Dorinda Nicholson, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Professional Speaker

Dorinda Makakanaonalani Nicholson
Award-Winning Children’s Author and Professional Speaker

If your school canʻt make a visit to Pearl Harbor, then bring The Pearl Harbor Child to your school!

Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson was born in Hawaii to a Hawaiian mother who taught her to hula, and then Dorinda taught her poi-dog, Hula Girl, to dance along with her. Her Caucasian father held her tight against him the morning of December 7th, 1941 while they stood together in their front yard watching Japanese torpedo bombers scream overhead so low, Dorinda saw the pilots’ goggles as the planes whizzed by, barely above the tree tops. All of her non-fiction, photo-illustrated World War II books are written for middle grade to young adults. Her book, Pearl Harbor Warriors, earned an IRA intermediate non-fiction award, Mark Twain list, ALA best DVD for kids, and was chosen as Hawaii’s first read-aloud book, read simultaneously to more than 10,000 students on Oahu and Maui.

The most important thing the author wants readers to gain from her book:

One student said, she didn’t think she liked non-fiction history, but she does now. Dorinda says it’s the nicest compliment she’s received. She especially likes 5th graders who all want a peek at her gas mask she had to have with her at all times when she was in 5th grade in WWII Hawaii, plus the bullets she dug out of her kitchen wall.

Why the author is an authority on the subject of her book:

Dorinda is a primary resource to the Dec. 7th Pearl Harbor bombing. As a child survivor, she has made it her mission to share WWII through the eyes of an American child. The new American girl Pearl Harbor history doll, Nanea, is based on her life story. She has been featured in People Magazine, the Learning, Discovery, and Military Channels, Cable One, CBS Sunday Morning News with Lee Cowan,, BBC TV, and as a speaker at numerous events nationally, internationally, and frequently at Pearl Harbor.


Pearl Harbor Warriors: International Reading Association Nonfiction award; Ben Franklin Multi-cultural award; School Library Association best DVD for classroom; and Mark Twain finalist


Social Media:


Speaking Engagements and School Presentations:

Guess What Country I Am From: I carried a gas mask, there were bomb shelters on my playground, and we had air raid drills at school. No lights could be on in our house at night, I carried war time invasion currency, I saved my milk money to buy war bonds, there were no after school activities, you could not be out after dark and had to stay in your house until daylight. My dad dug bullets out of our kitchen wall. An air raid warden went down the street every night to make sure no lights were showing out of your house and he had the authority to shoot out the light if he chose to do so.

If you didnʻt know I was the “Pearl Harbor Child,” I think your answer would be any country but the United States. But this was the United States, your country. Get ready, come along with me, I want you to see and feel what it was like to be a child survivor of the  Pearl Harbor bombing, and then through the war years that followed.

What Teachers Say About Dorinda’s Presentations and School Visits:

“Her books exemplify the best in non-fiction writing. A compelling story in tandem with an inspiring message combine to create a tale that opens both heart and mind. They will touch you as few books can - a ‘must’ for every classroom.”

- Middle School teacher

“I’ve been teaching WWII history for 12 years and your book, Pearl Harbor Child is the first book that has been meaningful to my students.”

- Elementary School teacher

“The account of the events of December 7th and the aftermath—is told with directness and simplicity, and has a child-engaging attention to detail... always sticking to the story as it happened then.”

- Center for the Childrenʻs Book

Presentation Audience:

Grades 4-6

Middle School

High School




301+ Appearances



Willing to Travel

Book Type:

Children's Non-Fiction

Tween/YA Non-Fiction

Adult Non-Fiction


Aging/Senior Citizens

Character Education





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