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Acclaimed Caregiving Advocate and Author to Present in Hilo

February 25, 2018, 10:00 AM HST (Updated February 26, 2018, 9:27 AM)
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Frances Kurugawa’s new book is called “Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless.” Courtesy images.

Local award-winning author and educator Frances H. Kakugawa will conduct a free public book signing and presentation on bringing dignity to the aging process on Saturday, March 3, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Basically Books in Hilo.

Kakugawa is a former teacher and caregiver who advocates for treating the elderly and others with long-term illness to foster personal connection and growth. Nationally renowned for her efforts, Kakugawa just released her fourteenth book, “Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless.”

“Age does not define us, life does,” said Kakugawa. “My first book of poetry was published when I was in my thirties. Fifty years later, I am still here. Who would have thought poems written in my youth would still speak to us today? My search for self, love, joy and meaning in life continues.”

Her latest work is an anthology of poetry spanning sixty years, including previously published works and new poems grappling with existential questions. Poetry offered Kakugawa a lifeline during her years as a caregiver for her mother who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. She began offering workshops for caregivers to teach them what she had learned. Through her writing, workshops, school visits, readings and speaking engagements nationwide, she now helps adults and children discover how to use writing to enrich their own lives. She also pens “Dear Frances,” a regular column on caregiving in The Hawai‘i Herald.

Kakugawa was born and raised on Hawai‘i Island in Kapoho, a plantation village destroyed by lava in 1960. During her years as an educator, she taught in Hawai‘i, Micronesia and Michigan, and lectured at the University of Hawai‘i. She is the recipient of the Hawai‘i-Pacific Gerontological Society Award for her work with the elderly and appears in “Living Legacy: Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawai‘i.”

Kakugawa’s books will be available at the signing event and are also sold at retailers, online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at www.bookshawaii.net.

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