KPPlogoSo, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and wanted to write a post about why the Ka Palapala Po’okela Awards are so important. But you snooze, you lose. The Hawaii Book Publisher’s Association put up an awesome video of Maile Meyer (owner of Native Books) sharing the value of these awards. Check it out here.

She really says it all, but why do Alex and I think these awards are so important? Well…

“No matter how small and unimportant what we are doing may seem, if we do it well, it may soon become the step that will lead us to better things.”

~ Channing Pollock

Excellence begets excellence. As the standards and needs of our literary community rise, writers and publishers should endeavor to meet and exceed them. Now more than ever, with the amount of information that barrages us daily, the need to be distinguished arises. It’s a privilege to have such an active local literary community. Imagine if no one wrote about our diverse culture and history–if there were no keiki books that local children could relate to and find themselves in. That would be a sad world.

Hawaii publishing has grown tremendously in the last ten years and there are more small publishers than ever before, which means more unique stories and perspectives are given voice. These unique, well written and quality produced works should be appropriately acknowledged.

The KPP awards have been greatly streamlined from years before. Moving away from the popular voting that it once was, each nominee is measured on specific criteria for its category by subject matter experts from the community. This change has added validity and value to our books.

As the Ka Palapala Po’okela awards get bigger and better, they will ultimately increase awareness and help gain more exposure for local books and writers. We’ve always said, the more people talk about Hawai’i literature, the better it will be. And we definitely want to talk about it. Shaka for books!