Pacific Island Books
Solomon Islands

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Solomon Islands


Aloha Solomons by Gwen Cross. Recommended retail price $ 10.

The personal experiences of Sister Gwen Cross involving culture, education, WWII, economic change - reflecting 30 years of Solomon Islands history.

This remarkable woman spent about 30 of her 83 years in the Solomon Islands, where she went in 1923. It is an amazing story of communicating across cultures, of creating with one's hands, of fleeing in the jungle from Japanese troops during World War II, of participating in the education and growth of Solomon Islands and its people. If you pick it up, you won't put it down until you're through! Soft cover, 156 pp.

Click here for illustration from Aloha Solomons

Bellona Island Beliefs and Rituals by Torben Monberg. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN-082481147X. Recommended retail price $40.

The religion of Bellona Island was suddenly replaced by Christianity in 1938. The religion as it existed before 1938 is the subject of this book. Bellona and Rennell islands are Polynesian outliers in the Solomon Islands. In pre-European times, and with minor variations, the cultures of the two islands were almost identical. Both were relatively isolated over many centuries, and their peoples were among the last Pacific Islanders to experience the presence of Europeans in the region. With the arrival of missionaries in 1938, conversion to Christianity became rapid. As common elsewhere in the Pacific, traditional beliefs were ridiculed, and rituals and ceremonies of great antiquity were soon abolished. Monberg's account of the Bellonese religion is description at its best. Hard cover, 449 pages. Published in 1991.


Bina Bina: the making of a Gela War Canoe by Robert T. Pule. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies.ISBN 9820201659. Recommended retail price $9.

More than just a book about how a traditional Gela war canoe - Bina Bina - is made…Bina Bina - a book about a peoples' pride in their culture; about pride in the skills handed down from generation to generation of men who made canoes like the Bina Bina; about pride in the communal effort required to build such craft and which is still a feature of Melanesian societies like that of Gela…
Bina Bina - a book about Gela, a lesser-known part of Solomon Islands, about the Gela people, about the things of Gela threatened by what is happening in the 1980's…
Bina Bina - a book by a man proud of his traditions, but aware that they are in danger of being forgotten…
Bina Bina - an important part of Gela tradition "comes back with a loud noise to take its proper place… among customs and traditions of our ancestors…" Soft cover, 44 pages. Published in 1983.


The Confession and Other Stories by Julian Maka’a. Recommended retail price $8.

The Confession and the other short stories in this book offer well-informed and often humorous insight into the lives of the author’s fellow countrymen and into a variety of down-to-earth local situations. Julian Maka’a brings the Solomon Islands very enjoyably to life in these anecdotes. First printed in 1985 and reprinted in 1987 and 1999. Soft cover, 53 pages.


Custom Stories from Choiseul by Colin Rugebatu & 16 others. Recommended retail price $14.

This little book is a gem. From concept to completion. These wild and wonderful stories from the distant reaches of the Solomon Islands are beautifully illustrated.
In vernacular and English. Published by the Western Province Government of the Solomon Islands together with the Institute of Pacific Studies in Suva, Fiji. Illustrations in the book were drawn by standard six students at Gizo Primary School. Soft cover, 76 pages.

See also More Custom Stories from Choiseul


Eleven Stories from Ranongga/Manoga Maka Vavakato pa Ganoqa by Lesieli ‘Atonio and 7 others. Recommended retail price $14.

This small collection of stories was taped in May 1987, after nearly six months of learning the Kubokota language of Ranongga island. They have been transcribed from tape and translated as well as could be managed with that limitation.

The translations attempt to keep the same rhythm as the original, but where the flow of the Kubokota is not comfortable in translation, normal English construction is used.

Collected and translated by Laurence Stubbs in vernacular and English. Originally printed in 1991 and reprinted in 1995. Soft cover, 69 pages.


Givers of Wisdom, Labourers Without Gain: Essays on Women in Solomon Islands by Alice Aruhe'eta Pollard. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820201543. Recommended retail price $17.

Pacific Islanders and other readers will find much that is important and fascinating in these essays by a Solomon Islander who is a committed activist for women and former Director of her government's Women's Welfare Division.

The book's five chapters begin with a survey of the general situation of women in Solomon Islands, followed by detailed case studies of the problems faced by rural women in southern Malaita, the Christian reaction to the traditional 'Are' practice of brideprice, and the trials and tribulations of Honiara's market women. The collection concludes with a survey of the guiding principles and work strategies of the Women's Welfare Division, Government of Solomon Islands. Soft cover, 112 pages. Published in 2000.


Grassroots Art of the Solomons: Images and Islands. Recommended retail price $8.

