Say, Allen. 2011. DRAWING FROM MEMORY. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545176866 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
Caldecott medal-winner Allen Say shares his early journey to become an artist in this book, designed as an memory album. From his early love of drawing to his demanding studies at Aoyama Middle School in Tokyo to his life-changing apprenticeship with Noro Shinpei, the great Japanese cartoonist, Say shares with honesty and humor the events that formed his artistic development. His relationship with Shinpei is pivotal in Say’s story, as his sensei gives him the encouragement that his own father withheld throughout his childhood and early adolescence. The impact of teachers and fellow students is also chronicled in this coming-of-age tale that culminates in Say’s decision, at the age of 15, to join his long-absent father in America.
Say’s engaging and self-effacing text draws the reader into the story with a lively telling of preparation for middle school exams, life on his own at 12, and his intrepid decision to approach the great Shinpei as a potential student. Providing a visual window into Say’s early world are the comic panels, old photographs, paintings, and sketches that perfectly illustrate each phase of his artistic development. Text and illustration embody the passion of a young artist who must follow his dream, no matter how intimidating the journey.
Allen Say uses comic book-style panels to tell his story in DRAWING FROM MEMORY. Invite readers to choose an episode in their lives and illustrate that memory using a comic panel presentation of the event.
Other books by Allan Say that are referenced in DRAWING FROM MEMORY:
Say, Allen. THE BICYCLE MAN. ISBN 978-0-395-32254-3
Say, Allen, THE SIGN PAINTER. ISBN 978-0-395-97974-7
Say, Allen. UNDER THE CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE: AN OLD JAPANESE TALE. ISBN 9780395845462
By Susi Parks Grissom