Blog Archives

Watermark Authors’ Summer Reading List (Part 1)

We asked our authors what books they’ve got on their summer reading list and what they’d suggest you to add to your list. As you might guess, these writers are also voracious readers and were enthusiastic about sharing—some gave us more than one pick!—so we’ve had to split our list into two parts. Here are eight suggestions from six of our authors. (Check in next week for more suggestions!)

Karen Anderson (The Hawaii Home Book)

KarenAndersonOn my reading list: The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle by Rod Gragg (Regnery Publishing, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why it’s on my list: I am planning a trip to Gettysburg and want to read up about the battle. This is a recently published book that includes rare, first-hand accounts, letters, speeches and article by the people who lived through the three-day conflict in 1863.

 

Gov. Benjamin Cayetano (BEN: A Memoir)

BenCayetano_WebI suggest: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro (Knopf Doubleday, 1975)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: I’ve reread this book at least once every other year since I bought it in 1980. Fascinating story about Robert Moses, a powerful public official who virtually built New York.

 

Frances Kakugawa (Kapoho: Memoir of A Modern Pompeii; Mosaic Moon; the Wordsworth the Poet series):

fhk_webOn my reading list: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I consider Murakami one of the best authors out of Japan. He was a strong contender for the Nobel Prize this year. I found his last book IQ84 a masterpiece so am eagerly waiting for his August release of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki.

 

Marion Lyman-Mersereau (Eddie Wen’ Go; contributor, Don’t Look Back):

marion_hdst-(for-web)On my reading list: Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury (Laurel Leaf, 2005)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’m on a mission to read award-winning YA literature.

 

I suggest (and am also re-reading!): The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, reissued 2008)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why I recommend it: I love what she’s done with each character’s unique voice in a separate chapter.

 

Christine Thomas (editor, Don’t Look Back):

ChristineThomas_webOn my reading list: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Little, Brown and Company, 2013)

Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction

Why it’s on my list: I’ve been trying to find time to finish this Booker Prize-winning novel from last year. It’s a beast of book, more than 800 pages, and immediately transports you to the New Zealand gold rush around the time my husband’s great-great grandfather was there making his way in the world.

 

Lance Tominaga (The Hawaii Sports Trivia Challenge; A Prophecy Fulfilled)

I suggest: Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s byJeff Pearlman (Gotham, 2014)

LanceTominagaFiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: I’m not a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, but I still regard their “Showtime” teams of the 1980s to be the most entertaining product in the history of basketball. Big stars, bigger egos and the pressure to win – all wrapped neatly in Hollywood glitz – make for compelling storytelling. Author Jeff Pearlman dug deep to uncover a lot of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and he presents the history of this team in a way that is readable and engaging. It is not only the authoritative look at the 1980s Lakers, it is the finest book I’ve read about any NBA franchise – even better than David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game.

 

I also suggest: Any Given Number—Who Wore it Best, from 0 to 99 by Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated, 2014)

Fiction or non-fiction: Non-fiction

Why I recommend it: Which athlete is the greatest to ever wear number 24? Is it Kobe Bryant? Willie Mays? Ken Griffey Jr. or Jeff Gordon? Written by the staff at Sports Illustrated, this is a fun read for even the most casual of sports fans. From 0 to 99, the book selects the top athletes associated with each number, and lists the deserving also-rans as well. It’s light reading, to be sure, loaded with photos and graphics. But it’s certain to generate debates within your group of sports-loving friends.

Caregiver Events with Frances Kakugawa

FHK_MM_WD

Author Frances Kakugawa and her two caregiving-focused books, Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz. (Author photo by Jason Kimura)

Providing daily care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other long-term illness can be a brutal experience. Author and inspirational speaker Frances H. Kakugawa is well-acquainted with the struggles of caregiving, having served as caregiver for her late mother, Matsue, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. During this time, Frances found that poetry and journaling helped bring dignity to the caregiving experience. A retired educator, she is now an advocate of the power of writing to enrich the lives of children, the elderly and those who care for loved ones with long-term disabilities. Through her writings, workshops, school visitations, readings and speaking engagements nationwide she helps others discover how to view caregiving as a fulfilling experience rather than a burden.

