I'm the author and/or illustrator of more than 36 books and a part-time butterfly wrangler. When I'm not creating books, I enjoy designing origami and paper models for kids.
Growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, I explored tide pools, caught crayfish in island streams, and collected monarch caterpillars from crown flower trees to raise into butterflies.
My mother, an elementary school custodian, never skimped on books. She splurged on a set of World Book Encyclopedias, and I spent hours leafing through the gilt-edged pages. Starting with A for ancient Anatolia, I trekked through the gardens of Babylonia, immersed myself in Cleopatra's man troubles, and explored the ziggurats of Mesopotamia.
Mom also subscribed me to Parent Magazine's Book-of-the-Month Club, which hooked me on picture books and inspired me to write and illustrate spooky stories my teachers politely read. And so began my journey writing and illustrating books!
After graduating from college, I cared for children as a pediatric medical-surgical and oncology nurse. Having my own children rekindled my love for picture books, so in 1994 I exchanged my stethoscope for a paintbrush, and I've been writing and illustrating ever since.
I have worked on more than 40 books, including The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story (written by Anthony Fredericks, Sleeping Bear Press), a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year and Storytelling World Awards Honor recipient in the Pre-Adolescent Listeners category; A is for Aloha (written by Uilani Goldsberry, Sleeping Bear Press), selected by the Hawaii Center for the Book to represent the state at the 2006 National Book Festival; Lullaby Moon (written by Elaine Masters), winner of the 2003 Ka Palapala Po'okela Award for Excellence in Children's Books; and Baby Honu's Incredible Journey, an island children's classic now in its 38th printing.
Children's health and advocacy remain important to me. My favorite project was designing an ocean-themed decal for CT Scan equipment at the local children's hospital. One nurse told me that the bright colors and characters made the procedure less scary for her young patients.
I also love creating educational activities, posters, and origami to support our libraries and environmental agencies--once a nerd, always a nerd!
In the past, I served as a Regional Advisor and an Illustrator Coordinator for the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Today, I live in Windward Oahu with my family, a rabbit, five birds, a cat, and a flatulent bulldog named Roxy.
And I still collect monarch caterpillars.
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