School Visit!

Thank you Cutchogue East Elementary School for the warm and wonderful welcome!

I spoke with the 2nd and 3rd graders about being a writer, Jasmine Toguchi, mochi, and dreaming big! I loved the origami pals the students made from the activity in Super Sleuth. The students were enthusiastic and attentive, and I enjoyed having lunch with the librarian, Mary Charters, who set up the visit. Sending thanks to the principal, staff, and the students! What a fabulous library and school!



Happy Girl’s Day at Newtonville Books

I had an absolutely wonderful time celebrating Girl’s Day at Newtonville Books on Saturday, March 3.  Girl’s Day or Hinamatsuri (doll festival) is a Japanese celebration honoring girls.

My mom and me on Girl’s Day with the traditional set of dolls representing the Imperial Court

Thank you to the amazing staff – Deb, Margaret, Guna, and to Nikki who set it all up, and to Mary Cotton, fabulous owner who stopped by to say hello (and get books signed)!

Gratitude to the families and kids who showed up to learn about Girl’s Day and hear me read from Jasmine Toguchi Super Sleuth. I showed the kids a doll from my Girl’s Day display and everyone seemed to enjoy the mochi my husband made. We had fun folding origami, too!

Thanks to my husband, Bob Florence, and friend and blogger Mia Wenjen for the photos!


Kid-Friendly Event at the Pao Arts Center


On Saturday, October 28 at the Pao Arts Center in Boston’s Chinatown, I had the pleasure of working with Susan Tan, author of the middle grade book Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire.

Families with kids joined us on a beautiful day – we read from our books and ran activities and crafts.

Even the parents participated! We talked about how Jasmine Toguchi and Cilla Lee-Jenkins could possibly be friends and pen pals, and invited kids to write postcards to either Jasmine or Cilla.

The kids were invited to create their own Monster Fighters from Susan’s book, and to fold their own origami pals from Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth.

After the activities, Susan and I signed books for readers, passed out bookmarks, stickers, and pins, and answered questions. It was a fun and wonderful day!

Check out this lovely coloring job of Jasmine by a talented 7-year-old girl:

You can download the Jasmine Toguchi activities and join in the fun!

I am available for school visits. I’m currently booking for Spring 2018.

Junior Library Guild

I am so very honored that Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen is a Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 selection. Yesterday I received my award package with my certificate!

I am filled with deep gratitude to the Junior Library Guild.

Podcast with Clever Cookstr

I owe you all a huge blog post with details from my recent book signings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, with a bit about my trip to NYC with my agent and a friend.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a link to an interview I did with Kara Rota of the fascinating and fun Clever Cookstr podcast. After you listen to me talk about my inspiration for Jasmine, my childhood food memories, and making mochi, be sure to check out her other interviews,  too!

Clever Cookstr: Why Mochi is the Perfect Dessert for Kids

Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl

Book 3, Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl is available for pre-order!

Pub date: April 3, 2018

It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths―tree-climbing, mochi making, collage―none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent.

When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent―and the difference between being the best and trying your best.

Pre-order at your favorite indie bookstore or online

Jasmine Toguchi Activity Downloads!

Here are some fun Jasmine Toguchi activities you can do with your kids and students! Click on the image for a free download. I’d love to see what your readers come up with. Please share on social media with #JasmineToguchiBooks. Thank you and enjoy!

Jasmine Toguchi: Paper Dolls


Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Recipe


Jasmine Toguchi: Cooking and Community


Jasmine Toguchi: Origami


Jasmine Toguchi: Name Tags


Have fun!


Catch A Reader, Get A Bookmark

Thank you to everyone for making launch week for Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth amazing and wonderful! It lifted my heart to get your notes and social media boosts, and I loved seeing so many familiar faces at my launch party at Bank Square Books last week! Thank you!

