Generations Magazine - August-September 2016 - Its-Just-Aging-Book_image1To build a stronger community, younger generations need to understand demographic changes, think critically about the aging and take action. Honolulu’s Age-Friendly City Initiative embraces an intergenerational approach to implementing programs and other supports for an aging population. A key first step is to reduce “ageism,” or negative attitudes toward aging that children may develop.

A new intergenerational children’s book was authored by two ‘Iolani High School students, Eliah Takushi and Carly Tan, and Plaza Assisted Living Administrator Colby Takeda. They published the book as part of an ‘Iolani High School class called the “One Mile Project.” In this semester-long class, students learn about aging issues, and then develop and implement projects that benefit elders in their surrounding community. Takushi and Tan decided to write an intergenerational children’s book to teach young children about age-related changes and help them understand that these changes are normal — that kūpuna still are valuable members of our society.

Generations Magazine - August-September 2016 - Its-Just-Aging-Book_image2

Colby Takeda, Carly Tan, Eliah Takushi and Dr. Christy Nishita celebrate the publication of It’s Just Aging.

It’s Just Aging: A Story About Growing Up is about a grandma and granddaughter who go to the grocery store and bake banana bread together. Along the way, they encounter older adults with different physical and sensory limitations. The grandma helps the daughter see that “it’s just aging” and people can still have a good quality of life. While writing and developing the book, the high school students read their draft stories to ‘Iolani kindergarten and first grade classes, collected feedback from the children and revised the story. Takeda, administrator at the Plaza Assisted Living in Waikīkī, provided valuable connections to illustrator Jamie Meckel Tablason and Mutual Publishing.

It’s just Aging is one step in a larger movement to make Honolulu an “age-friendly” city by improving people’s understanding and perceptions of aging and older adults. Our youth need to understand their stake in creating a better future for themselves. When our entire community embraces aging issues, quality of life improves for all generations. Efforts to become more “age-friendly” are timely because Hawai‘i is aging more rapidly than the rest of the United States, and leads the nation in healthy life expectancy. Honolulu’s Age-Friendly City initiative is supported by Honolulu’s Mayor, Kirk Caldwell and AARP Hawaii.

Find out more about Honolulu’s Age-Friendly City Movement at or, or contact Christy Nishita, Ph.D. at

It’s Just Aging: A Story About Growing Up 
by Takushi, Tan and Takeda, ISBN 0984445868, Mutual Publishing Company, is available at local retailers and online outlets for $12.95. Publication was underwritten by Plaza Assisted Living Hawai‘i; book sales support Project Dana, a local Honolulu nonprofit that assists kūpuna.


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