Moloka’i by Alan Brennert takes readers on a spectacular journey through life, death, and disease in 1890s Hawaii. The heroine is Rachel Kalama, a seven-year-old Hawaiian girl with tons of spunk and whose father is a merchant seaman. However, her life is turned upside down when a rose-colored mark appears on her skin and it’s discovered that she has leprosy. Kalama is banished to the leper colony of Kalaupapa, which is located on the island of Moloka’i. Once she arrives she struggles to replace the family she’s lost with the inhabitants of the colony. Kalama meets a native healer named Haleola who becomes an aunt to the little girl and tutors her in the ways of their people. There’s also a Franciscan sister named Mary Catherine Voorhies who cares for the girls and Kalaupapa, and of course, Kalama meets the man she’s one day destined to marry.
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