More About Dorinda

Photo: American Girl doll, Nanea, and Dorinda, with a film crew in Hawaii

Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson, known as “The Pearl Harbor Child” is an award-winning author of Pearl Harbor history through the eyes of a child. When the bombs fell on December 7, 1941, she clung to her father’s side as enemy torpedo bombers screamed overhead skimming the treetops. When the planes dipped their wings, she saw the pilots’ goggles. She has made it her mission to tell this American history.

Dorinda’s family lived near the tip of the Pearl City Peninsula, only a few hundred yards from the USS Utah, the first ship to be attacked on December 7, 1941. Her mother was a hula teacher, so Dorinda made her debut as a hula dancer at the age of three. She graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, then attended the University of Hawaii, where she was spotted by a local TV producer and invited to be the hula dancer on a weekly show, “Campus Canteen.”

When Dorinda was 18, she won the KGMB-TV “Flight to Fame” contest for a hula performance, which took her to the mainland for the first time. While there, she went on to visit her father’s family in Missouri. After attending college in Kansas City, she became a flight attendant for a national airline, and then married Larry Nicholson, a photographer, who is also a designer, illustrator, and multimedia producer. Dorinda and Larry work as a team in producing their books and DVD’s.

After the birth of their four sons, Dorinda earned undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Counseling Psychology. She worked for a large community mental health center in Kansas City as a psychotherapist.

Dorinda has published numerous travel articles, and authored a series of educational filmstrips for children about the history, culture, industry, and land of Hawaii. These filmstrips were distributed nationally, and won a silver medal from ITVA. She also originated the concept for “A Woman’s Year,” an organizational calendar for women, which was published by Hallmark for some 15 years.

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.