I’ve also loved seeing photos of Jasmine Toguchi out in the wild! If you post a pic of you and/or your child reading either Mochi Queen or Super Sleuth, please let me know. I would love to send you a signed bookmark and stickers. Best way to let me know is by tagging me on social media (@DebbiMichiko on Twitter and jasminetoguchi or d.michiko.f on Instagram) or contacting me via my contact form. DM or email me at with your mailing address.

But wait! There’s more! Every person who posts a picture by August 21, will be entered in a random drawing for a grand prize. The Jasmine Toguchi basket includes a Mochi Queen t-shirt (L),  flamingo plush, mochiko (for mochi recipe), chopsticks, and a free 30-minute classroom Skype visit.

Stay tuned here for some fabulous and free downloadable activities you and your kids can do! Happy reading and thank you again!

Happy Book Birthday!

Today is my book birthday! The culmination of 17 years of writing, revising, learning, growing, accumulating rejections, and writing again. I talk more about this dream come true on Emu’s Debuts, the blog for The Erin Murphy Literary Agency’s debut authors.

There are so many people I want to thank, because without them, I would not be celebrating today. This list could be so much longer because along the way so many people have helped me, encouraged me, buoyed me, but in the interest of keeping this short and sweet, here are the people I want to thank most for Jasmine Toguchi.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to – my editor Grace Kendall of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and my agent Tricia Lawrence of The Erin Murphy Literary Agency because without either of them, Jasmine would not be in the world today. My husband Bob and my daughter Caitlin, and my mom, stepdad, and sister for believing in me all along. My writing group of well over a decade, Jo Knowles and Cindy Faughnan, who have read and critiqued many manuscripts and many drafts over the years – and never gave up on me. To my additional writing partners who read and offered feedback for Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen – Jennifer Groff, Cynthia Lord, and Debby Garfinkle. To Elizabet Vukovic for bringing Jasmine and her friends to life and to Kristie Radwilowicz for the fabulous book design that made me nostalgic for the Japanese manga of my childhood. To the entire FSG team for being so enthusiastic about Jasmine. And to all of my friends, family, and writing pals (including the LiveJournal community back in the mid-2000s) who supported me, cheered me on, guided me, and helped me – THANK YOU!

The day after: And thank you to everyone for sharing and posting and blogging and tweeting. You all made my book birthday more amazing and special than I ever dreamed. Stay tuned next week for a fun opportunity to get signed bookmarks!




What People Are Saying About Jasmine Toguchi…


Here are a few lists and interviews of me/Jasmine Toguchi:


Author Spotlight Friday – Interview with me about Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer on Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester


Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen is a nominee for the 2021 Nutmeg Book Award (CT).


Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl – 2019 Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Transitional Readers.

Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl – 2018 Cybils Award winner for Early Chapter Books

Interview with me and illustrator Elizabet Vukovic on the Cybils Award blog

Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl – Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education CCBC Choices 2019 List (Best of the Year)

Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen is on the We Are Kid Lit Collective 2019 Summer Reading List

Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen is a nominee for the Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Book Award

Sweet review by mom and daughter readers: How I Found Our New Favorite Series


Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl and Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper – the Chicago Public LIbrary’s Best of 2018 List

On Matthew Winner’s The Children’s Book Podcast

A conversation w Jennifer Laughran about chapter books, Jasmine Toguchi, ducks, and more on #Literaticast: Mochi Pounding Madness with Guest Author Debbi Michiko Florence

An interview with me on First Book

Review of Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper on Imaginary Elevators: When You Wish Upon a Daruma Doll

Review of Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl on Imaginary Elevators: Jasmine Toguchi Stands Up For Girls

Review of Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl on Imaginary Elevators: Jasmine Toguchi: What Was A Talent Anyway?

Review of Jasmine Toguchi Super Sleuth on Imaginary Elevators: Jasmine Toguchi, Girl Detective

Q&A with the Westerly Sun (Rhode Island)

On KidLitExchange: I talk about my inspiration for writing the Jasmine Toguchi series

On Book Riot: Karina Yan Glaser shares her top 20 favorite book releases for April 3, including Drummer Girl!

