One Boy, No Water is both entertaining and educational as Parker’s knowledge of the Hawaiian culture comes through with beautiful narrative and vivid scenes. At the beginning of this middle-grade story my non-native tongue often tripped over the Hawaiian words and pigeon-laden dialogue as I tried to decipher meanings and pronounce the language. Farther into the book, however, my reading had smoothed as my mind grasped the Hawaiian sounds with familiarity. At that point, I really felt like part of the story and culture. Parker’s Hawaiian word glossary at the end of the book was indispensable in helping me achieve this.
Parker’s descriptive imagery of the Hawaiian culture and practices gave me a respect and understanding of the society, and I felt like I was really there. Especially interesting to me was the Niuhi shark legend the story was based upon. Awesome myth!
There was a mystery throughout the book that kept me wondering and wanting to know more about how certain characters related to the main boy, 11 year-old Zader. This kept me interested to the end. The book ended with another mystery, opening the way for Parker’s next book in the saga.
My favorite line from the story, and a message I feel encompassed the entire first book, was what Zader said to his Uncle Kahana. “Nothing’s ever perfectly safe unless it stay locked behind glass. If we want to live, we have to experience life outside the glass.”
Lehua Parker is an exceptional lady of imagination, knowledge and wit. I’ve had the opportunity, on several occasions to sit by her at writing conferences, allowing me to see her not only as a talented author, but as a loving mother, educated teacher, and fine friend.
One Boy, No Water will be available at Barnes and Noble, but can also be ordered from any other bookstore.