The original version of Images and Islands was produced by Adrian Allen, then Director of the University of the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands Centre, in collaboration with Barbara House of the Solomon Islands Teachers College, Sister Claire O-Brien of Tenaru Catholic Secondary School and Les Tickle of King George VI Secondary School, Honiara.

But the objectives remain those of Dr. Allen and his colleagues. This is not a work of scholarship; still less is it intended to be a comprehensive survey of Solomon Islands art forms. If it conveys some impression of the variety of design to be found in the Solomons and helps to stimulate interest in its origins, preservation and development, we shall be well pleased. Soft cover, 96 pages.


Mana; Volume 13, Issue 1: Special Solomon Islands Issue edited by Jullan Treadaway and Linda Crowl. ISBN 037952681301. Recommended retail price $19.

This special issue of Mana, featuring Solomon Islands writing once again, is an attempt by Solomon Islands writers to bring to the forefront and to the surface some of the significant issues seen and felt by them. Soft cover, 152 pages. Published in 2001.


This is Guadalcanal: The original combat photography by L. Douglas Keeney and William S. Butler. ISBN 0688170811. Recommended retail price $15.

In the desperate battle for Guadalcanal, every American soldier had to walk a thin red line between life and death. On August 7, 1942, American Marines waded onto a Pacific island called Guadalcanal.

They encountered jungles, crocodiles, insidious malaria, and a particularly deadly adversary in the Japanese soldier. Only weeks after their defeat at Midway, the Japanese were gutsy, vicious, and prepared to give their own lives to take out just one American. There was no surrender.

Captured by combat photographers, here is the real story of one of America's fiercest battles in the Pacific theater. Men, carriers and other ships, and planes turned a certain defeat into an excruciating yet decisive American victory. Taken in the air, at sea and on land, these are rarely seen photgoraphs from the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Soft cover, 128 pages. Published in 1998.

GIs with Japanese flag
Attack on USS Hornet
GI with Japanese machine gun


Guardians of Marovo Lagoon: Practice, Place and Politics in Maritime Melanesia by Edvard Hviding. Recommended retail price $45, our price $39.95.

The Marovo Lagoon is a fascinating place. I have been lucky enough to be able to visit the area twice to take photographs for a proposed World Heritage application (some of these shots can be seen in the “Good stuff to download section”). I was fortunate to meet Edvard on the airstrip at Seghe. In simple terms, Edvard has forgotten more about the Marovo Lagoon than most people will ever learn. He has published widely and voluminously on the lagoon and the people. This book summarizes some of that knowledge. I was particularly interested in the relationship between dive operators and the local people.

If the Marovo Lagoon does achieve World Heritage status (which it richly deserves) the locals will have much to come to terms with. Guardians give us insight as to how they might feel. I feel privileged to offer this book on our website. Hard cover, 473 pages.


Jungle Islands, my South Sea Adventure by Maria Coffey with Deborah Pearson and photographs by Dag Goering.  ISBN 1-55037-596-2. Published by Annick Press.  Recommended retail price $14.95.

"The deep marks on the beach were fresh. Even in the dark, I could see they were huge: they looked like they had been made by a bulldozer. But that was impossible. There were no roads leading here, no people around. I crept to the bushes where the tracks led and heard deep grunts. A giant turtle, as big as a bath tub, lay before me ..."

Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you join Maria Coffey on her trip through the Solomons, lush tropical islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Step into her kayak and paddle to remote villages where outsiders haven't been seen in years, and visit the Skull Island burial ground.  Spend time on shore as Maria explores a South Sea jungle, sleeps in a traditional leaf hut, and confronts a ferocious crocodile. Short sidebars of information that accompany Maria's story reveal: what it's like to visit a coral reef "garden"; where the bathrooms are in the jungle; what kids love about life in the Solomon Islands and much more. Colorful maps (essential traveller's tools) help you follow Maria's route chapter by chapter.

This is a non-patronising children's book aimed at the 8-15 year old group, but adults will still enjoy it. Soft cover, 88 pages. Published in 2000.


More Custom Stories from Choiseul collected and illustrated by Sr. M. Gregory, O.P. Recommended retail price $14.

Stories collected and illustrated by Sr. M. Gregory, O.P. and written by the school children of St. Joseph’s Moli in the Solomon Islands. Miss Matrina Qilaziutu and Mr. Michael Lomiri helped with the translations. The stories include some of the following titles:

The Spirit of the Waterhole
The Woman Who Asked for Lime
The Flying Fox and the Hawk
The Giantess Who Ate Children

Soft cover, 46 pages

See also Custom Stories from Choiseul


Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands, the past four thousand years
by Sam Alasia and others, edited by Hugh Laracy. Recommended retail price $15.

Solomon Islanders have recorded much of their history - a term which refers both to the events of the past and to ways of viewing those events - in a rich oral tradition, and in a variety of art forms. But hitherto few of them have written about it. Most of the writing about the Solomon Islands has been done by foreigners, araikwao.

