Set in precolonial Fiji, Kula and Yasi are sisters who have spent their whole life together, but when Yasi enters womanhood and her responsibilities change, she no longer has time to play with her little sister and Kula feels left alone in the dark. Kula goes on an emotional journey with her clever bat friend as she realizes that even though things will never go back to the way they used to be, it doesn’t mean she is less loved by the ones close to her.
The rocky shorelines and lush jungles of Fiji were the perfect setting for Kula’s story. In the illustrations we see the diverse landscapes of the island as Kula and the bat soar above in the night’s sky. The fury bat Kula befriends represents the importance of bats, as they are the only native mammal of the archipelago of Fiji. Not only do we see the environmental features, but we see the Fijian villages and the women’s artistry of the traditional crafts. As Yasi grows up, she learns how to pound masi or barkcloth. This is a strong yet elegant textile made from the fibers of young mulberry trees. By including these details in this story, I hope to strike interest in understanding more about Fiji and other cultures in the South Pacific. (Source)
Creator: Vivian Krishnan
Author and illustrator Vivian Krishnan is a multimedia artist with works that cross the vast stage of storytelling, from designing costumes for theatrical characters to writing and illustrating diverse children’s books. Born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii, she spent her childhood near the ocean with her toes in the sand. After moving to Colorado, she continued to stay connected to her South Pacific roots, visiting her family in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia as often as possible.