Drawing from Memory

by Allen Say

Allen Say’s arresting autobiography focuses on his childhood, adolescence,... read more

Allen Say’s arresting autobiography focuses on his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood in Japan, when his desire to be an artist was counter to his father’s expectations. After World Way II (details of which are notably restrained), Say lived with his grandmother and then, remarkably, in an apartment on his own in Tokyo at age twelve after he was accepted into a private art school. Reading about another young, aspiring artist in the newspaper, Say sought the teen out and ended up meeting not only the boy, Tokida, but his sensei, Noro Shinpei, a noted cartoonist, who became Say’s teacher, too. Say details the next three years spent apprenticing with Shinpei and attending art school, a phase of his life that draws to a close, like this book, as he prepares to depart for the United States at age fifteen. Say’s fascinating personal history unfolds through both the prose narrative and the many illustrations, including black-and-white drawings, cartoons, and photographs and full-color paintings and panel illustrations. An author’s note includes additional photographs accompanying a narrative in which Say writes more about his relationship with Shinpei, “this man who had become my spiritual father.” (Age 10 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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