Jodie Chiemi Ching

“The Kindergarten Dropout of Kapoho” is Miso Soup for the Soul

Frances Kakugawa’s 16th book, “The Kindergarten Dropout of Kapoho,” is part of Legacy Isle Publishing’s recently launched Hali‘a Aloha series, now open to anyone who wishes to write their memoirs but needs guidance in getting started. This program by Legacy, an imprint of Watermark Publishing, offers nine months of self-guided workshops open to writers within and outside Hawai’i.

If the former Herald columnist’s memoir is any indication, Haliʻa Aloha might be a worthwhile investment for aspiring autobiographical authors. Through humorous and heart-warming essays, poetry and prose, Kapoho-born Kakugawa makes us laugh and smile as we enjoy the memories of a “kindergarten dropout.”

The Book

In her autobiography, Kakugawa takes readers back to her childhood in her hometown on the Big Island. The “kindergarten dropout” longed to escape the small-town life and leave Kapoho. In “The Emperor’s Kidnapped Daughter” — one of the book’s 16 written pieces — she insists, “I am here by mistake … I was born in Hirohito’s family, and somebody kidnapped me and brought me here.” Delightful stories in this 108-page collection, in the voice of a punchy young Frances, will make you chuckle.

The Program

Authors who choose to participate in the Hali’a Aloha program may choose from two packages for a fee: The Signature Package ($4,000) includes one-on-one conferences with an editorial team, feedback throughout different stages in the process, a developmental edit of the completed manuscript and access to online workshops and video sessions. The Basic Package ($2,500) is for self-motivated writers who have a clear direction, self-editing skills and are not looking for feedback. Participants will be assigned to a cohort of writers starting at the same time who share the same target release date. The Spring 2021 Session will start from April 19; enrollment closes on April 5. For more information and to register for the next cohort, visit


About Frances Kakugawa

For many years, Kakugawa wrote The Hawai’i Herald’s “Dear Frances,” an advice column for caregivers. She has given lectures, workshops and readings at schools and in community groups nationwide on the subjects of caregiving, teaching, writing and poetry. Kakugawa’s titles include “Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry,” “I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving,” “Echoes of Kapoho” and a series of children’s books featuring a mouse known as Words-worth the Poet.


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