Ples Blong Iumi is an important exception. The authors are Solomon Islanders. Academically trained and drawing on a wide range of sources (from archaeology to archives, and including oral tradition), they present a survey of their people's history that is well-informed, wide-ranging and up-to-date; and at once critical yet sympathetic.

Significant as a contribution to an incipient national literature and as a work of scholarly reference, Ples Blong Iumi is also important as an expression of a new political identity. Solomon Islands became an independent nation in 1978. It is fitting, and not before time, therefore, that its own writers should now present the story of their own nation, for the enlightenment of their own people - and for that of the wider audience beyond the Solomons. Soft cover, 176 pp.


Raetemaot: Creative Writing from Solomon Islands edited by Julian Maka’a, Hilda Kii and Linda Crowl. Recommended retail price $25, our price $23.

Raetemaot is contemporary writing from Solomon Islands. Written by nationally and internationally published authors as well as rising stars, this collection is rich in diversity and perspective. The writers discuss Solomon Islands, animals, development and politics, dreams and feelings, the environment, love, mystery, school, songs and many other things. This volume has something for everyone. Includes the writings of Jully Makini & 42 others - poetry, chants and short stories. Soft cover, 165 pages.


Roviana Custom Stories edited by Jully Makini. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. ISBN 9820202221. Recommended retail price $15

These stories were collected by Sister Lina Jones and by the Rev. E. C. Leadley in the 1930s and 1940s at Kokeqolo, Roviana Lagoon. They were made available by Rev. E. C. Leadley and Rev. George G. Carter.

This book is dedicated to the late Rev. Carter in recognition of his interest in preserving the oral traditions of Western Province, Solomon Islands. Soft cover, 86 pages. Published in 1991.


Solomon Islands by Mark Honan and David Harcombe. Recommended retail price $17.95, our price $17.

The Solomon Islands are still best known as the site of some of the fiercest battles of WWII. This is sad as they have so much more to offer the interested visitor. The Solomon Islands exhibit great cultural diversity, a fascinating flora and fauna and superb diving. Paddy has just come back from a photographic job in the Solomons. He visited the Marovo Lagoon and Rennell Island. The information in this lonely Planet Guide was accurate, up-to-date and relevant. (Check out some Solomon Island pictures by clicking on this link). Soft cover, 281 pages


Solomon Islands. Map. recommended retail price $6.95

This is another HEMA map. Renowned for their accuracy and ease of use this 1:1,200,000 scale full color map provides the Solomons bound traveler with an easy to read over-view of this fascinating island arc.


Suremada: Faces from a Solomon Island village by Rexford Orotaloa. Recommended retail price $10.

Insights into village life in the Solomon Islands are revealed in this delightful collection of short stories by Rexford Orataloa. This is the second book of a talented younger writer. He is currently working on a third. Soft cover, 66 pages.


The Tambu Ground by Barry Hayes. Recommended retail price $15.

Laugh, cry, look under the bed. Peer down through the sago bark. Smell the tropical breeze. But whatever you do – don’t put the light out!! For every dreamer, a touch of the Pacific, for every Islander, a touch of home. The Tambu Ground breaks the boundaries of stereotype Pacific Islands fiction.

“Yes,” said Jimmy quietly. “He should have died. He made a mistake too, of course. He went for you with a knife. He should have sat in his house and worked up the spirits. Nobody can bash a spirit’s head in. But that’s what he’ll be doing now. That’s what he’s doing with Tanaka’s dress. He’s going to scare her to death. She’ll …”
Jimmy’s theory was cut short. The house suddenly shook as Tapu’s fist crashed through the cement sheet wall.

Very good, very powerful, exciting, romantic… absolutely magic location. He’s got a damned fine book here.” Rigby Publishers, S.A.

Well crafted and impressive.” McPhee Gribble

A good read. Good visual images – dreamlike quality. The visitation of evil is edge of seat stuff. Characters are real people.” Indra Publishing

The Tambu Ground is not like any other book I have read before. It opened up a window on the world I had previously been unaware of. Well researched and written.” Reader, Boolarong Press

I (Paddy) agree with all of the above. Having spent several months in the Solomon Islands I can vouch for the authenticity of the setting and characterization. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 273 pages.

(Check out some Solomon Island pictures by clicking on this link)

Click on links below for these books.

Big Death, The: Solomon Islanders remember World War II

Civilized Girl by Jully Sipolo

Mi Mere: Poetry and prose by Solomon Islands Women Writers by Jully Sipolo & 10 other Solomons women

Praying Parents by Jully Sipolo

Romancing the Islands by Kim Gravelle.

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Last modified on Thursday, January 04, 2007