HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: In The Shadow Of The Pali: A Story of the Hawaiian Leper Colony
Author: Lisa Cindrich
Jacket Illustrator: Wendell Minor
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2002
Website(s): http://www.penguinputnam.com (publisher)
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 10 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Cindrich, Lisa. In The Shadow Of The Pali: A Story of the Hawaiian Leper Colony (Published in 2002 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 345 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). It is in the mid- to late 1800s, and twelve year old Liliha, whose father is dead, has been living with her mother in the home of her mean-spirited Uncle Malietoa and taking care of her sick grandmother. However, after getting leprosy from Grandmother, Liliha is sent to live at the Kalawao leper colony on Molokai’s Kalaupapa peninsula where there are no laws and only the strong survive. The colony is unpoliced and uncared for by the government, and has become a lawless, violent place run by a drunken Captain and bullies like a woman named Kalani who steal everything that they can get their hands on.
Fighting homesickness, fear, and her own worsening symptoms, will the child give up on herself? Or does she learn the value of friendship, the importance of her weaving and carving skills, and her strength when faced with incredible adversity? What can she do to have a happy future, both physically and emotionally? The “d” word is used a couple of times, and someone is called a “bastard.” The details of the disease are not for the weak of stomach, but they do help to build readers’ sympathy and support for the characters. When the fiercest bully becomes an enemy, stealing rations away from her and even threatening her life, Liliha is forced to discover her own courage. The Christian principles of trusting in God and forgiving others that she learns from a woman named Hana help her to cope with her situation.