Photo by Chelsea Chun
“Through creating my artwork, I am able to time-travel back to my younger self and heal with them together. Some of the things that my younger self was not able to receive, like certain kinds of love or attention, I can give to them now as an adult.”

—NPR, Embodied Podcast
Haruka Aoki (she/they) is a queer Japanese poet-illustrator who is local to Lisbon, Portugal, New York City, and Kamakura, Japan. Fitting In, their debut picture book about a square navigating a world of circles, was published in 2022. 

Haruka’s narrative artwork aims to inspire individuals with both wit and sincerity as their hand-drawn characters engage the world around them. Growing up often unsure of where “home” would be next, Haruka has befriended the abundant imagination found in nature and community, a constant starting point in their work. By foraging inspiration from ancestral (Jōmon / Ainu) and metaphysical realms to nurture their artistic practice, they hope to grow and provide an accessible space for collective healing.

Haruka studied art history at Brown University and graphic design at Pratt Institute. They are a Fine Arts Work Center Scholar and a recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators BIPOC Scholarship. She often feels deeply grateful to be an earthling.
Publication and Press

The Seventh Wave Anthology, As Told by Haruka and Heliodoro, Map of Selves, 2024

Carolyn Yoo’s Substack, Meet My Art Friend: Haruka Aoki, 2023

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Blog, Why You Should Befriend Your Fellow Artists, 2023

Yellow Glitter Podcast, The Value of Identity and Self-Expression with Haruka Aoki, 2023

The New York Times, The Magic of Block Party Season, 2023

The New York Times, Cat Therapy, 2023

The Washington Post, From an ocean away, I’m cherishing every moment I have left with my parents, 2023

The Circle Voice, Groton School, Universal Language: How Haruka Aoki ‘08 Fosters Connections Through Art, 2023

The New York Times, The Acrobatics of Viewing Art, 2023

The New York Times, A Night at the Opera, 2023

The New York Times, A (Bitter) Winter Love Letter, 2023

The New York Times, What Role Do Libraries Play in Your Life?, 2022

Yellow Glitter Podcast, Finding belonging at the intersection of art & activism with Haruka Aoki, 2022

The New York Times, An Ode to the Public Library, 2022

NPR’s Embodied Podcast, Plucked: The Calm and Chaos of A Hair-Pulling Disorder, 2022

The Los Angeles Times, This Plant-Loving New Yorker Visited L.A. for the First Time, 2022

The Washington Post, Growing up, I hid my hair pulling. It was a sign I needed help, 2022

The Ridgewood Times, Neighborly love: Ridgewood residents throw second annual block party, 2022

The Washington Post, This AAPI Heritage Month, I’m done living in fear, 2022

The Ridgewood Times, Ridgewood artist helps create new educational program for city’s Department of Sanitation, 2022

The Ridgewood Times, ‘All about the community’: Ridgewood residents show ‘support and love’ at local block party, 2021