• Author of Up From The Sea, a YA novel in verse about the March, 11, 2011 Greater East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, Crown Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House)–recipient of the 2014 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Multicultural Literature honor and shortlisted for the Green Earth Book Award. Co-Author with Shogo Oketani of YA adventure novel, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind (Tuttle, October, 2013), which received the 2013-2014 APALA Asian Pacific American Award in Young Adult Literature, was shortlisted for the Crystal Kite Award, and was a 2014-2015 Sakura Award nominee.


  • I am a California girl who lives in Tokyo, which I have called home for over a decade. I’m interested in notions of home, exile, and belonging. I often write with my Japanese husband, the Middle Grade novelist Shogo Oketani. Building a bridge from East to West, we’ve collaborated on a Young Adult trilogy about the last living female ninja and her fight to save her indigenous land and tribe, and other books. My new novel, Up from the Sea, is about the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and how kids who’d experienced the 9-11 tragedy helped victims of 3-11. I was in Japan at that time and experienced the tremor. I wanted to record what I saw, heard, and learned from those directly affected by the disaster in the tsunami zone. Can hope remain when all else is lost? Literature gives us that hope for the future.

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    The Single Pine: Haiku Sequence