CURSES AREN’T REAL. At least, that’s what twelve-year-old part-Hawaiian Anna Leilani Kamaʻehu thinks when she listens to her grandma’s folktales about sacred flowers and family guardians. Anna’s friends back home in Colorado don’t believe in legends, either. They’re more interested in science and soccer—real, tangible things that contrast starkly with Anna’s family’s embarrassing stories.
So when Anna goes back to Hawaiʻi to visit her tūtū, she has no interest in becoming the heir to her family’s history; she’s set on having a touristy, fun vacation. But when Anna accidentally insults Pele the fire goddess by destroying her lehua blossom, a giant hawk swoops in and kidnaps her best friend, and she quickly learns just how real these moʻolelo are. In order to save her friends and family, Anna must now battle mythical creatures, team up with demigods and talking bats, and evade the traps Pele hurls her way.
To undo the curse, Anna will have to dig deep into her Hawaiian roots and learn to embrace all of who she is.
“This exciting, fast-paced adventure is full of humor and action. Hawaiian cultural elements are seamlessly woven into the story, giving just enough context for those unfamiliar with them without taking away from the narrative. An exhilarating, adventure-filled celebration of Hawaiian culture.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The author sensitively portrays the way her half-white protagonist wrestles with her identity . . . an exciting adventure in an uncommon, perceptively drawn setting.” —Booklist
“Lei and the Fire Goddess blends pre-teen angst and beloved Hawaiian moʻolelo (stories) in a way that hasn’t been done before. With wit and humility, Lei’s journey demonstrates just how important it is to be wary of our (seemingly kooky) kupuna’s (elder’s) teachings.” — Auli’i Cravalho, actress and voice of Disney’s Moana
“This is a delightful adventure through Hawaiian mythology, and a powerful story about discovering who you are and where you come from. As someone who grew up in Hawaii, reading this book felt like coming home.”—Tae Keller, Newbery Award Winner of When You Trap a Tiger
“A thrilling quest about friends, family, and figuring out the true story of who we are.”—Andrea Wang, Newbery Honor and APALA award-winning author of Watercress
“Even if you don’t believe in the fire goddess, she believes in you! Lei and the Fire Goddess is a page turning adventure that is at its heart a tale about diaspora, identity, and the power of family stories to guide us home.” —Sayantani DasGupta, New York Times-bestselling author
“Super fun and action-packed from start to finish!” —Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Two Degrees and Refugee