Hello, hello! Here is a rare photo of M — this one’s from 13 years ago. K is only a few days old in this image, and for several months, she frequently slept on M’s chest like this.

Today, my baby is 13. THIRTEEN. M had a birthday last week as well, and he always says that K has been the best present he’s ever received and I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps the one downside is that ever since she popped out, his birthday has been upstaged by hers (sorry, honey). He doesn’t seem to mind.

1-year-old K

I feel simultaneously emotional and oddly detached, if that’s at all possible. Motherhood is such a paradoxical experience, overflowing with the mundane and exalting. Sometimes it seems like I’m the adolescent and she’s the mature one. I find myself increasingly reliant on her technical savvy, and she shrewdly observes the world with an older-than-her-years wisdom. And then she’ll crumble into a fit of uncontainable feelings worthy of a toddler. I’m constantly wide-eyed with wonder and not a little mystified by how quickly that tiny being has grown up. She’s on the petite side so she’s not quite as tall as I am (I’m 5′ 4″), but her comportment is decidedly young adult. I look back on all the phases — Dora The Explorer, Elmo, Disney princesses, that weird goth period when she was 5 or 6, unicorns — and I wonder what the next evolvement will be. Make-up? Boyfriends? She starts 8th grade in the fall and she’s already talking about preparing for college…oh, I don’t think I’m ready for that. No, not at all.

But today is all about celebrating her entry into teenage-hood. I’m so proud of her. I’m so in awe of her. There’s that popular quote, “I love you to the moon and back,” which I adore, but I want to know where the farthest, deepest, highest point in the universe is because that’s where my love for her extends to and fro.


As an additional way to celebrate (and because I’ve just completed my fifth book that will be released next year), I’m doing a little book giveaway! Details are on Instagram, but if you’re not an IG type, here’s the 411 for entering through the blog:

To enter, simply leave a comment below with a summer reading recommendation. I’ve been devouring YA books lately, but I’m a voracious reader of any and every genre. I will choose FIVE random winners — winners can select any two books that are shown here and will receive signed (and personalized, if desired) copies. The books are SEWING HAPPINESS, LITTLE KUNOICHI, CHIBI SAMURAI WANTS A PET and BA-CHAN, THE NINJA GRANDMA, published by @sasquatchbooks And @lbfbooks. International entries are more than welcome and the giveaway will be open until Friday, August 9th. Good luck!!!!



  1. I’m currently reading the 3rd book of the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson. Quite sad actually that I’ll soon be done, love them so far and even though the (Swedish)movies are good (watched them at the same time), the books are way better.

    I know there are sequels written by another writer, but I’m not sure yet if I want to read those. I also don’t own them, so… maybe someday. 🙂

  2. My favorite recent read was The Overstory by Richard Powers. It has stuck with me much more than I expected. Beautiful and also a not-at-all-strident call to action re: climate change.

    I just finished Fleishman in Trouble. A quick, fun read that also interrogates gender in marriage and parenthood.

  3. I just finished Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. A lovely, moving YA novel about an 8th grade boy dealing with his younger brother’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. And I’m nearly to the end of Barkskins by Annie Proulx, which is about the timber trade and three centuries of descendants of two French men who immigrated to the New World in the 1600s. So far, one of my favorite historical novels ever.
    Congratulations and best wishes to your family on making it to this momentous milestone!

  4. Happy birthday K! And thank you for this sweet giveaway. I recently gave Ba Chan the Ninja Grandma to a young friend of mine (I am her “grand-friend” and aspire to be as cool as Ba-Chan!)

    I recently read Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi and really enjoyed its creativity and quirkiness. I also reread I Capture the Castle this year and am reminded why it’s one of my very favorite books. Both of those have teenage main characters but are not YA (I think).

  5. I just finished reading Watership Down, since my son was reading it for school. It made me wonder why I hadn’t read it sooner.

  6. Hello:)
    I am so behind on my reading because I’m loving on grandchildren:) I’m very fortunate that several of our thirteen grand babies live close by and we spend every chance we can with the little people.
    Congratulations on your new book and having a teenager:)

  7. Happy birthday K! A friend suggested “Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 ways to playfully manifest a meaningful life” . A fun book filled with joy and creativity. I think you would love it.

  8. I love this! Congratulations on her teenage hood! I’m reading several books right now. Stir: My broken brain and the meal that led me home. Very interesting

  9. Happy birthday wishes to all of you! 🎈
    I mentioned on IG Sing, Unburied, Sing and The Lost Girls of Paris. Our teen (!) is reading The Hate You Give (I watched the film).
    Congratulations on your publishing accomplishments!
    ❤️ ~ annri

  10. Hey Sanae,
    Congrats to you and K! Great job getting her to teenage-hood! (:
    One of my favourite books of all time, and great summer reading (in my opinion), is Julian Barnes’s “Flaubert’s Parrot”. I’ve read that three times, I think, and I seldom read books more than once (because there’s so many more books I could read for the first time instead).

  11. I totally understand how you are feeling. I have a 13 year old too. It is a trip for sure. I am reading Nevermoor, The Trieals of Morrigan Crow with my 7 year old and 10 year old. Great story.

  12. I finished The Secret History by Donna Tartt yesterday and it was fantastic, a blend of college life/murder/classical Greek references. For K, I would also recommend the graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Dolman. Happy birthday to K!! 13 is a exciting and scary time. Don’t hurry to grow up, take your time, find your friends and be who you want to be 😀

  13. We just read The Fifth Doll for book club and I really enjoyed it. My oldest is 7 and time is already moving too fast sometimes!

  14. 13?!? How did that happen already! <3 I am going to recommend an old one, because it is one of my favorite books. If you haven't read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine then you have definitely missed out. And some more because I can't only recommend one book haha! The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson (not ya but I think you will like it). Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. I will have mercy and stop now, I could go on and on about books 😉

  15. Aw, happy birthday to K! I’m currently living the motherhood paradox with an almost 3-year-old. I wonder what life will be like for us when she reaches the big 13. Best wishes for all of you!

    I’m currently enjoying Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

  16. I wish I would actually read the books I’ve purchased, but here are two recommendations: “Word by Word” by Kory Stamper and “the Soul of an Octopus” by Sy Montgomery.
    Maybe now I’ll actually read them 🙂

  17. 13 rocks!!! 🙂
    As for books recommendations I’m currently reading “An Excess Male” by Maggie Shen King and I love it so far.

    1. Congrats to you and happy birthday to K.
      I’ve been enjoying reading the Harry Potter series with my little one.
      Also, Grimm’s fairytales; love comparing them to the theater and moviw productions of them .
      I second the Miss Pettigrew recommandation; it’s a delightful story.

  18. The books look lovely and congratulations to the young lady!
    I have been reading The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Phillipa Perry and am finding it very insightful.
    I also recently enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

  19. Since you’re enjoying YA novels, you should check out the “Fablehaven” series by Brandon Mull. Both you and your daughter could read it, either together or taking turns. That’s what we did! And if you like the series, there’s currently a sequel. We’ve been recommending the series to friends and extended family with older grade school kids and middle-schoolers.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer and the extra reading time it brings!

  20. I never knew an age I didn’t love!
    We love your books! (My husband even ‘stole’ one from the doctor’s office. In his defence it said “Take Me!” on the literacy sticker. True story. Will return on next visit. Lolol.)
    Right now I’m catching up on my Alexander McCall Smith reading with “The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday”. Sooo relaxing!

    1. I’m a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith and have read most of his books! I love that your husband picked up one of my books from a doctor’s office!

Comments are closed.