“An Astronaut’s Legacy:  The Story of Ellison S. Onizuka” will be the ninth book published by Nikkei Writers Guild, a division of Japanese American Living Legacy.

This is Lisa Nikaido Arakaki’s first publication and Nikkei Writers Guild’s first female author and children’s story.

It’s been 26 years since seven crew members lost their lives in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. For many of us who witnessed the horror of that day, the reality of space flight’s risks curtailed whimsical fantasies of traveling to the moon in the near future.

For the Nikkei community, it was especially heartbreaking to lose a hometown hero, Ellison S. Onizuka from Kona. Since then, books, stories and articles have been written about the disaster, but not too much is known about the quiet Sansei astronaut.

Arakaki introduces Onizuka’s life in illustrations so that his life story can be experienced by younger generations.  Illustrator Mitchell Fong, a native of Hawaii, worked to bring Arakaki’s words to life. Together with Sonny Abalos from Phase Two Graphics, the final piece has come alive.

Since Nikkei Writers Guild is an all-volunteer group and this is its first children’s book, some younger volunteers, junior editors, were used to give it the final eye. The book should appeal to children between 8 and 12 years of age. It was important that the target age was connected to the story and illustrations. The review was very positive.

This book will be offered at an introductory price of $12 (includes tax) beginning Aug. 15. Pre-sale orders can be made on the Nikkei Writers Guild link on the JA Living Legacy website. Delivery will occur after Aug. 15. Wholesale inquiries can be made to info@jalivinglegacy.org or (714) 515-5501.

Proceeds from this book’s sales help fund future projects. Nikkei Writers Guild is in the process of editing and designing other publications.Check the website for regular updates.

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