After dreaming about it for a very long time, I’m thrilled to announce that two of my children’s stories will be published this year by Lee Press, an imprint of Oghma Creative Media. Artist Dawne Michelle Smith will illustrate the books, and as you might imagine, I can’t wait to see her renditions!
Both middle grade stories are based on the friendship of Sachi Kimura and Jubie Lee Franklin, two characters taken from my historical fiction, The Red Kimono.
Xs and Os is the story of the day Sachi and Jubie first met. Though Sachi lives in an internment camp behind barbed wire and Jubie lives in the town outside of camp, and though their skin color is different from the other’s, they find they have a few things in common that will bind their friendship for years.
In The Magical Red Kimono, Sachi teaches Jubie a Japanese dance while letting Jubie wear her mama’s “borrowed” red kimono. Jubie has an easy time with the moves. Her real struggle is with all the new Japanese words Sachi tries to teach her–like obi, obon and bon-odori. Sachi giggles plenty at her friend’s confusion, but in the end, though Jubie’s skin is a different color, Sachi believes she dances as beautifully as any Japanese person.
From the beginning, I’ve loved the friendship between Sachi and Jubie. Maybe it’s because writing about these two little girls invites the little girl inside me to come out and play.
I hope bringing these stories to middle grade readers will teach about Japanese culture, as well as a few historical events. Most of all, I hope Sachi and Jubie will show the value of accepting and appreciating our differences.
The Magical Red Kimono is schedule for release June 2015. Xs and Os is scheduled for release October 2015.