Monday, April 13, 2015

Booking Across the USA: Graham Salisbury's Calvin Coconut Series (Hawaii)

About Booking Across the USA

Today I'm participating in Booking Across the USA! This year, we're highlighting authors and illustrators from all 50 states. The other participants this year are edSnapshotsIncredibly Confident KidsChild Led LifeCrayonbox LearningEnchanted Homeschooling MomThe Educators' Spin On ItThe Art Curator for KidsMy Little MeKathys Cluttered MindTrue AimThe Jenny EvolutionPrimary InspiredKC EdventuresChicken BabiesMosswood ConnectionsCountry Fun ChildcarePicture Books & PiourettesMama SmilesBuggy and BuddyWise Owl FactoryBambini TravelInspiration Laboratories Kids Yoga StoriesElementary MattersJust Another MomTeaching With GraceAll Done MonkeySomething 2 OfferALLterNATIVE LearningCutting Tiny BitesJDaniel4's MomLiving Montessori NowPragmatic MomKid World CitizenTeach Beside MeKitchen Floor CraftsMama MissA Book Long Enough, and Brain Power Boy

I have claimed the state of Hawaii so that I can spotlight one of my favorite chapter book authors, Graham Salisbury.

About Graham Salisbury

Though Graham Salisbury was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, members of his family have lived in Hawaii dating back to the 1800s. Graham spent his own childhood in Kailua, Oahu, and he attended Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela. He now lives in Oregon, but has said that being away from Hawaii "makes it all the more enticing"  and that the state is "rich and exotic and full of stuff to write about." His love for Hawaii is evident in all of his books, but perhaps most of all in his chapter book series about Calvin Coconut.

About Calvin Coconut 

Calvin is a mischievous fourth grader who lives with his single mother, younger sister, and his mother's live-in teenage helper, Stella. His father is a famous singer named Little Johnny Coconut whom Calvin rarely gets to see, but he has a good relationship with his mother's boyfriend, Ledward. In the nine books of the series, Calvin gets into a fair amount of trouble as he investigates why his dog smells, tries to figure out how to negotiate with bullies like Frankie Diamond, works on respecting and getting along with girls, and even has the chance to be in a movie and save a friend's life. Calvin is himself an irresistible character, but his books are made that much more appealing by the descriptions of Hawaii's beaches and the way Salisbury incorporates pidgin English and Hawaiian phrases into each story.

List of Calvin Coconut Books

There are nine books in the Calvin Coconut series (links are to my reviews):
  1. Trouble Magnet (2009)
  2. Zippy Fix (2009)
  3. Dog Heaven (2010)
  4. Zoo Breath (2010)
  5. Hero of Hawaii (2011)
  6. Kung Fooey (2011)
  7. Man Trip (2012)
  8. Rocket Ride (2012)
  9. Extra Famous (2013)

About Hawaiian Lingo Bingo  

This fun game is designed to teach elementary readers the meanings of some of Calvin's Hawaiian words and phrases, including 'ukus (lice), obake (ghost), and hamajang (all mixed up.) There are five bingo cards with words filled in, and one blank card which can be customized to include any vocabulary you want to focus on with your kids. Also provided is the call sheet, which gives the English definition for each word, and a set of markers shaped like leis. 

To play: 
  • Distribute a Bingo card to each child.
  • Cut apart the call sheet and toss the words into a basket face down.
  • Choose a word from the basket and call it out. 
  • Have the children mark it on their cards using the lei markers. 
  • The first child to reach three words in a row, either across, down, or diagonally, wins. 
Variation #1: Call out the English words and have the children locate the correct Hawaiian words.
Variation #2: Make the game more challenging by having the children fill the whole card to win. 


Each of the printables required to play this game is available for download from the following links: 


    • Clip art images used in the printables came from and 

    To see activities for all 50 States, visit the Booking Across the USA page at Growing Book by Book. Visit Graham Salisbury online at


    1. Wonderful! The kids of Hawaii will have a blast with this game, but more they will be oh so proud to have something unique of their own to offer their counterparts on the mainland. Mahalo for this creative production!

    2. I haven't read these books. Thanks for introducing them to me. I think kids all over the world will have fun playing your Hawaiian Ling Bingo Game.

    3. Thank you for sharing. I'm ready to move to Hawaii! Thank you for being part of Booking Across the USA!


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