TGS: The Luau

The Grape Sisters: The Luau


The Grape Sisters had been planning and practicing for the Luau ever since Rania came to school talking about her parents’ trip to Hawaii a few weeks ago. 

Rania explained to the other girls that a Luau was a traditional Hawaiian BBQ with delicious foods, fun dances and music.  

“A luau brings people together,” she said.   “The girls wear leis and grass skirts and put on dances.” 

“Do you want to come over to my house and learn how to do the dances?” she had asked the other girls.  

“Sure, but what’s a lei?” asked Ali. 

“A Lei is a necklace made out of flowers.  In Hawaii the flowers are real but the ones my parents brought back are plastic,” explained Rania. 

“Sounds like fun,” Penny chimed in and all the girls decided to meet at Rania’s house the next day. 

The next day, she gave each Grape Sister a grass skirt.  Over the next few weeks, they watched the DVD and practiced swooshing their hips and moving their arms to match the Polynesian women on the TV.  They danced and giggled as they learned the dances.

One day Rania’s mom came into the living room to watch.  She looked at the girls dancing in their purple shirts and grass skirts and said, “I think you’re ready!” 

“Yippee,” cheered the girls. 

“Let your parents know that the Luau will be next Saturday afternoon.  Your parents can call me and we’ll plan on who’s bringing what.”

The girls jumped up and down with excitement. 

“This is going to be so much fun,” said Tasha.          

As Saturday came closer and closer, the girls got more and more excited.  A little nervous, too.   

Since the girls had grass skirts but no leis, Penny’s mom invited all the girls over Saturday morning so they could make leis with real flowers!  The girls gathered at the kitchen table in Penny’s house.  Her mom brought out a box full of fresh plumeria flowers she bought at the florist shop.  

“How do we make the leis?” asked Lela. 

“It’s like making those cranberry chains at Christmas.  We’re going to use clear fishing line to thread through the flowers and make the necklaces,” said her mom.  

Each girl began to carefully thread the string through the flowers creating a long necklace. 

As they worked, the girls shared that they were a little nervous about putting on this dance at the luau.

“What if I make a mistake?” worried Lela. 

“I might mess up, too,” said Ali. 

Penny’s mom sat down at the table and replied, “Girls, you’ve been practicing and learning the dances, right?” 

“Yes,” they replied nodding their heads in unison. 

“Then it’s OK to be nervous but I’m sure you’ll do a great job,” she said. 

“What if people laugh at us?” asked Tasha. 

“Well, they might laugh because this is something different for them.  If they do laugh, just shrug it off.  You know that you’ve learned something new and have had a lot of fun doing it.  Right?” asked Penny’s mom. 

They girls nodded.

“A lot of fun,” giggled Tasha. 

“That’s right,” said Penny’s mom. “So just go out there and have fun tonight.  OK?” 

They nodded in agreement.  “OK”     

“I think my lei is done,” announced Ali.  “I can’t fit any more flowers on this!” 

“That looks great!” said Penny’s mom.

They not only made leis for themselves but one for each person who would be at the luau.  Each Lei was bright, colorful, and unique just like the ones Rania’s mom and dad saw in Hawaii.  The girls had a wonderful time creating these special necklaces.

Looking at the display of leis on the table, Penny’s mom smiled, “Nice work Grape Sisters! All the leis are done!  I’ll keep these in the refrigerator to keep them fresh until the luau tonight and then Penny and I will bring them with us.” 

The other girls headed home to help their families prepare foods to bring to the Luau.  They were expected to arrive at Rania’s house just before sunset. 

Rania returned home to help her dad build a fire pit in the back yard.  She knew that fire was dangerous and only helped when her dad allowed her to.  She was very cautious not to get too close to the flames or burning wood.   

“How’s that look?” asked her dad once the fire was built. 

“Excellent!” exclaimed Rania.  “I’m so excited for my friends to come over!  I better go put on my purple shirt and my grass skirt!” 

“Ok,” replied her dad.  “I’ll start to cook the food.” 

Rania went into her room to dress and then headed downstairs to answer the doorbell.  Penny and her family were the first to arrive along with the box full of fresh leis. 

Rania and Penny stayed at the door and greeted everyone by placing a fresh lei over their heads and around their necks.  There were even small ones for Lela and Tasha’s younger siblings. 

As the sun set, everyone gathered in the backyard enjoying delicious food and friends. 

Just before dessert, the Grape Sisters gathered on a small makeshift stage. 

They were a little nervous but ready. 

Rania’s brother turned on the Hawaiian music and the girls began to swoosh their hips and swing their arms in the same style at the Polynesian women on the DVD.  They moved around the deck in the routine they had planned. 

It was a little scary and fun all at the same time. 

When they were done, they took a bow and everyone clapped!  “That was great,” someone called out.  “Nicely done girls!” another exclaimed!  They had practiced and done a great job. 

They smiled and took another bow before running off to get dessert. 

“We did great!” said Tasha. 

“That was fun!” agreed Lela. 

They girls laughed and smiled. 

“Thanks Rania, you’re mom and dad had a good idea with this Luau,” exclaimed Ali. 

After hugging their own parents, the girls ran over to Rania’s mom and dad to thank them for the fun idea. 

“Where are you going on vacation next year?” asked Lela. 

Rania’s mom and dad looked at each other confused.  “We’re not sure, Lela.  Why?” 

“Because I can’t wait to see what you bring back for us to learn next time!” she exclaimed.

And they all laughed as they looked on at the bon fire. 

It had been a great Luau!


Back of the Book Questions:

Have you ever been nervous to do something in front of others? Present a report at school? Or dance in a recital? Or public speaking in class?

Do you know any special dances?

Do you like to learn about other places?