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In her fourteenth book, Frances H. Kakugawa assembles her collection of poetry spanning sixty years of previously published works and new poems. They range from grappling with answers to existential questions to a compelling need to understand our relationship with nature and the world beyond the self, to a humble wave at an
"My first book of poetry was published when I was in my 30s. Fifty years later, I am still here. Who would have thought poems written in my youth would still speak to me today? My search for self, love, joy and meaning in life continues as it should. Or, perhaps I should say, as it must."
Author Frances H. Kakugawa is an award-winning, internationally published author of fourteen books, and a regular column, "Dear Frances," for caregivers in the Hawai'i Herald. She conducts poetry readings, workshops and lectures throughout the country. In her sessions for adults, Kakugawa shares with honesty and openness the lessons learned from caregiving. Programs for hospital and elder-healthcare professionals focus on humanizing their clinical skills. In her children's workshops, Frances introduces students to poetry as a way to explore and embrace their elders and other aspects of their lives.
"A beautiful and thoughtful exploration of the many emotions and experiences of caregiving for a loved one with dementia. Caregivers reading this book will learn that they are not alone and may also find a way to reframe their caregiving journey."
~Michelle Johnston, Regional Director, Alzheimer's Association Northern California & Northern Nevada Chapter
I Am Somebody
The challenges of Alzheimer's disease, the physical burdens, financial costs, emotional turmoil and family strife can reduce our loved one to a 'he' or a 'she,' a person almost devoid of humanity. As caregivers, our lives revolve around the basics, like doctor's appointments and dressing, feeding and cleaning up after our loved ones. Their life becomes our life; our life becomes theirs. But who are they now that this disease has taken over? And just as important, who are we? In I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer's Caregiving, dignity-in-caregiving advocate Frances H. Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving.
I Am Somebody is a reminder that both loved one and caregiver deserve compassion, respect and a life with dignity. As a caregiver for her Alzheimer's-afflicted mother for many years, Kakugawa often felt embattled and at odds with her mother. Through writing, she had a revelation. "I wrote a poem, from my mother's point of view, imagining what she would say: 'When I soil my clothing, or do something absurd, / Do not tell me, "Why didn't you?" / If I could, I would.' This idea came to haunt me and became my mantra whenever I wanted to shout in exasperation, 'Why did you?' or 'Why didn't you?'"
"Frances' work inspires our capacity for generosity and compassion and motivates us to action. Read, savor and share."
~Mike Splaine, Policy Adviser, Alzheimer's Disease International
Kapoho - Making of a Modern Pompei
In Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, Frances H. Kakugawa shares the stories of her life in the town of Kapoho on the Island of Hawaii, a town that no longer exists. From the wartime drama of "The Enemy Wore My Face"recalling her instant transformation to distrusted "Jap" after the bombing of Pearl Harborto the sweet poignancy of "A One-Chopstick Marriage"the story of her parents' relationship Kakugawa weaves a tapestry of memories drawn from life in a Hawaiian plantation village now buried beneath a blanket of lava.
"Kakugawa's amazing recall of details helps remind us of the beautiful innocence and naivete of youth and the realities of growing up poor in Hawaii, all too cognizant of the ethnic, linguistic and cultural barriers she would have to overcome to realize her literary dreams," says Guy Aoki, Founding President, Media Action Network for Asian Americans. Author Charles Pellegrino calls it "a rare poetic history that will make you think, laugh and cry all at the same time."
Breaking The Silence
Breaking the Silence is an essential book for Alzheimer's caregivers. It's a thoughtful and honest look into what caregivers face each day, coping with incredible pressure, anxiety, and difficult decisions. Frances weaves her poetry and that of six other caregivers together, along with journal entries and advice for the novice poet.
"...a book of enormous hope and transformation."
~Bruce Jennings, Director of Bioethics Center for
Humans and Nature New York, NY
Mosaic Moon is much more than an extraordinary collection of inspirational poetry. Here is a unique resource for anyone with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other long-term illness. Created from poetry workshops conducted by the Alzheimer's Association Aloha Chapter, this writing tool for non-writers is brimming with ideas and techniques for finding solace in journaling and poetry. Designed for both individual caregivers and for support groups organizing workshops, Mosaic Moon offers hope, humor and a powerful antidote to the heavy burden of caregiving.
Wordsworth The Poet
Wordsworth writes poetryabout rainbows made of butterflies and castles in the clouds. But all the other mice in the Hawaiian rain forest make fun of Wordsworth and his "silly" poems, until the day the sun disappears, and the sky rumbles, and the rain begins to fall and fall. That's when Wordsworth takes pen in hand and shows the others how poetry can save the day. In this heartwarming children's story by poet and educator Frances H. Kakugawa, young readers can learn the value of self-expression, then try writing their own poems about the world around them.
Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!
There are so many changes happening in Wordsworth's lifeó his best friend Emily has moved away, a new girl from Japan named Akiko is sitting in Emily's chair at school and, worst of all, a bulldozer has invaded Wordsworth's special koa grove where he thinks up new poems. What should Wordsworth do?
"I would want someone to be nice to Emily," thinks Wordsworth. So he and his friends, Eliot and Dylan, invite Akiko to teach them about Japanese poetry. And what a good thing, too, because it is Akiko who has a clever idea to save the neighborhood trees from being knocked down.
Wordsworth Dances The Waltz
Wordsworth, the little Hawaiian mouse who loves poetry, doesn't understand why there is so much whispering around the house since Grandma came to live with his family. He remembers her last visit, when the house was filled with laughter, and he and Grandma danced around the room together. But now, Wordsworth and his siblings have to walk softly and be quiet so they don't disturb Grandma. In Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, children are introduced to the concept that as grandparents age, they may become different, and even forget important things. Wordsworth finds comfort in writing poems that express his confusion over the changes in his beloved grandparent and the fond memories he has of her more vibrant days. He wonders, "Now that shes losing her memory/She's still my Grandma, isnt she?" The answer, of course, is yesnothing could ever change that. Wordsworth's poems help his family understand that Grandma would still like to do things she always lovedspending time with the family, laughing and dancing.
Wordsworth Dances the Waltz is dedicated to author Frances Kakugawa's late mother, Matsue, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. Frances was her primary caregiver for five years; during that time she found that poetry and journaling helped to ease the rigorous burden of caregiving.
Wordsworth Dances the Waltz received the Bronze Award in the Best Book Overall category, as well as the award for Best Illustrated Children's Book from the Northern California Publishers & Authors (NCPA) group for books published in 2007.
"As with all of Kakugawa's other works, this one provides powerful insights to young and old alike . . . The book makes it clear that the author is no arm-chair story-teller when it comes to caring for and about people."
Wordsworth, It's In Your Pocket
Wordsworth has hardly seen his friends all summer. They have been too caught up in their electronic devices to pay attention to anything around them, and now they are tangled in wires and gadgets! A mysterious old mouse tells him that the secret to saving his friends is in his pocket-what does he have that can help?
Emphasizing creative play, imagination and the fun of the outdoors over the allure of video games, computers and cellular phones, this new Wordsworth adventure is a gentle reminder for families that it's important for young minds to unplug and enjoy real-world friends and activities. Wordsworth, It's In Your Pocket is the fourth book in the award-winning series of Wordsworth books featuring the poetry-loving mouse.