Posts Tagged ‘Wordsworth the Poet’

Announcement by the Unitarian Universalist Society

2425 Sierra Blvd.

Sacramento, CA

Ph: 916-483-9283



June 29
The Gift of Caregiving
Frances Kakugawa, speaking, Lay Leader Mary Howard
Nicholas Dold, guest pianist

10-11 a.m.
Discussion follows at 11:30

Ms. Kakugawa is a poet, writer and teacher.  She’s the author of books for adults and for children about the experience of caring for loved ones with a long-term illness, about the Hawaiian town of her childhood which was buried under a lava flow, and about the challenges of the teacher-student relationship.  For five years, she was the main caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease. She writes a monthly Dear Frances for Caregivers column for the Hawai’i Herald.
A longer talk with discussion will follow the service at 11:30.  Don’t miss this rare appearance by a celebrated speaker.

We’re happy to welcome Nicholas Dold back after his first year working at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and before he heads east for the Duxbury Music Festival where he is on the accompanist faculty.


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Wordsworth the Poet and I will be so delighted to see you in Elk Grove.

Saturday, September 21.

We’ll be signing books at the Jan Ken Po Gakko Arts & Crafts Fair

from 9:30 – noon.  The fair is from 9 – 3:30.


Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Facility

9040 High Tech Court

Elk Grove CA  95758

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WW with notepad

The Suzume No Gakko Summer School in San Jose

invited me to speak to their students in grades 1 – 6,  on being an author. It was to captive audiences that I   shared stories on how my Wordsworth books were written. But when Wordsworth made a surprise visit, the stage became all his.

Wordsworth was pretty excited and it looks like he shaved off his whiskers that morning. One alert first grader brought it to his attention.

WW's tail

Wordsworth promised to dance the waltz with everyone at his next visit.


Ww with kids

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Poor Wordsworth.  There’s no rest for a mouse poet who writes poems to save trees. I sent him to  the Sacramento County Supervisors Office when I heard about a group going in to save the majestic oaks trees that are being destroyed to make room for swimming pools and other home improvements. I hope Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! makes a difference.

WW Oak Tree

Wordsworth was thrilled to be in this photo with Mr. James Schbert, Senior Landscape Architect for the County and Mr. Howard Schmidt, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Susan Peters. Way to go, Wordsworth.

The Bulldozer


    there was a place I sat and wrote

    to music played in my concert grove.


        branches rubbed against branches,

        coconuts dropped to the ground.

        vines snaked and squeaked their way

        seeking the hot noon sun.


        frilly fronds danced the wind,

        lacy limbs brushed their leaves.

        sparrows, mynahs spattered notes

        low c’s, high c’s and in-between.


        it was a place for violins, cellos,

        trombones, flutes, and  piccolos, too.

        Oh, what music to my ears.

        Then the monster came.






      he gobbled up notes

      oh, what a beast.

      he chomped and crushed,

      grunted and groaned,

      belched and gobbled

      everything in sight.


      oh, what a monster,

      oh what a beast

      to eat my trees.

      to eat my trees.


Wordsworth fell asleep thinking, “Gachump, Gachump.”

from Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! by frances kakugawa Watermark Publishing

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Hello Everyone, My books are now available as e-Books. Check out the site below, posted by Watermark Publishing.


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One of my favorite keiki book series returns with its third installment, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! (Watermark, 2012).

The book begins with an opening request from author Frances H. Kakugawa to join the Wordsworth Plant A Tree Society. The gist of it is to plant a tree, have your picture taken doing so, and you’ll receive a Wordsworth certificate along with your photo being featured on her Facebook page. No surprise, I am very eager to join the society and get a certificate; I just need to figure out how to plant a tree! For more info on the Plant a Tree Society and a view of the certificate, visit Frances Kakugawa’s Blog.

In Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!, Wordsworth misses his long-time friend Emily, who recently moved to Maine. Along with his buddies Dylan and Eliot, Wordsworth befriends Akiko, a new student from Japan who sits in Emily’s old seat at school and helps to teach them Japanese poetry. While exploring, the group learn about different wood grains and trees from Wordsworth. In one of my favorite exchanges, one of his friends asks, “Wordsworth, how do you know all this stuff?” To which Wordsworth replies, “Oh, I read it in a book.” Meanwhile, distracted by the melancholy of Emily’s departure, Wordsworth finds his special koa grove decimated by a bulldozer, leaving just one tree left. Through forms of protest, both physical and written, Wordsworth, Akiko and their friends find ways to raise awareness about the importance of saving the trees in our community.

Like previous books in the series, this one is full of poems written by Wordsworth, including a couple by Akiko and their friends. Akiko’s inclusion to the series introduces readers to the ancient Japanese style of tanka poems, which are explained in the introduction as 5-line poems with 31 syllables following a 5-7-5-7-7 format. Aside from learning various forms of Japanese poetry, Wordsworth also continues to teach children the importance of friendship (Wordsworth keeps in touch by writing to his long-distance friend Emily and makes an effort to befriend new student Akiko), reading books (see my favorite exchange in the previous paragraph), the impact of trees on a community’s history and the environment, and of course the power of writing. I always love that this series promotes poetry as a means of not only expressing your personal thoughts and emotions, but that the power of words have the potency not only to describe, but to inspire action.

 What would happen, if all the poets in the world wrote poems to save our forests, rivers, animals, earth, air and oceans? Wouldn’t that be something?

Whether intentional or not, another aspect of the Wordsworth series that I’ve grown to enjoy is how it’s become a vehicle for featuring different local illustrators. Wordsworth the Poet began with Scott Goto, who helped define the lasting look and feel of the Wordsworth series. Wordsworth Dances the Waltz presented the stylistic brush of Melissa DeSica, whose Watermark book Gecko and Mosquito is another favorite of mine. And now Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! is illustrated by Andrew J. Catanzariti, who recently did a fantastic job on the cover art of Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New. Catanzariti continues to honor the classic design of the Wordsworth books while flavoring the illustrations with his own colorful sketching style. One of my favorite sections is towards the end, when each of Wordsworth’s friends writes a poem to save a tree. It brings together varying types of trees and poetry, each punctuated by dynamic portraits of the tree and its mouse savior.

Overall, this is another excellent entry in the Wordsworth the Poet series. Kakugawa’s writing finds ways to encourage children to get involved with issues such as the environment, get interested in different styles of writing such as Japanese poetry, and promote healthy and fulfilling relationships with their peers. Maybe I am biased because I am a big fan, but I highly recommend this book and any in the series as essential keiki reads. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!
by Frances H. Kakugawa; illustrated by Andrew J. Catanzariti
Watermark Publishing, 2012
32 pages, hardcover

For Frances H. Kakugawa events in Hawaii, including readings and book signings for the Wordsworth the Poet series, check out our HBB Events Calendar.

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Hi Everyone, I’m Rascal the cat and Wordsworth has been our house guest for almost two weeks in Hilo.

And it’s getting to be a bore.All I hear is Wordsworth and his trees. And his new book Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!

All this fuss over a mouse that by nature, makes a good dinner for felines.

Big deal. So he plants a tree.


Okay, okay, I’ll play along and  pretend we’re pals…you know, so those humans

will have a new adage: From cats, we will learn to co-habitate for world peace. Sounds  profound. Bring on the camera!

Hmmm…wonder how he tastes? Sorry, my basic instinct just took over.

No, I’m not that of a catnivore.  I don’t dine on  mouse poets in aloha shirts. I eat free range, organic food.  Wordsworth is on his way to Oahu to irritate more of my cousins tomorrow. And I plan to reclaim the tree as the Rascal Tree.


To you humans out there, cats can write poetry, too. I just pawed this in less than 9 minutes.

My Poem

My name is Rascal

Not Sylvester, not Felix.

Not even Tom

With Nemesis Jerry

I am a cat

Without a hat

Just  living my lives

In the Hawaiian isles

‘Til that Wordsworth came

With his Paparazzi

Disrupting  my space

With his mousey face.

By Rascal the cat poet


(Come on, my cat friends, send in your poems.)

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