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About Allen Say
Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.
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Books By Allen Say
In this Caldecott Medal–winning picture book, master storyteller Allen Say chronicles his family’s history between Japan and California. A lyrical, breathtaking tale of one man’s love for two countries, Grandfather’s Journey is perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Thank You, Omu!
Through pensive portraits and delicately faded art, Allen Say pays tribute to his grandfather’s persistent longing for home that continues within Allen.
This restlessness and constant desire to be in two places speaks to a universal experience as well as the deeply personal ties of family to place, and what it means to be at home in more than one country.
Both a celebration of heritage and a poignant exploration of the struggles we inherit, Grandfather’s Journey is a modern classic perfect for every household.
As a young Japanese boy recovers from a bad chill, his mother busily folds origami paper into delicate silver cranes in preparation for the boy's very first Christmas.
With elegant watercolors, Allen Say's beautiful picture book is a moving tribute to his parents and their path to discovering where home really is.
At home in San Francisco, May speaks Japanese and the family eats rice and miso soup and drinks green tea. When she visits her friends’ homes, she eats fried chicken and spaghetti.
May plans someday to go to college and live in an apartment of her own. But when her family moves back to Japan, she soon feels lost and homesick for America.
In Japan everyone calls her by her Japanese name, Masako. She has to wear kimonos and sit on the floor. Poor May is sure that she will never feel at home in this country. Eventually May is expected to marry and a matchmaker is hired.
Outraged at the thought, May sets out to find her own way in the big city of Osaka. The accompanying story of his mother and her journey as a young woman is heartfelt. Tea with Milk vividly portrays the graceful formality of Japan and captures the struggle between two cultures as May strives to live out her own life.
Alongside his Caldecott Medal-winning Grandfather’s Journey, in Tea with Milk, master storyteller Allen Say continues to chronicle his family’s history between Japan and California.
The amazing tricks two American soldiers perform on a borrowed bicycle are a fitting finale for the school sports day festivities in a small village in occupied Japan.
As a young woman, Miss Irwin was a kindergarten teacher who loved introducing the world of discovery to her students. As a grandmother, she often reflects on her wonderful days exploring with her students. When her grandson asks her about a mysterious box on the shelf, she gets lost in memory and her mind transports her back in time to when she was Miss Irwin. At first her grandson is confused, but remembers his grandmother's forgetfulness and plays along as the student who made the bird's nest inside the white box.
Allen Say's breathtaking artwork and emotionally powerful and thoughtful text gently weave a touching story about memory and family. Together, the grandmother and grandson rejoice in the meaning and beauty of memory before all is lost.
Miss Irwin helps readers of all ages better understand and interact with loved ones who are experiencing memory loss.
The teachers I loved and admired are figures of light in my memory. Miss Irwin is especially luminous. She was my daughter's kindergarten teacher. The children's words and drawings and dancing made her blush with excitement. And by trying to keep her blushing, the children learned the astonishment of discovering.
I hope she will forgive me for casting her as a forgetful grandmother in this story -- it's an attempt to capture her light before all is forgotten. -- Allen Say
Alzheimer's changes the lives of everyone it touches. You are not alone.
When a friend or family member has Alzheimer's disease, you may feel upset, confused or scared. Some people with early-stage Alzheimer's may forget words or not remember your name from time to time. But, when you spend time with people with late-stage Alzheimer's, it is easy to see that something serious is going on. People with Alzheimer's disease are not acting like this because they don't care about you. Changes deep inside their brains are destroying the centers that control remembering, thinking, and feeling. Learning about Alzheimer's disease can help you understand what to expect and how to connect with the person you care about. -- Alzheimer’s Association
Thirteen-year-old Kiyoi, an apprentice to the famous cartoonist, Noro Shinpei, tries to develop his talent and become self-reliant, in this novel based upon the author's own boyhood in Japan.
Early one morning a boy comes into town, hungry, and looking for work. He meets a sign painter who takes him on as a helper. The boy yearns to be a painter. The man offers him security.
The two are commissioned to paint a series of billboards in the desert. Each billboard has one word, Arrowstar. They do not know its meaning. As they are about to paint the last sign, the boy looks up and sees in the distance a magnificent structure. Is it real? They go to find out.
Through a simple text and extraordinary paintings, the reader learns of the temptation of safe choices and the uncertainties of following a personal dream. Here Allen Say tells a haunting and provocative story of dreams and choices for readers of all ages. This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Read-Aloud Story)