Diversity is important to Education & Friendships for all children; good parents know this.

Today is the birthday of the First Lady Michelle Obama, who turns 53.

As I enjoyed observing her role in raising her children. And I  was very excited that her daughter took up the study of Chinese.  It was 35 years ago that I returned from Taiwan as the First African-American female exchange student to Tunghai University in Taichung.

To capture my loving relationships with my Chinese friends, several  years ago I penned the book “A New Year’s Valentine.” The original was “A Dragon Heart,”  a story about two friends learning one another’s culture.

In creating this book I sought an artist to illustrate my book.  The artist I choose was Katy Loutzenhiser a spirited young women with tremendous talent.  Katy submitted artwork for my review and asked if I mind that she use Michelle Obama’s likeness for the mother of my story. What an honor it was for me that this young woman made such a request.  Of course I was delighted to see her drawings and beautiful finishes for this story.

My own gift to my children was to teach them to love themselves and to be tolerant of others;  Our christian values did not stop me from being a dorm mother to 200 plus, Japanese students from Showa Boston, whether they were Buddhist or Shinto nor did my travels to China prevent me from learning local faith practices for seeking common threads for friendship and education.  I hope the hundreds of students I have taught have made the world more tolerant and loving place for those they befriend.

Every child deserves to have a teacher like I had in my mother who gave me the book “Children of Many Nations.” More importantly having had a wonderful Professor in Deng Shou-Shin who made me believe I could learn his language and invited me to live abroad as an exchange student 35 years ago; I have been truly fortunate.

Had Katy’s mother not shared with me a lovely story they had written together during tea with me and Ayumi  Hayakawa I wouldn’t have had an artist for my own story.  Cristi Catt opened her home to me an African-American and Ayumi from Japan one afternoon and this lead to these fabulous stories about mothers and daughter’s being published.

Michelle has illustrated that love, education and good values not only support a family, they inspire a nation.

Happy Birthday!

To Purchase these stories click: here2015 - NewYearValentine-cover-small



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