By Wayne Harada
Author Frances H. Kakugawa, a Pahoa native and former Honolulu educator who now resides in Sacramento, is home for a well-timed visit.
November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers’ Month, and Kakugawa is a seasoned speaker on both Alzheimer’s and caregiving. She was caregiver to her mom, who had Alzheimer’s, so she speaks from the heart — and has written about her personal experiences in several books that also embrace her love and joy of poetry. So her voice is worth listening to.
Kakugawa also has a new book, “Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!,” third in a series of children’s volumes about a Hawaiian mouse, so the author is here to launch this Watermark publication. With an environmental theme of getting children tuned in to cherishing and planting trees for a greener future, Kakugawa and her mousey sidekick Wordsworth recently planted a koa tree seedling in an ongoing reforesting project at Hamakua, on the Big Island. In “Bulldozer,” a community faces the possibility of a loss of trees, and Wordsworth and his friends find a way — Kakugawa taps poetry as a vehicle — to reminder us all how trees are different and why they are important in life.
In her caregiving expression, Kakugawa advocates the power of poetry in the caregiving process to build bridges between caregiver and patient, an effortless and meaningful means to deal with emotion and pain. It's an expression she's shared here and across the Mainland.
Kakugawa has published 10 books, including “Wordsworth Dances the Waltz,” “Wordsworth the Poet,” “Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry,” “Breaking the Silence,” “Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii,” “Teacher, You Look Like a Horse.” ...
Kakugawa’s upcoming appearances:
• Saturday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m., Barnes & Noble Kahala Mall — Children’s book reading and book signing. A portion of book sales will benefit the University of Hawaii-Manoa Children’s Center.
• Saturday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. “Kapoho” presentation, 9:30 am.; book signing, 10 to 10:30 a.m.; aging with dignity presentation 10:30 to 11 a.m.; children’s book reading, 11 to11:30 a.m.; book signing, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Hibiscus Ballroom, Ala Moana Hotel. Kakugawa gives the keynote address at 9 a.m.; caregiver’s pen workshop, 11 a.m. Registration: 877-926-8300 or http://aarp.cvent.com/urbancare.