The award-winning author of 11 books, Frances offers monthly writing groups in Sacramento for caregivers and also conducts workshops on poetry and memoir writing and lectures throughout the country. At least once a year, Frances returns to her home state of Hawai‘i to offer caregiving workshops for the public.

This spring, the following opportunities to hear Frances speak are available on the Big Island and O‘ahu:

Hilo:

Thursday, March 6, 5pm
Presentation offered by the Alzheimer’s Assoication
Aging and Disability Resource Center
1055 Kino‘ole Street
Call Chris Ridley, 808-443-7360, to reserve a seat
FREE event

Saturday, March 8, time TBD EVENT CANCELLED
Puna Hongwanji

O‘ahu:

Friday, March 14, 8am to 4:30pm
Third annual St. Francis Hospice Grief Conference
Ko‘olau Ballrooms and Conference Center
45-550 Kionaole Road
Registration required: $130 online / $150 by mail
Register Here

Wednesday, March 19, 4:30-6pm
Workshop: “The Art of Caregiving for Someone with Memory Loss”
15 Craigside Retirement Home – Solarium
15 Craigside Place
FREE Event
Limited space, please register. Contact: Jody Mishan, 295-2624 or jmishan@hawaii.rr.com

Frances’ books on caregiving, Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry and the award-winning children’s book, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, will be available for purchase at her events and can be found at local bookstores and online at www.bookshawaii.net and other online booksellers. Wordsworth Dances the Waltz was named a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient in the category “Crossing Generations.”

Personal Experiences on Pearl Harbor Day

Several titles from Watermark Publishing and Legacy Isle Publishing chronicle the personal experiences of those who lived through the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Four selections have been excerpted below from a range of individuals: a young haole-Hawaiian lawyer who would become a U.S. District Court Chief Judge; a Christian minister of Japanese descent arrested after the bombing; a young girl living in a tiny Big Island village; and a Japanese-American ROTC college student who volunteered for service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Samuel P. King, Judge Sam King: A Memoir

Born in China and raised in the Territory of Hawai‘i, Samuel Pailthorpe King was the part-Hawaiian son of the territorial Governor Samuel Wilder King, a grandson of the minister of the interior of the former Republic of Hawai‘i and a great-grandson of a Supreme Court justice of the former kingdom of Hawai‘i. King passed away on December 7, 2010.

From Chapter Five, “The War Years”:

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, I was asleep in Honolulu. I was a relatively new lawyer and was living at the Mānoa home of my Uncle Bill, Dad’s younger brother. My cousin Billy came in my room and said, “Sunny, Sunny. They’re doing maneuvers. Let’s go take a look.” My childhood nickname was “Sunny Bunny,” because of my optimistic nature, I suppose.

I jumped out of bed and got dressed. That’s when a neighbor yelled, “Turn on your radio! Turn on your radio! The Japanese are attacking!”

On the radio we heard Webley Edwards say the famous line, “The Rising Sun has been sighted on the wingtips.” The authorities came on and said, “Stay home. Don’t go parading around, making things worse.”

We could see airplanes from our house, but the attack didn’t last all that long—maybe an hour and a half.

Norman H. Osumi, Today’s Thought —Rev. Paul S. Osumi: The Man and His Message

A Christian minister, Rev. Paul Osumi was interned for the remainder of World War II at three different detention and internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After his release and return to Hawai‘i, he ministered at several churches throughout the state. For more than 35 years, he inspired generations of readers with his daily newspaper column, “Today’s Thought.” His son, Norman H. Osumi, is a retired banker who has spent the past decade researching his father’s life and ministry to complete this book.

From Chapter Three, “Arrest After Pearl Harbor”:

It changed my father’s and our family’s lives forever when the United States declared war on Japan following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Father talked very little about what happened to him after the war started. I can only imagine what he went through as a 36-year-old Christian minister with a young family.

The Secretary of War issued a warrant of arrest for Father on the same day Pearl Harbor was attacked. It read:

YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to take the body of PAUL SUTEKICHI OSUMI alias SUTEKICHI OKADA on suspicion of being an alien enemy of the United States, and to detain said person pending final action by the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, United States Army. This Warrant of Arrest is issued under the authority of the Secretary of War of the United States by his delegated agent this 7 day of December, 1941.

