Originally from Massachusetts, for over twenty years I've lived, worked, and raised a family in Japan. My books reflect this bilingual, insider-outsider, cross-cultural life.
I sometimes tackle difficult topics in my books--bullying, grief, displacement, loss . . . and, because I studied biology, wildlife and nature often meander through my stories. I write poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, and I'm always stirring up some new stories.
Two new picture books launched in spring 2018. Enjoy!
Falling into the Dragon's Mouth confronts school bullying in Japan. In this 2016 NCTAsia Freeman Book Award title, Jason--a sixth grader, orange belt in aikido, and big brother--struggles to cope with escalating aggression at school and thinks aikido will help him. Read 30 companion #NoticePoems on my hatbooks blog .
Orchards won the 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Bicultural Kana is a Japanese and Jewish/American girl sent from her home in New York to spend the summer with relatives in Japan after the death by suicide of a classmate. As Kana is immersed in the mikan orchards of the tiny village of Kohama, she tries to make sense of what happened.
Download the Orchards Book Group Discussion Guide HERE.
The Language Inside is about displacement, poetry, noodles, love and language. A YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults title and a 2014 Notable Books for the Language Arts selection, this verse novel includes poems and many poem references. Read the story behind the story here,.
Download the Discussion, Writing, Activity and Service Guide for The Language Inside HERE.
The Wakame Gatherers features bicultural Nanami going seaweed gathering with her Japanese and American grandmothers. While translating for the two women, she comes to understand they were at war when they were her age. A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Included after the story are an author’s note about wakame, a glossary of Japanese words used, and recipes for wakame by Nanami and each of her grandmothers.
Download the Teacher's Guide for The Wakame Gatherers. And visit Texts and Contexts: Teaching Japan Through Children's Literature online curriculum, a collection of teacher-developed, standards-based, cross-curricular K-6 lessons, featuring The Wakame Gatherers.