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Drawing from Memoryby Allen Say
2013 Oregon Book Award for Children's Literature
Synopses & Reviews
Caldecott Medalist Allen Say presents a stunning graphic novel chronicling his journey as an artist during WWII, when he apprenticed under Noro Shinpei, Japan's premier cartoonist
Drawing from Memory is Allen Say's own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn't understand his son's artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan's leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his "spiritual father." As WWII raged, Allen was further inspired to consider questions of his own heritage and the motivations of those around him. He worked hard in rigorous drawing classes, studied, trained — and ultimately came to understand who he really is.
Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, Drawing from Memory presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between a mentor and his student. With watercolor paintings, original cartoons, vintage photographs, and maps, Allen Say has created a book that will inspire the artist in all of us.
"Retooling some of the material in his autobiographical middle-grade novel The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice (1994), Say tells the story of his decidedly nontraditional Japanese upbringing, supplying watercolors, photographs, and humorous sketches to create a vivid record of life in postwar Tokyo. Say's family rented him his own apartment when he was 12 so he could attend a better school. 'The one-room apartment was for me to study in,' he writes, beneath a b&w sketch of his desk, 'but studying was far from my mind... this was going to be my art studio!' (A second drawing, in color, shows his conception of the perfect desk, covered with paints and brushes.) Japan's most famous cartoonist, Noro Shinpei, accepted Say as an apprentice until Say immigrated to the United States in 1953. Say's account of his relationship with Noro (who later called Say 'the treasure of my life') is the centerpiece of the narrative. As the story of a young artist's coming of age, Say's account is complex, poignant, and unfailingly honest. Say's fans — and those who also feel the pull of the artist's life — will be captivated. Ages 10 – up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather's Journey, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Boy of the Three-Year Nap (written by Dianne Snyder). Many of Allen's stories are derived from his own experiences as a child. His other books include The Bicycle Man, Tea with Milk, and Tree of Cranes, hailed by the Horn Book in a starred review as "the achievement of a master in his prime." Allen's recent book, Drawing from Memory, received four starred reviews. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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