Chieri Uegaki - Author

Chieri Uegaki

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.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

2015 - Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Writer, The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Winner
2015 - USBBY Outstanding International Books, honor list, International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), Winner
2015 - Notable Books for a Global Society (NBGS) List, Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group, Winner
2015 - Maine State Chickadee Award, Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL), Short-listed
2015 - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, West Coast Book Prize Society, Short-listed
2015 - CCBC Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Winner
2015 - Chocolate Lily Book Award, Picture Book category, Short-listed
2014 - Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, Picture Book Category, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Winner
2014 - Top 2014 Mighty Girl Books For Younger Readers, A Mighty Girl, Winner
2014 - 2014 OLA Best Bet List for Children, OLA's Canadian Materials Committee, Winner
2014 - Governor General's Literary Award, Children's Literature Illustration, Canada Council, Short-listed
2014 - First & Best List, Toronto Public Library, Short-listed
2014 - Top Children's Books of 2014, Metro News, Winner

Ojiichan's Gift

2021 - Chocolate Lily Book Award - Picture Book Category, Short-listed
2020 - Skipping Stones Honor List, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2019 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2019 - Best Spiritual Children's Books of the Year list, Spirituality and Practice, Winner
2019 - Ezra Jack Keats Award, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Nominee
2019 - Best Picture Books of 2019 List, Kirkus Reviews, Winner

Suki's Kimono

2005 - Chocolate Lily Award, Short-listed
2005 - Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2004 - Mr. Christie Book Award, Runner-up
2004 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Runner-up
2004 - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, Short-listed
2004 - Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award, Short-listed
2004 - Children's Book Award Notable Book, International Reading Association, Winner
2004 - Book of the Year - Bronze Medal, ForeWord Magazine, Winner