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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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!
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!