Chieri Uegaki - Author
Chieri is a second-generation Japanese Canadian who was born in Quesnel, British Columbia. By the age of one, she and her parents had moved to East Vancouver, where she and her two younger sisters grew up.
Chieri attended Sir John Franklin Elementary. Initially, she had to take English as a Second Language classes as she spoke mostly Japanese at home. An excellent ESL teacher and an inherited love of books helped develop Chieri's skills quickly, and language arts became one of her favorite subjects.
After graduating from Templeton Secondary School, Chieri attended the University of British Columbia and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
Chieri's first picture book, Suki's Kimono, was a result of losing two children's writing competitions. She took a story she had written at UBC almost a decade earlier, rewrote it as a picture book and submitted it to a competition. After being shortlisted in that first competition, Chieri honed the story even more and entered a second competition. Again, Suki's Kimono did not win. But as a result of being shortlisted, two publishers requested a copy of the manuscript, and Kids Can Press came back with an offer to publish.
Suki's Kimono, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch, was released in 2003. Chieri enjoyed the picture book experience so much that she decided to continue writing for children.
She has since written stories for Pearson Education, Chirp and Chickadee magazines, and has published three more picture books: Rosie and Buttercup; Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin; and Ojiichan's Gift.
Chieri lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and two undertrained dogs. She wishes she had stuck with her childhood piano lessons and that she was a naturally gifted singer.