Many thoughts go through my mind when I read this. First, Father was never known by the alias “Sutekichi Okada” in any of the documents I have in my possession. Sometimes I wonder if the government arrested the wrong person.

Frances H. Kakuagwa, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii

Born and raised in the village of Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Frances H. Kakugawa is an author of ten books who has received numerous awards from literary and family caregiving organizations. A retired educator, she currently gives lectures, workshops and readings to schools and community groups nationwide on the subjects of caregiving, teaching, writing and poetry.

From Chapter One, “The Enemy Wore My Face”:

Under the rising sun, / The enemy came / Wearing my face.

My face changed forever that Sunday afternoon. It seemed a same-same Sunday. My parents were at a neighbor’s birthday party, and I was home with my brothers and sister. There were comics on the floor, dishes in the sink and the sense of nothing to do that usually came on the weekends.

That particular Sunday, however, changed everything. Mr. Ito was listening to his radio.

“Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at anyone he saw along the road. “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at the birthday guests as he rushed on to spread the news. The party immediately broke up, and everyone hurried home.

My father rushed into the house, followed by his neighbors.

“Turn the radio on. Turn the radio on!” Everyone stood in front of the radio, shouting above the crackling voice of the announcer.

“Are you sure he said Japan?”

“Where’s Pearl Harbor?”

“This means trouble. This means trouble.”

“This means war.”

“Are you sure he said Japan?”

I knew something was wrong when no one went into the kitchen to prepare lunch. I was hungry, but no one paid any attention to me. All I heard were arguments and loud voices. That was the day I learned to be afraid. That was the day I learned that there was an enemy, an enemy who would wear my face, an enemy who would not be forgotten or forgiven in the years to come. Shame, humiliation and a host of confused thoughts would now become my shadow. I would hear “Jap” for the first time. We were Americans, I knew that. We were fighting the same enemy, I knew that, too. The face I saw in the mirror looked American to me, and I’d had no reason to believe, up to then, that anyone else saw anything different. The day Mr. Ito went running around the village with the news was the day my face no longer belonged to me.

Ted T. Tsukiyama, contributor, Japanese Eyes, American Heart: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers

Born in 1920, Ted Tsukiyama volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and became a language specialist with the Military Intelligence Service serving in India and Burma in the Pacific war. A scholar of the Japanese-American experience and the nisei soldiers of World War II, he is the historian for the VVV, the 442nd and MIS in Hawai‘i.

From Chapter Six, “CHUGI (Loyalty): The Right Person, The Right Time,” “VVV”:

Sunday, December 7, 1941, 7:55 a.m. will remain etched in my memory forever. I couldn’t sleep because of the constant rumbling of what I thought was thunder. Going outside, I saw the sky black with smoke, punctuated by puffs of white aerial bursts. “They’re sure making this maneuver look real!” I thought. Turning on the radio, I heard the KGU announcer screaming, “Take cover! Get off the streets! We are being attacked by Japanese planes! This is the real McCoy! Take cover!”

I was stunned with surprise and shock, then with disbelief and denial: This just can’t be happening! When the realization sunk in, I first felt guilt and shame for being Japanese, followed by a dark foreboding of the suffering in store for anyone who was Japanese. I condemned the Japanese attackers: “You stupid, damned fools! Who do you think you are, attacking our great country?” I harbored these feelings of anger, outrage and hatred for our attackers for the rest of the war.

The night of December 7 was the longest, darkest and wildest night that I can recall. When we finally lay down on the Armory floor, however, physically and emotionally exhausted, sleep would not come. We feared the enemy would attack us again at any time. One of our airplanes flew low over the city, prompting a nearby machine gun to clatter into action. Sudden bursts of occasional gunfire outside were nerve-wracking, where anything that moved was shot at. No enemy appeared, but the next morning dead cattle, dogs and other pets were found around the city.

We Did Not Go Gentle

When it is all over
I will shout so all can hear.

“We put up a great fight, didn’t we?
We didn’t just sit back and cower with fear,
We didn’t just sit back and curse this thief
As he quietly stole into our lives.”

This final poem in our series of posts to bring attention to National Alzheimer’s Awareness and National Family Caregivers’ Month is from Mosaic Moon. Author Frances Kakugawa continues her imagery of Alzheimer’s as a thief, one to be fought against bravely, and with dignity.

