Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl


I have some exciting news today…my children’s book is in production as I type this! Although it won’t be officially on bookshelves until May of 2015, it’s available for pre-sale on Amazon!!!! To say I had a freak out would be the understatement of the year. I don’t think I actually believed it was going to happen until I saw that little thumbnail on the Amazon page. I’m thrilled that I’m publishing through Sasquatch Books, the publisher for the Pacific Northwest with a stellar staff that made (and is making) my whole experience in book publishing joyous. So many people have been generous beyond belief already — my hair stylist ordered two copies and my endocrinologist got one for her son, and I don’t know how many my mom snagged, but I’m guessing all our relatives in Japan will be receiving the book next Christmas.

Since the official publication date is so far away, I won’t be doing the promotional routine quite yet, but I wanted to share the happy update. For now, just an image of the cover. Initially, I planned on digitally illustrating the book, but I ended up going the traditional route and hand painted the whole shabang. I’ve had a variation of this story in the back of my mind for years and years and years, even before I had a child. “Kunoichi” means “female ninja” in Japanese and the story follows Little Kunoichi’s adventures as she learns about hard work, practice, and teamwork with a dose of whimsy and (I hope) humor. My editor and I started calling her “Little K” even though that moniker doesn’t show up in the book, and you can guess who the inspiration is. I’m so very proud of it, and I’m eager to share more sneak peeks and process info with you in the coming months!


66 thoughts on “Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl

    1. Many, many thanks Daniela! I’m the worst promoter ever (I couldn’t even bring myself to ask that people to pre-order) and that means so much to me. πŸ™‚

    1. I appreciate that so much, Fiona! A little off topic but I just realized I forgot to point out that the book is quite small: about 8″ x 8″, which I love because squares make my heart go pitter patter, as do miniature things πŸ™‚

    1. Ha, yes, the ninja costume was very much inspired by Little K! And, in fact, there have been some sneaky peaks into the book (like the kimono girls from an earlier post) that I plan on talking about later.

    1. Oh, thank you Greta! I’m so honored! Although I worked diligently on this, it didn’t feel like work, you know? Great fun.

  1. Sending heartfelt, exuberant congratulations your way! So, so happy for you and excited to purchase it when it becomes available. Wish I could give you a big congratulatory hug:)

    1. I feel like I’ve gotten so many hugs and incredible support through the comments, thank you so much, Lucinda! I was in Barnes & Noble the other day with M and I turned to him and said with disbelief, “Do you think they’ll carry a copy of my book?” That just seems surreal!!

  2. Wow! I love the cover illustration!! And I am surprised about the ninja theme. I don’t know what I imagined you book was about, but this is really different. I love it!

    1. It’s so funny Max, because I actually proposed about 15 various ideas but the ninja one was my top choice. Luckily, my editor agreed! Thank you, thank you!!

  3. Congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you! And so excited I get to share your gorgeous watercolors with my children. I can’t wait to hear (and see) more!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Meg!! I’m pinching myself, it seems so outrageous on so many levels. I’m excited to share more!

    1. The weird thing about book publishing is that the process takes such a long time, it’s easy to forget that I finished working on the book almost six months ago. It’s crazy that it won’t be available for another six months, but I know that it’ll just make things all the more exciting when I have a hard copy in my hot little hands. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Lacey!

  4. Sanae, congratulations! It’s fun to see how all the pieces of your life fit together in this book! At least the ones we see on your blog! Fantastic!

    1. I love your comment, Annelieke! I do feel like the myriad parts of my life are coming together in unexpected ways. Thank you!

  5. It looks lovely! I’m very happy to be adding a book to my little ninja’s library with a strong female character:). Congratulations!

  6. Congratulations Sanae! I can’t wait for spring so I can have the book on my hands and show it to my daughters! They are learning English now so it will be a perfect gift for them (and for me!)

    1. Thank you, Jessica! The book is 32 pages with full illustrations and it’s surprisingly colorful (coming from me) – I had the best time creating it!

    1. So cool that it’s available on international amazon sites – it’s all a bit overwhelming πŸ™‚ Thank you heaps, Rhoda!

  7. Congratulations! I just pre-ordered it. And I’m commenting to tell you because Deborah’s post over at whipstitch has me thinking about how I support the blogs I love. And I love your blog!

    1. I had to go to Deborah’s post to read it and it’s so good – much food for thought. Thanks for the reference and thank you especially for the amazing support! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, Cassandra!

  8. Oh my gosh, K’s ninja costume! That’s awesome. So, so awesome Sanae. And I absolutely love that you ended up doing all the illustrations by hand. There is something really special about that. Will definitely be ordering a copy.

    1. Thanks so much, Liza Jane!! I’m very honored and humbled…I’ve been a little teary-eyed reading all the comments. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Em! It was surreal to be able to work on both the story and the illustrations – it makes me very happy!

  9. Super super! Congratulations. I am ordering it as soon as I can figure out how I can get it on amazon India. Will love to read it to N’s baby brother who should learn all about ninja girls!

  10. I am having happy goosebumps! This is so wonderful and I cannot wait to read this! It sounds wonderful that you illustrated it by hand. Oh, I am so happy for you! (I can see some of K’s spunk in the little ninja! )

    1. You and me both, Ute! Goosebumps galore!! I tried the digital route for a little bit, but it just didn’t feel right. There’s something about watercolor and gouache that feels more natural to me πŸ™‚ and yes, my li’l ninja was very much inspired by K!

  11. YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!!! So stinkin exciting! Love the artwork and CANNOT wait to see the rest of the book! Thanks for sharing your exciting news with us!!!

    1. πŸ™‚ You should have seen how crazy excited I was when I saw it on Amazon — somehow it made it feel legitimate, you know? Who knew Amazon had that kind of power? Thank you, Beccy!

  12. Congratulations all the way from sunny Singapore!! This is so exciting! And that cover is beautiful! I love your watercolours and am so thrilled to be able to own (a part of) them through Little K!

    1. Ohmygosh, I would be out of my mind delighted to have the book read to a class. I have a feeling it will appeal a lot to first graders πŸ™‚ Thanks so much, Frances Suzanne!!

    1. Much appreciated, Maria!! Very much a dream come true, and I find myself open-mouthed and sort of in shock sometimes that this is actually happening…

  13. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you, and can’t wait to get my hands on the book. It will be so much fun to share it with Claire.

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