Announcement and Cover Reveal of My Middle Grade Debut

I am thrilled to announce that my middle grade debut, Keep It Together, Keiko Carter will be published by Scholastic on May 5, 2020! I’m eternally grateful to my amazing agent, Tricia Lawrence of EMLA, and my brilliant editor Jenne Abramowitz! Check out this gorgeous cover:

Huge props to cover designer Stephanie Yang! I love this cover so much! For more about how I came to write this novel, check out my essay on the Nerdy Book Club blog.

Stay tuned for a fun pre-order campaign! Thank YOU as always for all your amazing support!

Catching Up!

It’s been a busy few weeks and I hope to have my quarterly newsletter out on time next month. In the meantime here are a few things I’ve been up to.

As part of the #KidsNeedMentors program, I partnered with teacher Jane Chalifoux and her third grade students at Mills Pond Elementary. After a year of correspondence and book donations (from me to them), I visited their class in May. I spoke to them about books and writing Jasmine Toguchi, and then led them in a few writing exercises. They were an enthusiastic and creative group and it was a joy partnering with them.

In July, I flew to Jackson Hole, WY where I taught a kid’s writing camp to a group of very talented young writers. It was my first time to Jackson Hole and I thought it was gorgeous! I hope to return in the near future to check out the sights.

I also traveled to Minnesota where I had the opportunity to finally meet my Capstone editor, Jill Katz. We have worked on two series together (Dorothy & Toto and My Furry Foster Family). It was wonderful to chat with her face-to-face. She’s every bit as lovely as I knew she’d be.

I ended July with a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit with my parents and my daughter. I spent a day at the Nisei Week Baby Show, signing Jasmine Toguchi for young readers. I had a lovely time! I look forward to returning next summer for Nisei Week festivities.

In August, it was a dream come true for me to be on the faculty of the SCBWI Los Angeles annual conference. I led a workshop on crafting chapter book series, and participated in a panel on creating memorable main characters. It was memorable for me to share the stage with awesome senior editor and moderator Matt Ringler and authors/illustrators I’ve long admired, Ben Clanton, Bruce Hale, and Lisa Yee.

Most recently (just last week), Savoy Bookshop & Cafe hosted my newest chapter book series launch – My Furry Foster Family. I was joined by Save One Soul Animal Rescue who brought a Truman the Dog look-alike! It was a lot of fun! You can buy signed books from Savoy Bookshop.

I love hearing from readers, via snail mail and email. Thank you for all your support! I hope to see you an an upcoming event!

School Visits!

I love doing school visits and meeting amazing students, teachers, librarians, and staff! In the past couple of months I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with students in New York, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. These young readers are the reason I write books!

Jumping for joy in Castleton, NY for their Read Over Sleep Over event with the third graders!

Speaking with enthusiastic first graders visiting The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NY. 

Fabulous second graders in Brooklyn NY!

A wonderful group of book-lovers from third to fifth grade in Madison WI!

Looking forward to meeting more students and readers across the country this year! Thank you to all the fabulous schools and libraries for hosting me!

Crabby? Hooray!

Wowee zowee! I’m so excited to learn that Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl won the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Transitional Fiction! A big thank you to Blue Crab committee and the Maryland Librarian Association for this wonderful honor!

Singapore American School Visit

In January, I had the fabulous experience of spending a week visiting the Singapore American School where Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen won the student-voted Big Splash Award!

There, I spoke to 1,800 K-5th graders about Jasmine Toguchi, and I ran writing workshops on character development for 2nd-4th graders. I had a blast!

The kindergarteners, with the help of parent volunteers, made mochi!

The last day of my visit was Dress Like a Character Day, and I was touched and surprised by the many Jasmine Toguchis on campus, including the wonderful librarians, Ali, Mary, and Kate!

It was an amazing and unforgettable experience. I have so much gratitude for the Singapore American School for being amazing hosts! Thank you, all!

Readers are the best!

Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl – Cybils Award Winner

Wowee zowee! I am honored and thrilled that Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl is the Cybils Award winner for Early Chapter Books!

Many thanks to the Cybils Awards committee members and judges. And thank you to Team Toguchi – illustrator Elizabet Vukovic, editor Grace Kendall, and the marvelous people at Farrar Straus Giroux and Macmillan Kids! I am so grateful to work with such a talented team! And as always, big thanks to my agent, Tricia Lawrence! <3

New Chapter Book Series!

I’m super excited to share the news that I have a new chapter book series coming out this fall, 2019!

My Furry Foster Family (Picture Window Books/Capstone) is about an 8-year-old Japanese American girl named Kaita Takano who fosters pets with her family. There are four books in the series for 1st – 2nd graders. The books are adorably illustrated by Melanie Demmer.

I was thrilled to be working again with my editor from the Dorothy and Toto books. And given my background with pets and animals, and my degree in zoology, it was such a joy to write these books! I’m excited to share them with you!

If you happen to be a NetGalley member, you can read and review Truman the Dog. I hope you enjoy! I look forward to sharing the news when they come out later this year!