Black Rocks and Rainbows: The True Adventures of Henry Opukahaia, the Hawaiian Boy Who Changed History Audiobook, by Susan C. Riford Play Audiobook Sample

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Black Rocks and Rainbows: The True Adventures of Henry Opukahaia, the Hawaiian Boy Who Changed History Audiobook, by Susan C. Riford Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Susan C. Riford Narrator: Suzanne Ford Publisher: Suzanne Ford Audio Length: Release Date: March 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781665059312

Publisher Description

High on a cliff in Hawaii in 1807, an irrepressibly curious native boy dives into the sea and swims to an American merchant ship anchored offshore, embarking on an extraordinary adventure that will change history.

Young Hiapo Opukahaia (Hee-ah-poh Oh-poo-kai-ee-ya) and his family are happily thriving when a bitter war between two rival chiefs tears them apart. The enemy chief adopts the orphaned boy and forces him to learn the ways of a warrior. Hiapo manages to triumph through unexpected friendships, until a shocking accident changes his life once again.

Saved by an uncle who is a “kahuna nui,” or high priest, Hiapo becomes his apprentice. One day he sees a miraculous sight below him in the bay: “an enormous canoe with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” It is the merchant schooner Triumph out of New England, and it is irresistible.

He signs on as cabin boy, and soon acquires from his fellow sailors the more pronounceable first name of Henry. After a year of wild adventures—storms, pirates, daunting adversity, deep bonds with comrades and, most significant, the chance for him to master English—the ship arrives in America. Opukahaia realizes he desperately wants to keep learning but has no idea how.

When he is found weeping on the steps of Yale college, a kind student leads him to the school’s president, who takes him under his wing. Henry becomes a scholar and eventually creates the written Hawaiian language that is still in use today.

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Quotes

  • “The author’s work and the narrator’s voice do an excellent job of capturing the unique blend of American and Hawaiian cultures…Educational and impactful, Black Rocks and Rainbows is a must-listen audiobook.”

    - Pacific Book Review
  • “A rollicking listening experience…that carries you along at a steady clip…with the lasting substance of another culture depicted in vivid detail…This is an action-packed historical narrative lacking nearly all pretense and satisfying the greatest requirement of all—it keeps us wanting more.”

    - TheMagicPen.com

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About the Author

Susan C. Riford was an American author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur who was also a passionate proponent of theater education for children. She wrote over fifty children’s plays and books during her thirty-year tenure as founder and head of Auburn Children’s Theater in Auburn, New York. A long-time member of the New York State Council on the Arts, she was for years fascinated by the story of Opukahaia. She wrote Black Rocks and Rainbows as her final work before she died in 1997 in Maui, Hawaii.