Young Authors Receive Literary Titan Gold Book Award for First Children’s Book “Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash”

Young Authors Receive Literary Titan Gold Book Award for First Children’s Book "Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash"
Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash by AJ Paki Perkin Literary Titan Award
Perks Publishing is pleased to announce the release of the new children’s book, “Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash,” by the first-time juvenile authors Hiwalani Perkins (17), Puniaikeao Perkins (15), Alapaki Perkins (13) and their father AJ Paki Perkins. The book which focuses on the Hawaiian value of Mahalo (gratitude) is the recipient of the 2022 Literary Titan Gold Book Award.

The “Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash,” story follows cousins who meet for the first time on a family vacation to Hawaii. During the trip, their cousin visiting from California mistakenly defines “Mahalo” only to be lovingly corrected by his Pupu (grandmother) who has the opportunity to teach her mo’opuna (grandchildren) the meaning of Mahalo as well as the kaona (deeper meaning) of one of Hawaii’s most precious words.

“We are so honored by, and appreciative for the recognition ‘Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash,’ has received,” explained Paki Perkins. “I’m so proud of my children for creating this book and for having the courage to start their own publishing company Perks Publishing to serve as a conduit for more stories to be shared.”

“I am excited to share this story and our culture with the world,” said Hiwalani Perkins, co-author and CEO for Perks Publishing. “Growing up with our grandma teaching us our culture seemed ‘normal’, and as we look at the world around us, we see that the Hawaiian way of life really is special.”

“Being able to express our creativity through this book and other projects is a really healing process,” explained Puniaikeao Perkins, co-author and Chief Imagination Officer, Perks Publishing. “COVID made school difficult and being able to learn how to write, publish, market, and distribute our own book was really cool.”

“I couldn’t believe I re-learned so much,” shared Alapaki Perkins, co-author and Chief People Officer, Perks Publishing. “I told my dad, ‘Wow, I forgot that Mahalo went that deep.’ I’m grateful for the privilege of being able to share this much-needed message.”

“Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash,” is available in print and eBook formats on Readers can also view the “Mahalo Does Not Mean Trash,” animated trailer on YouTube.

About the Authors

AJ “Paki” Perkins is an award-winning author and motivational speaker best known for his work in sustainability and teaching Hawaiian values through the oral tradition. You can connect with Paki on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Hiwalani Perkins is a senior in high school, team captain of the varsity swim team, team manager for the

Track & Field team, and yes, the CEO for Perks Publishing, LLC. A member of the national honor’s society, she won state championship awards in choir and Mandarin speaking. Hiwalani volunteers and is a youth leader at her local church.

Puniaikeao Perkins, a sophomore in high school, is Chief Imagination Officer for Perks Publishing, LLC. She is a member of the yearbook committee where she has designed the yearbook cover, and like her sister, is a varsity swimmer, a team manager for her Track & Field team, and enjoys a robust volunteer life dedicating many hours serving her local food bank and through local church service and leadership.

Eighth-grader Alapaki Perkins is Chief People Officer for Perks Publishing, LLC., and enjoys playing baseball, skiing, and indoor rock climbing. He is an avid volunteer and is a youth leader for his church. Alapaki would like to someday go to school in Japan to learn more about other cultures in his family heritage.

About Perks Publishing, LLC

Perks Publishing is an Alaska-based company created by teenagers Hiwalani, Puniaikeao and Alapaki Perkins. Visit for more information.

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution images, photos, and author interviews are available upon request.

Media Contact: Paki Perkins


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