Drawing From Memory

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday 
hosted today by Playing by the Book
(pub. 9.1.2011)  72 pages 
A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor and illustrator: Allen Say

C haracter: himself - Caldecott Medalist Allen Say
O verview from the jacket flap: 

         "This 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 World War II 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." 
T antalizing taste: 

     "'You are going to the great land of freedom,' he said. 'But remember that no man is entirely free of anything. Artists are bound to their art. Be true to your art, Kiyoi, and journey well.'
     'Show them how good you are,' Tokida said, and he gave me a smile to remember.
     'Good-bye, brother. Good-bye, Sensei.' I was glad they didn't look back. I was sobbing in public."

and something more:   I was fascinated not only by the autobiographical story of Allen Say and his artistic journey and connections, but also by the format of Drawing From Memory -- part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, complete with photographs and illustrations by Allen Say.
       In the touching Author's Note, Allen Say refers to an old Japanese saying he first heard from his mother - "Let your dear child journey."  I think that's so lovely, and truly a goal for me as a children's book author.  And I echo the wish for all creative people, especially children's authors,"Be true to your art ... and journey well."


Zoe said...

You're right Jeanne, the saying is lovely. Say's work is not well known in the UK but I shall be looking out for this one.

Medea said...

Thanks for reviewing this! I came over from Playing by the Book as I love Allen Say so much. I cry at almost every book he writes, so much of it speaks to my own journey.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

*Sigh* - I've seen so many reviews about the book, I am literally green with envy. Last I checked we still don't have this in our library, since it's just been recently published this 2011. I can't wait to read it for myself and get my hands on it. Sounds like a perfectly luscious book (complete with cherry on top) :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Zoe and Medea, Thanks for your thoughts. I just love that through these blogs we have connections to the UK -- I'm in California and there's just something wonderful connecting to others interested in kidslit across the world. And, yes, Allen Say's work is wonderful!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra, Yes! The book will be worth the wait, and I do think you'll find it's one with a cherry on top :)
Thanks for your comment.