Author: Say, Allen
The continuation of this Japanese-born author/artist's memoirs, including coming-of-age at a military academy and the discovery of what it means to be American.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 176564
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 67070
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/15)
School Library Journal (11/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/12/15)
The Hornbook (00/11/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2015 Caldecott Award–winning author and illustrator Say presents an autobiographical story about his first three years in America. Just eight years after the end of WWII, Say came to the U.S. from Japan and felt the sting of discrimination, the uncertainty of a vocational calling, and his father’s cold abandonment. With the keen eyes of an artist, Say has a moving, contemplative way of seeing the myriad people he encounters and describes them with an uncommon insight in both his beautiful ink-and-watercolor illustrations in varied styles and his matter-of-fact prose. In a layout recalling the American comic books he loved as a child, the narrative is episodic, dwelling quietly on pivotal moments and memories, such as the kind high-school principal who welcomed him warmly and his first days at art school. Experiencing his fair share of setbacks and lucky breaks, Say weaves an ultimately optimistic story of the “American Dream,” which emphasizes the importance of education and perseverance. With beautiful artwork and an engaging story, this affecting account will resonate with all ages. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Say is both beloved and award-winning, so expect droves for his latest autobiographical title. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2015 Gr 5 Up—In this follow-up to the autobiographical Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011), 15-year-old Japanese immigrant Allen is sent by his father to a California military academy soon after World War II to improve his English and to make something of himself. A variety of adults and a few peers help him move toward his goal of establishing himself as an artist but are characterized mostly by the inconstant way they slip in and out of his life. His most regular companion is his imaginary alter ego, the cartoon boy Kyusuke, whose creator, Say's mentor Noro Shinpei, modeled after Say. The storytelling is light and episodic, which helps underscore the veracity of the narrative but prevents the action from building in any dramatic fashion. The book features numerous still ink and watercolor re-creations of the people and places from this era in Say's development; most are realistic but also feature the sketchbook cartoon style Say employed at the time, particularly when he channels Kyusuke. However, use of actual sequential sequences are minimal, and readers' abilities to glean details from landscapes, the nuances of character portraits, and the choice of medium or style will determine how much emotional context the illustrations add to the narrative. VERDICT A deceptively simple story, given depth by technically excellent illustrations that require a sophisticated level of visual and cultural literacy to successfully interpret.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.