Kimiko Murakami

A Japanese-Canadian Pioneer

By (author): Haley Healey
Illustrated by: Kimiko Fraser
ISBN 9781772034677
Softcover | Publication Date: October 3, 2023
Book Dimensions: 9 in. x 9 in.
32 Pages
$12.95 CAD
E-Book Price: $9.99 CAD

About the Book

The inspiring and true life story of Kimiko Murakami, a Japanese-Canadian pioneer and internment camp survivor, beautifully illustrated for a young audience.

Ganbaru is a Japanese word that means to keep going during hard times and never give up. This picture book introduces young readers to Kimiko Murakami (1904–1997), a brave and determined woman whose life embodied the ganbaru spirit. Born in the village of Steveston, BC, and raised on Salt Spring Island, Kimiko was part of a long tradition of Japanese-Canadian families who made their livings fishing and farming. During the Second World War, she was among the 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were sent to live in internment camps because they were seen as “enemy aliens.” The camps were dirty and crowded, but worst of all, they robbed Japanese Canadians of their basic rights and freedoms. Following the War, Kimiko and her family were allowed to return to Salt Spring Island and had to rebuild their farm and their life from scratch. Through it all, Kimiko—a pioneer and survivor—never lost hope. This book celebrates her achievements, courage, and ganbaru spirit through vivid illustrations and a clear, informative, and inspiring narrative.

About the Author(s)

Haley Healey is a high school counsellor, registered clinical counsellor, and the bestselling author of of books for all ages about extraordinary historical women. Her books include the Trailblazing Canadians series; Her Courage Rises (a finalist for the 2023 Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize); On Their Own Terms: True Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island; and Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island. A self-proclaimed trailblazing woman herself, she enjoys exploring Vancouver Island’s trails, waters, and wilderness. She has an avid interest in wild places and lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Kimiko Fraser is an illustrator and historian-in-training. She grew up constantly making—drawing, painting, knitting, sculpting, bookbinding, etc.—and has never learned how to stop. She is the illustrator of Her Courage Rises: 50 Trailblazing Women of British Columbia and the Yukon and the Trailblazing Canadians Series. She holds a bachelor of arts (honours History, major Visual Arts) from the University of Victoria. She works with many mediums to create her illustrations, including watercolour, digital, ink, and tea. Most of her work is inspired by her interest in plants, history, and folktales.


“A book I wish had been available when I was a child, this gentle introduction to the indomitable Kimiko Murakami—whose list of firsts is impressive—and a dark chapter in Canada’s history, will hopefully inspire further reading and interest in the subjects. A worthy addition to any school library.”
–Chieri Uegaki, author of Suki’s Kimono and the award-winning Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
“This inspirational story shines a spotlight on hope and the power of resilience in a time of struggle. Evocative illustrations and a touching narrative provide young readers with a poignant true-to-life tale about the resolve and spirit of one remarkable woman during a painful period in Canada’s past.”
—Deborah Hodge, author of West Coast Wild at Low Tide
“Brought to life through beautiful illustrations, Kimiko Murakami: A Japanese-Canadian Pioneer is an important Japanese-Canadian story of hope and perseverance that will inspire a new generation to continue the fight against injustice.”
—Jeff Chiba Stearns, co-author and illustrator of On Being Yukiko: A Graphic Novel
"Kimiko’s story of injustice and perseverance is heartbreaking, but at the same time inspiring. We need to keep telling the story of what happened to Japanese people during the war. I’m glad to see a strong Japanese woman like Kimiko is represented in a book like this.”
—Yukari Peerless, Writer and Japanese Cultural Consultant