In addition to the graphic posted below, we created a video to go along with Frances’ reading of this poem at a presentation for the Hawaii Child & Family Services organization. To see more videos for Frances’ readings, visit our YouTube channel or her blog.

Wordsworth the Poet’s Poe-TREE Contest

Frances H. Kakugawa, author of the Wordsworth the Poet children’s books, and Watermark Publishing announce the Wordsworth the Poet “Poe-TREE Contest,” open to children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. (Contest rules follow.)

In Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! — the newest Wordsworth the Poet adventure released this month — a bulldozer has invaded the little mouse’s special koa grove where he often writes his poems. What should Wordsworth do? His new friend, Akiko, has an idea! Wordsworth, Akiko and their friends, Dylan and Eliot, have all written poems about the special qualities of the trees they see around them — mango trees, coconut trees, kukui trees. Akiko tacks poems to each tree and reminds their neighbors of how important a part of their community the trees really are.

To enter the Wordsworth the Poet Poe-TREE Contest, kids can follow Wordsworth and his friends’ example and write a poem that celebrates their favorite tree. For an example, see Akiko and Eliot’s “Save This Tree” poems (above and below; click on the images to enlarge).

Six prize packages will be awarded, two per grade division (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12). Each prize package includes a copy of each of the three books in the Wordsworth series, a child’s gardening tool kit and a Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

Send entries ATTN: Wordsworth’s Poe-TREE Contest to wordsworth@bookshawaii.net or to Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop St., Ste. 310, Honolulu, HI 96813. Download an entry form here.

Contest Rules:

  • The contest is open to all children kindergarten through 12th grade residing in the United States.
  • Each entry must include the child’s name, age and grade, school, hometown and parent, guardian or teacher’s contact information and signature. Download an entry form here.
  • Poem must be about the entrant’s favorite tree.
  • Winning poems will be selected by the judges, including Frances Kakugawa, based on creativity and poetic merit.
  • Materials submitted will not be returned.
  • Entries must be received by January 15, 2013 DEADLINE EXTENDED: March 1, 2013.
  • Winners will be notified February 1, 2013 April 15, 2013. Winners may be asked to submit a photo of themselves for publicity purposes. Winners’ name, hometown and likeness may be used for publicity purposes.

For those who are ineligible to enter the Poe-TREE Contest, or who aren’t inclined to write poetry, Frances and Wordsworth have another way to celebrate trees: They invite readers far and wide to plant trees in their own communities. “It’s not only about trees being cut down where we live,” Frances writes in the introduction to Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! “Our children and their children must have trees in their future to hug and enjoy and sit under in the shade. Trees also help keep us alive and healthy.”

Frances has created Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society to recognize readers of all ages who plant a tree in Wordsworth’s honor. To receive a membership certificate in the Plant A Tree Society, readers must plant a tree for Wordsworth in their community (in the backyard or at school, for example) and post a photo of themselves with their tree on Wordsworth’s Facebook page. Photo submissions should indicate the variety of the tree and where it was planted. Submissions may also be e-mailed to wordsworth@bookshawaii.net or mailed to Watermark Publishing. Photos will not be returned and will be posted online.

We understand that not everyone can plant a tree in their own backyard, so we have teamed up with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to offer a solution: A program to plant Wordsworth Legacy Koa Trees on Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ 1,000 acres of conservation land on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Groups or individuals may sponsor a Wordsworth Legacy Tree for $60. The purchase also includes a copy of Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!, a certificate bearing the GPS coordinates of the planted tree, and automatic membership in Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society. Additionally, $10 of the sponsorship fee will be directed to a fund dedicated to providing Legacy Trees for underprivileged children. Wordsworth Legacy Trees may be purchased at http://legacytrees.org/watermarkpublishing.

We are very excited to work with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to help return native growth to the Hamakua Coast! The land set aside by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods for this conservation program once belonged to King Kamehameha I, and some original koa trees still remain on the property. HLH uses seeds from these ancient Hawaiian trees to grow the Legacy Trees. Each tree is implanted with an RFID chip which transmits information on the tree’s growth, as well as identifying it as the sponsor’s tree. What an amazing project!

Please Don’t — How Can Writing Help Caregivers?

