Students and staff at Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha (KKNOK) have written and published more than 400 books in the Niihau dialect of the Hawaiian language. This effort aims to perpetuate the language and provide students with literature in their native dialect that resonates with them.

To see the full story and hear from students and the Poo Tumu, click on this video link.

KKNOK is the only Hawaiian Language Immersion Niihau dialect school in the state. Six years ago students and staff began writing and publishing books, creating a vibrant literary legacy.

The school’s mission is to strengthen and perpetuate the Niihau dialect of Hawaiian among the children and youth of the Niihau community on Kauai. Poo Tumu (Principal) Tia Koerte said, “There were zero materials published in our language; a lot of it was handwritten or delivered orally.” Koerte explained that this lack of resources led them to partner with Hamline University in Minnesota to create books that would resonate with her students.

Each year, every student from preschool to 12th grade authors at least one book. Koerte and her team select a different genre and topic for students to write about each year. Koerte shared, “It is also important to see our language written in different forms, not only to challenge our students in writing in different forms, but also to hoopaa that and make sure that as time passes on and people pass on, it is now kept - malama ia, in all of these books that are published.”

Their goal is to publish one thousand books in Olelo Niihau, ensuring that the Niihau dialect continues to thrive for generations to come