Friday, September 28, 2012

Drawing From Memory

by Allen Say
Scholastic | 2011

This 2012 Sibert Medal Honor book chronicles Allen Say's personal journey from childhood to adult illustrator and writer. Told in the first person, the book invites the reader to journey with Say from the Japan of his childhood beginning with his birth in 1937 through his struggles with his parents around his chosen vocation to his independent living in an apartment of his own at the age of 12. It continues through his apprenticeship with one of the most lauded Japanese cartoonists to his choice to join his father in the United States.

The book is told through both words and pictures and feels a bit like a graphic novel. At 64 pages, it is picture book for slightly older readers and perfect for discussions about discovery: discovery of self, of meaning, and of family. Say's stories are gifts to children's literature (check out Grandfather's Journey and The Bicycle Man for two of my favorites) and he's known for his nonfiction stories that are largely autobiographical.

Don't miss this book. It's not only beautiful, it's also poignant in a gentle, understated way that leaves room for the reader's own interpretation. A perfect combination.

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