Kim/Kimi (book)

Title Kim/Kimi
Author Hadley Irwin
Original Publisher Margaret K. McElderry Books/Macmillan
Original Publication Date 1987
Pages 200
WorldCat Link

Kim/Kimi (1987) by Hadley Irwin explores one teen's quest to discover herself by finding out about her father's past. Kimi Yogushi, who is more commonly known as Kim Anderson, has an Irish American mother. Kim's father Kenji, who had died before she was born, was Japanese American. Sixteen-year-old Kim happily lives with her family in an all-white community in Iowa but she begins to want to know more about the Japanese American part of her identity. Her mother finally tells Kim that Kenji had been disowned by his family for marrying outside his race.

With the help of a neighbor's friend and with her younger half brother running family interference, Kim goes on a quest in search of her father's estranged family which takes her to Sacramento. Through luck and the connections of friends, she meets other Japanese Americans who share their knowledge of Japanese American history and customs, help her with her research, and get her involved with the redress movement. In her research Kim discovers that her father and his family were incarcerated at Tule Lake, and with several plot twists, tracks down her father's missing family.

"Hadley Irwin" was a pseudonym for authors Ann Irwin (1915–98) and Lee Hadley (1934–95), who authored numerous young adult books in the 1970s to 1990s. Both women were Iowa natives, who met after joining the English faculty at Iowa State University in 1969–70. Both had been high school teachers—Irwin for thirty years, from 1937–67—and drew on the many students they had come to know in plotting the novels. Most of their book dealt with teenage social problems, ranging from divorce, suicide, drug/alcohol issues, and even incest/sexual abuse. Besides Kim/Kimi, three of their other novels dealt with centrally with race/ethnicity: We Are Mesquakie, We Are One (1980), a coming of age novel set against the backdrop of the 1840s forced migration of the Mesquakie people to a Kansas reservation; I Be Somebody (1984), about an African America boy whose family migrates from Oklahoma to homestead in Canada in the early 1900s; and Sarah with an H, on a Jewish girl dealing with anti-Semitism in her new school.[1]

Authored by Jan Kamiya

For More Information

Kim/Kimi on Scholastic Books website.


  1. "Ann(abelle) (Bowen) Irwin, 1915–1998," Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003; "Lee Hadley, 1934–1995," Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.