The Story of Ellison Onizuka

By Lisa Nikaido Arakaki

Ms. 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.