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Kamehameha IV: Alexander Liholiho
by Ruby Hasegawa Lowe
Illustrated by Rubin Yoko Racoma
115 pages, Kamehameha Schools Press, 1997
Wonderful new books published by Kamehameha Schools in Hawaiian and English are fascinating reading for adults and children. They are part of a series on Hawaiian monarchs, designed to develop reading skills in both languages, while increasing the understanding of Hawaiian history. They are illustrated with historic photos, drawings and genealogy charts.
Kamehameha IV: Alexander Liholiho, is the story of the grandson of Kamehameha I and provides insight into the life of the monarchy after Hawai'i fell under the influence of East and West.
The Hawaiian tradition of hanai (adoption of children) is explained, as Liholiho was raised by his uncle, Kemehameha II. The author writes that the hanai practice "kept families closely bonded together and often offered the child many benefits." For Liholiho, it meant he was destined to become Hawai`i's king.
The church plays an important role as Liholiho attended the Chiefs' Children's School, which was run by two missionary teachers. When Liholiho entered the school he brought with him 30 attendants (kahu) but the missiona-ries sent the attendants home and for the first time Liholiho was on his own.
The education of Liholiho was extensive and the author notes that instead of watching television, young chiefs studied language, music and drama, presenting their own plays. Liholiho also was able to travel through the islands and to America.
As an adult, Liholiho became King Kamehameha IV, and, along with his Queen Emma, is known for resisting annexation of Hawai'i to the United states and establishing the Episcopal Church in Hawai'i, Queen's Hospital and Iolani School. He accomplished all this before 1863 when he died at age 29.