The single figure on the book cover to DRAWING FROM MEMORY by Caldecott Medal winner Allen Say shows a young man floating up – uplifted. When twelve year old Allen Say moves away from his family to a single room apartment to study, he feels liberated. Say draws himself rising up into his “new life” – freedom to learn and express. Not encouraged at home, Say pursues his deep desire to draw.
On his own initiative he approaches Noro Shinpei to be his teacher. Under Japan’s popular cartoonist’s tutelage for three years, Say grows and learns from the grand Sensei. After having very little contact with his father, he accepts the unexpected offer of a trip to America, a greater adventure that begins another new life. Written and “drawing from memory” of Say’s younger years, this book is a sensitive and inspiring story, describing his tenacious art drive. The combination of his drawings, old photographs, and graphic cartoons work well with Say’s narration. These three pictorial depiction types aid the reader in understanding his life’s events. Those years help mold him into the accomplished illustrator, artist, and writer of all his 18 children’s books.
In the Author’s Note, Say adds the personal story of Noro Shinpei and their close relationship. The title, DRAWING FROM MEMORY, is a play on words as Say dug deep into his memory of the man who took him “under his wing” and dedicated this autobiography to his mentor.
64 pages 978-0545176866 Age 8 and up.
Keywords: Asian American author, finding yourself, drawing, artist, career, author, autobiography, art, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old < p>Recommended by Cecile Wong, Librarian (retired), Maryland USA
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.---from the publisher