On Bank Street College’s 2018 Best Children’s Books of the Year

Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper Book Trailer and Review

On Bridget and the Books: A reader review of Flamingo Keeper

On NPS Station: A reader video review of Flamingo Keeper

Mochi Queen is a 2019 Blue Hen award nominee for the state of DE

Mochi Queen is a 2019 OTTER award nominee for the state of WA

Drummer Girl is a Junior Library Guild 2018 selection!

Drummer Girl is a 2018 Nerdy Book Club Club Award Winner

Drummer Girl is a 2018 Cybils Award Finalist

Flamingo Keeper is a Junior Library Guild 2018 selection!

Mochi Queen is a student-voted Big Splash Gold Medal winner at the Singapore American School


Previous interviews and lists:

On Emu’s Debuts: Interview with Jasmine Toguchi editor, Grace Kendall

On Alphabet Soup: Chatting with Debbi Michiko Florence about Jasmine Toguchi

On Chicago Public Library’s Best Fiction for Younger Readers of 2017

On Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017

On Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books of Kids List (2017)

A 2017 Nerdy Book Club Award Winner

On the 2018 Amelia Bloomer Booklist

On Washington Post: These Books Can Help Build Strong Girls – and Boys – for Today’s World

On Clever Cookstr podcast: Why Mochi is the Perfect Dessert for Kids

On Kirby Larson’s Blog for Friend Friday: 10 Things about Jasmine Toguchi and Me

On Romper: 16 Books For Kids That Challenge Gender Stereotypes and Open Their Minds

On Bridget and the Books: A review for Jasmine Toguchi Super Sleuth

On Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook: new transitional chapter book series

On The Book Wars: Jasmine Toguchi, Chapter Book Star!

On Pragmatic Mom: Recognizing Children’s Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

On 100 Scope Notes: 1o to Note Summer Preview 2017

On Amazon’s Summer Book Club: New Favorite Series for Kids

On Read Brightly: 17 New Authors of Color Writing Writing Much-Needed Stories for Kids

On Chris Barton’s Blog: an interview with me “I hope I wasn’t the mean cousin Eddie…” 

On Flowering Minds, Children’s Book Review Site: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen plus Interview

On John Valeri’s Blog: Child Culture: Debbi Michiko Florence on Jasmine Toguchi

On Little Crooked Corner: Summer Reading Picks

On KateOnKidsBooks: book review

On Read It Real Good: book review

On Mom Read It: book review

On School Library Journal: SLJ’s June 2017 Popular Picks

On Elizabeth O. Dulemba’s blog: My Journey


And what trade reviews are saying about Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen:

“Florence paints a lovely picture of a warm, extended family whose members truly care about one another and take each other seriously. New readers thirsty for series fiction will look forward to more stories about Jasmine and her family.” –Kirkus Reviews 

“Florence introduces readers to a bright character who is grappling with respecting authority while also forging her own path. This first entry nicely balances humor with the challenges of growing up; readers will devour it.”School Library Journal

“Florence warmly traces Jasmine’s efforts to get strong (and fast), her clashes and tender moments with her family, and the ins and outs of making mochi (a recipe is included). Vukovic’s b&w spot illustrations evoke Japanese Sumi-e painting while playfully capturing Jasmine’s willfulness and her family’s closeness.”Publisher’s Weekly

“…an adorable and heartwarming story about a kid who wants to feel special and do something first for once, along with a nice overview of a Japanese New Year celebration.”Booklist

This first in the series handily introduces a plucky, strong-willed girl whose family traditions may be new to many readers but whose frustrations will be familiar to nearly all.”The Horn Book

“The Toguchi family’s warmth and affection for one another will leave readers eager to spend more time with them.”Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Plus, I’m thrilled to share that Mochi Queen is a Junior Library Guild selection for September 2017!


Thank you for letting me share my joy and excitement here! Please check out my Visit & Events page for information about my upcoming appearances. If I show up near you, I’d love to meet you!