Debbi Michiko Florence, a third generation Japanese American, is a former classroom teacher and zoo educator. Her four-book debut chapter book series is Jasmine Toguchi (Farrar Straus Giroux/2017 and 2018) about a spunky Japanese American 8-year-old girl. Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen was a Junior Library Guild selection, Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017, a Bank Street 2018 Best Children’s Books of the Year, on the 2018 Amelia Bloomer List, and on The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) 2018 Choices List (Best of the Year). Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl is a 2019 Cybils Award winner, a Junior Library Guild selection, on the CCBC 2019 Choices List, and on the Chicago Public Library’s Best Of list. Debbi is also the author of the early chapter book series, Dorothy and Toto (Picture Window Books/2016) and the early chapter book series My Furry Foster Family (Picture Window Books/August 2019).
Debbi has spoken on panels at the National Council of Teachers of English conference, the Decatur Book Festival, the Brooklyn Book Festival, among others; taught workshops at the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators conferences; and presented at numerous schools. She is a mentor for the Highlights Foundation Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature as well as a guest presenter at their Early Chapter Books workshop.
A native Californian, Debbi now lives in Connecticut with her husband, rescue dog, bunny, and two ducks. She loves to travel with her husband and daughter.