Frances H. Kakugawa        
author, poet, lecturer, and educator       

Over the past three decades, Frances H. Kakugawa has written and published numerous books, two of which have given her national acclaim in the area of Alzheimer's caregiving (support for the caregivers).

Frances was born and raised in the plantation village of Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawai'i. When she was five, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a life-changing event for her. At age eighteen, her village was demolished by volcanic eruption.

Frances taught elementary school students for many years in Hawai'i and Michigan, and later transitioned into conducting language arts workshops for teachers in Micronesia and Hawai'i. Most recently, she was both a curriculum writer and a teacher trainer for the University of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i Department of Education.

In 1997, Frances became the primary caregiver for her mother, Matsue, who had developed Alzheimer's disease. Frances found that poetry and journaling helped her to manage the tremendous burden of care. This inspired her to start a journaling and poetry writing support group for caregivers through the Aloha Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. The combined writings from her first sessions are incorporated into her book, Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry.

Her short stories, poetry, and articles have appeared in Bamboo Ridge: The Hawaii Writers' Quarterly, Hawai'i Women's Journal, Write On, HEA ( Hawai'i Education Association), Heiwa: Peace Poetry in English and Japanese, and other periodicals.

In 2002, Frances was listed in Living Legacy: Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawai'i. Her books include Sand Grains; White Ginger Blossom; Golden Spike; The Path of Butterflies; Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry; Teacher, You Look Like A Horse!, and the award-winning children's books, Wordsworth the Poet, and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz.

Her most recent children's book, Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, addresses how children can understand and embrace their aging family members. Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver's Voice, is her most recently published book, and includes sections of writing and poetry from members of her most recent support group.

She lives in Sacramento, California, where she is an active member of the California Writers Club, Sacramento branch, Northern California Publishers & Authors, and the Alzheimer's Association. She continues to conduct a monthly poetry writing support group for caregivers of family members afflicted with Alzheimer's.

Through her writing, workshops, and speaking engagements, Frances demonstrates how writing can transform the lives of those taking care of loved ones, and is a leading advocate of the power of poetry in easing the burden of long-term family care.

For information on how to contact Frances for lectures and workshops for caregivers, educators, professional health care personnel, and students, please visit the contact page.