November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

On the surface, it’s hard to see the connection between writing — much less poetry writing — caregiving and Alzheimer’s disease. Frances explains:

What is there when poetry appears on paper, and after? There is the reality of what Alzheimer’s disease is and how caregiving forces you and your loved one to live in the center of this disease. In our pursuit of using writing to understand this disease, our loved ones, and ourselves, the reality of what this disease does is not forgotten nor swept under the art of poetry or song.  It forces us, along with our loved ones, to reinvent ourselves and to continuously examine what it is that we are inventing and for whom.

In “Please Don’t” (from Mosaic Moon), Frances acknowledges the fear that Alzheimer’s brought into her home.

The Lie — Caregivers and Coping with Alzheimer’s

November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Frances views writing as a valuable tool for caregivers, a way to find release. “Writing requires no special tools, only a pen and your voice.” It is a safe place for caregivers to express their innermost thoughts, even the feelings of anger or sadness that we may find shameful to reveal to others.

My hope for caregivers is that my poetry and the poems and stories of those who have contributed their work to my books, Mosaic Moon and Breaking the Silence, will give you comfort, help you feel you are not alone, and encourage you to join our voices in preserving the life that must go on during and after caregiving. Only then can we confront this thief that comes into our lives.

The following poem, “The Lie,” appears in Mosaic Moon, along with more of Frances’ work and contributions from members of her caregivers’ writing workshop, led by Frances for the Alzheimer’s Association Aloha Chapter.

At the Senior Fair – An Alzheimer’s Awareness Poem

November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Says Frances:

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most baffling and arduous journeys for caregivers and loved ones. Even while we are burdened with the everyday stresses, like cleaning up BM and repeating the same thing over and over until we want to scream, we need discover how to muddle through so dignity and honor can be preserved. It becomes our mission to give care to ourselves so our loved ones can in turn, receive the best from us. Writing can give us that way to care for ourselves.

This excerpt from the poem “Senior Fair” captures Frances’ thoughts as she takes a shift in the Alzheimer’s Association’s booth at a senior health expo. “Senior Fair” can be found in its entirety in Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry.

We invite you to share these weekly poems and graphics via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter — or however else you like — and help us raise awareness that as difficult as it may be to cope with Alzheimer’s and caring for loved ones, there are resources to provide help. Many families struggle with finding effective ways to deal with the burdens of caring for older relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s. Author Frances Kakugawa offers a simple start: Wouldn’t the caregiving experience be better if we started by treating our loved ones with dignity? If we remembered who they are as people, instead of only being frustrated that they don’t remember what we just said?

Wordsworth Honors Alzheimer’s Awareness & Family Caregivers Month

November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

We invite you to share these poems and graphics via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter — or however else you like — and help us raise awareness that as difficult as it may be to cope with Alzheimer’s and caring for loved ones, there are resources to provide help. Many families struggle with finding effective ways to deal with the burdens of caring for older relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s. Author Frances Kakugawa offers a simple start: Wouldn’t the caregiving experience be better if we started by treating our loved ones with dignity? If we remembered who they are as people, instead of only being frustrated that they don’t remember what we just said?

In Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, Wordsworth’s grandmother comes to live with the family…but she’s rather different than the last time Wordsworth saw her.

All of Frances Kakugawa’s books, including Wordsworth Dances, are 35% off at our online store through the end of November. Use coupon code ALZCARE12 during checkout to claim the discount.

Author Frances Kakugawa will be making a number of appearances throughout November. Visit our website for her schedule.

November is Nat’l Alzheimer’s Awareness and Nat’l Family Caregivers Month

November is both National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month. To commemorate this occasion, every week we will be posting a poem by Frances H. Kakugawa, author of Mosaic Moon and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, titles aimed at helping caregivers and families cope with the stress of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

In Hawai‘i, although many families share multi-generational homes, caregivers often have difficulty finding effective ways to deal with the burdens of caring for older relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s. The experience can be stressful and frustrating, as well as confusing for young children, and Frances strives to help families better cope with the changed “new” person in their lives.

To start off our series of posts, here is an excerpt from Frances’ poem, “Emily Dickinson, I’m Somebody,” which can be found in its entirety in Mosaic Moon.

All of Frances’ books are 35% off at our online store through the end of November. Use coupon code ALZCARE12 during checkout to claim the discount.

Frances will be making a number of appearances throughout November. Visit our website for her schedule.

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