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Governor’s Office – News Release – First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige expands ʻOhana Readers early literacy program to Hawaiʻi island

Posted on Nov 17, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi – Hawai‘i’s first lady Dawn Amano-Ige, together with state and non-profit partners, has expanded the ʻOhana Readers program to the Kaʻū area Hawaiʻi island. This program is now available to children under five-years-old in Nāʻālehu (96772) and Pāhala (96777).


ʻOhana Readers is a literacy program that focuses on reading with family. Initially launched on Molokaʻi in 2019, the program offers high-quality, age-appropriate Imagination Library books each month to children in specific zip codes. Children who register for the program will receive one book each month via the U.S. Postal Service. The program operates through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and is free of charge.


Families can sign up now at the Nāʻālehu Public Library and Pāhala Public & School Library. The libraries have already begun to offer programs that complement the books the children receive and will provide other activities to promote literacy and reading.


“Research shows that children are ready to learn in their earliest years, and this program provides no-cost opportunities for learning from birth through age four,” said Amano-Ige. “ʻOhana Readers encourages family read-aloud time, an activity that increases the vocabulary and language skills of our children and contributes to their growing knowledge of the world.”


In addition to Kaʻū, ‘Ohana readers is available for families with children five years old and younger on Moloka‘i (entire island), Lānaʻi (entire island), and parts of Kauaʻi (in zip code areas 96703, 96714, 96722, 96752, 96754, and 96796). The Hawai‘i State Public Library System is encouraging families within the covered areas to register for the ‘Ohana Readers program at their branch.


“This program is all about reading!” said State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “It encourages the development of a love of words and reading by helping each child create their own library of books. Each book read builds early literacy skills for school readiness. The Hawai‘i State Public Library System is very excited to partner with the ʻOhana Readers program by being a place for families to sign up their little ones and attend story times at the Nāʻālehu Public Library and Pāhala Public and School Library to complement the books being mailed out.”


The program is made possible through a collaborative partnership between the Office of the Governor, the Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services, the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, and nonprofit partners Dollywood Foundation, Friends of the Library of Hawaʻi, Learning to Grow, and Read to Me International. Program sponsors also include Kamehameha Schools, Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative, Friends of the North Shore Library at Princeville, Windward Community College’s Learning to Grow project in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Department of Human Services through monies from the Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant, and aio. The Hawaiʻi island program is funded by aio.

“Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i is pleased to be expanding the ʻOhana Readers program that helps build a life-long love of reading at home with family,” said Nainoa Mau, executive director of Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i.  


Since 2019, the ʻOhana Readers program has distributed over 10,000 books to Hawaiʻi children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Prior to that, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige distributed approximately 2,000 books through the Scholastic Summer Reading Ambassador program through schools across the state in Kekaha, Lāʻie, Fern, Nāʻālehu, Maunaloa, and Nānāikapono.


For more information about the ʻOhana Readers program please visit, To sign up for the program in Nāʻālehu or Pāhala, visit either the Nāʻālehu Public Library or the Pāhala Public & School Library. The form is available for download from the website above and must be dropped off at the library.




Media Contacts:


Jesse Broder Van Dyke

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929

[email protected]