|Boy named Isamu : a story of Isamu Noguchi|
Author: Yang, James
Imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi, while wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, seeing things Isamu sees through the eyes of a young artist.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 513930
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/15/21)
School Library Journal (07/01/21)
Booklist (+) (05/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/21)
The Hornbook (+) (00/09/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2021 *Starred Review* Award-winning author-illustrator Yang (Stop! Bot!, 2019) renders this imagined biography of Japanese American Isamu Noguchi with the utmost tenderness. While young readers may not be familiar with Noguchi’s sculpture, some will be able to relate to his keen eye and astute curiosity about the world around him. Yang invites us to connect, positing, “If you were a boy named Isamu . . . ,” and then leads us to notice the details of his surroundings. Leaving the bustle of the marketplace, Isamu retreats into himself and wanders away, thinking about the textures, colors, and forms of objects in the natural world around him. The text and illustrations are almost as spare as Noguchi’s modernist sculpture, but rather than celebrate the success of the adult artist, this focuses on the quiet, cerebral, sentient qualities of the little boy who viewed the world as a gift. This lyrical biography will resonate with creative types of all ages and can easily be incorporated into a curriculum as a springboard for writing, research, and art projects. Can be paired thematically with Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad’s It Began with a Page (2019) and Barb Rosenstock and Claire A. Nivola’s The Secret Kingdom (2018). - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2021 Gr 1–3—In tribute to Japanese American sculptor Noguchi—or, more precisely, his distinctive vision and affinity for natural forms—Yang portrays an introspective child, Isamu, in Japan who steps away while his mother is shopping to seek out quiet places. In a sparely told slow-growth epiphany young Isamu comes to appreciate shapes of leaves and twigs in a park, how every stone large or small is unique in form and character…and at last how what he sees and touches seemed to be waiting for him, as if "forest and beach were like friends giving you a gift." Along with plenty of white space to reflect the narrative's quiet tone the illustrations feature a small, button-eyed figure with black hair and pale skin taking a wandering course past boulders, bamboo stalks, and undulating shorelines that evoke or are even directly modeled after the artist's own works. Readers will get a fuller picture of Noguchi's life from Christy Hale's The East-West House, but Yang notes the connection he shares with the artist, that "alone time" as "the most special time of all." VERDICT Reflective young readers will come away with a deeper feeling for one artist's work, and also how encounters with nature can spark creativity.—John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, NY - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.