Nanea Mitchell may be the youngest in her family, but she still wants to “dip her paddle in” and be useful. She knows she’s grown-up enough to help in her grandparents’ market. But before she can prove that she’s ready for more responsibility, the unthinkable happens: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor—the naval base where her father works—and American is at war! Now Nanea must cope with missing friends and family members, rumors of additional attacks, and drastic changes to her island way of life.
Nanea had hoped that going back to school would make life seem normal again. But everything has changed since the war started, including Miss Smith’s wonderful classroom. Nanea’s dear friend Donna is gone, and now there’s a new girl who seems to be getting all of Miss Smith’s attention. There are also worries at home as Nanea’s big brother talks about joining the army. She can’t bear the thought of him leaving.
In the swirl of changes, Nanea turns to hula. Dancing makes her feel better, and soon she learns how much it lifts the spirits of the soldiers, too. When a surprising hula partner boosts everyone’s morale, Nanea gets a big idea.
It was an honor to be asked by the American Girl company to help create a new addition to their Beforever historical series. Because of my interest in WWII, a story set on Oahu in 1941-1942 seemed a perfect fit. Thanks to the help of a caring and dedicated board of advisors, the Nanea stories are as historically and culturally accurate as possible.
One of the members of the board of advisors, Dorinda Makanōnalani Nicholson was actually living in Pearl Harbor City at the time of the December 7, 1941 attacks and has written beautifully about it in “Pearl Harbor Child: A Child’s View of Pearl Harbor from Attack to Peace.” Read more about Dorinda’s book here.