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West // West Oahu News
Nicole Kato

Two ‘Ordinary’ Keiki Become Heroines In Chang Children’s Book

Cousins Cacy (right) and Kiara are the heroines of Roy Chang's first children's book. Photo from Roy Chang.

Aiea Intermediate teacher and MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang has long been known in the Islands for his creative caricatures, and most recently, this talented artist has put his skills and creativity into creating a children’s book.

Cacy and Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i takes place at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and tells the story of two cousins who learn about their Hawaiian heritage and the good that comes from working together. The story takes place on the island of Hawaii during a 24-hour period.

“People who have read the book have mentioned how fast-paced the story is once we meet the girls,” Chang said. “The curse creates a strong sense of urgency, and I hope readers will want a next adventure.”

With more than 60 manga-style illustrations, Cacy and Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i, published by Beach House Publishing, is sure to be a big hit with the keiki.

Chang asserts that many of the heroes in films and books targeted at youths tend to include fictional characters like wizards, individuals with special powers or spies with perfect gadgets.

“It’s too unrealistic to solve problems,” he explained. “I wanted to take a fantasy adventure, with just ordinary kids forced to use their own minds and deep resilience to overcome their challenges and differences to prevent a curse, which is really no cause of their own.

“To me, so much of the problems we adults create among ourselves are often dumped on the children to deal with. Also, with the interests of myths and legends from any countries used to tell and retell modern stories, I wanted our keiki to have an interest in the stories of our ancient Native Hawaii and to bring them into the modern world.”

Chang credits Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as a strong influence in his work, and said that he was deeply inspired by the protagonist (Chihiro), a young girl with no super-powers who had to rely on her own skills to survive in an unfamiliar world.

He also pulled inspiration from recalling his sixth-grade field trips to Hawaii Island to Volcanoes National Park and Pu’uhonua O Haunaunau.

Fans of Chang’s work will recognize his signature style.

“The story and art still has my quirky sense of humor and layers of messages children and adults will pick up on.”

The public is invited to meet Chang at the following library events: Nov. 7 at Salt Lake-Moanalua Public Library from 3 to 4 p.m., and Nov. 17 at Aiea Public Library from 11 a.m. to noon.

“Before I finished this book, I did begin writing opening chapters for a sequel,” Chang said. “It takes place a few months later and on another island, which I need to go visit again for writing research.”

This is Chang’s first book, and he had been working on the project for many years.

“It was bittersweet when I received my advanced copy because it was such a good learning experience in working on it over the years. Now it’s time for a new chapter and let it find a place among local readers.”

For details, go to the Facebook page Cacy and Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i.

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