on adapting the Hoku book into an animated TV series for pre-schoolers. It's essentially a Polynesian "Dora the Explorer" with the same kind of franchise/merchandising potential. But to make it happen, we need local animators who are willing to work on spec. Email me if you know someone!
Ellie also has a new children's activity book coming out called Amazing Mazes Under the Sea in Hawaii. Her publisher sent this press release:
Did you know mazes help children gain pre-writing skills? They develop fine motor control, pencil grip, hand-eye coordination, and visual planning. With that in mind comes our newest children’s activity book of imaginative mazes aimed for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and early elementary grade kids.
Kids will love going on this underwater adventure in Hawaiian waters where they can wind their way around reefs and coral to learn more about its sea creatures—from ink-squirting octopus to soaring flying fish. Author Ellie Crow and illustrator Tammy Yee present twenty-one amazing mazes that introduce fascinating facts about various animals with detailed, textured illustrations that make you feel as if you’re diving deep under Hawai‘i’s sea.
Last but not least, friend of the show Charley Memminger, sent me word that his novel Aloha, Lady Blue will be published by St. Martins Press in January with a cover blurb by Pat Sajak, the Wheel of Fortune host and KHON anchor Joe Moore's pal. Here's part of Sajak's glowing recommendation:
“Hawaii just might be my favorite place on Earth. Every time I think I’ve seen it all, I find something else new and exotic. In his extraordinary first novel, Aloha, Lady Blue, longtime Island crime reporter and humorist, Charles Memminger, shows an odd and quirky side to his state that even frequent tourists such as me rarely get to see. The novel’s hero, Stryker McBride, provides a funny and engaging narration to a dark and compelling mystery. Aloha, Lady Blue is a great read for anyone who lives in Hawaii, visits Hawaii, or even dreams of going to Hawaii. Oh, what the heck, it’s for anyone who loves a crackling good story. Mahalo, Charles!"
Who knows? Maybe Charley's book will take on a different media makeover as well... Hollywood movie, perhaps?
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