The Children's Book Compass

Drawing from Memory

Posted on: November 28, 2011

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say.  (2011).  63 pages.  Scholastic.  Grades 5-8.  Autobiography.

Allen Say’s books have long been my favorites.  His books have received numerous awards.  Grandfather’s Journey won the Caldecott Medal and The Boy of the Three-Year Nap received a Caldecott Honor.   This new book, Drawing from Memory, provides a narrative of how Say came to be such a recognized artist and writer.  As the jacket flap states, the book is “Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history. . . “   Say crafts his account using original illustrations created with watercolors, pencil and pen and ink together with photographs and a fascinating narrative to tell his story growing up in Japan from his birth in 1937.   He went to live on his own just before his thirteen birthday.  Even though his family disapproved he began to learn to be an artist.  He finds a mentor/teacher, a Sensei, who changes his life and provides him with deep instruction on being an artist.  At sixteen Say went with his father to the United States.   There the book ends.   This book is outstanding for several reasons.  First, it is an account of how a young person finds a way to follow his heart.  Second, it is testament to perseverance in following a dream.  Third, it is an intriguing story of growing up in the Japanese culture prior to, during and after World War II.

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1 Response to "Drawing from Memory"

Oh wow! This sounds so interesting!!

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