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Grandfather's Journey

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Overview

Lyrical, breathtaking, splendid—words used to describe Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey when it was first published. At once deeply personal yet expressing universally held emotions, this tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places captured readers’ attention and hearts. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, it remains as historically relevant and emotionally engaging as ever.

A Japanese American man recounts his ...

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Overview

Lyrical, breathtaking, splendid—words used to describe Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey when it was first published. At once deeply personal yet expressing universally held emotions, this tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places captured readers’ attention and hearts. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, it remains as historically relevant and emotionally engaging as ever.

A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather's journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This autobiographical reminiscence describes the wanderlust of the author's grandfather, who is torn between love for his native Japan and for California. Missing one place while in the other, the grandfather is always longing to be where he isn't. The grandson inherits his grandfather's love of travel, and like him, longs to be in both places at the same time. Soft-hued paintings decorate this quiet testament of love for both family and place.
From the Publisher
The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked.
Horn Book, Starred
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Say transcends the achievements of his Tree of Cranes and A River Dream with this breathtaking picture book, at once a very personal tribute to his grandfather and a distillation of universally shared emotions. Elegantly honed text accompanies large, formally composed paintings to convey Say's family history; the sepia tones and delicately faded colors of the art suggest a much-cherished and carefully preserved family album. A portrait of Say's grandfather opens the book, showing him in traditional Japanese dress, ``a young man when he left his home in Japan and went to see the world.'' Crossing the Pacific on a steamship, he arrives in North America and explores the land by train, by riverboat and on foot. One especially arresting, light-washed painting presents Grandfather in shirtsleeves, vest and tie, holding his suit jacket under his arm as he gazes over a prairie: ``The endless farm fields reminded him of the ocean he had crossed.'' Grandfather discovers that ``the more he traveled, the more he longed to see new places,'' but he nevertheless returns home to marry his childhood sweetheart. He brings her to California, where their daughter is born, but her youth reminds him inexorably of his own, and when she is nearly grown, he takes the family back to Japan. The restlessness endures: the daughter cannot be at home in a Japanese village; he himself cannot forget California. Although war shatters Grandfather's hopes to revisit his second land, years later Say repeats the journey: ``I came to love the land my grandfather had loved, and I stayed on and on until I had a daughter of my own.'' The internal struggle of his grandfather also continues within Say, who writes that he, too, misses the places of his childhood and periodically returns to them. The tranquility of the art and the powerfully controlled prose underscore the profundity of Say's themes, investing the final line with an abiding, aching pathos: ``The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.'' Ages 4-8. Oct.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-A personal history of three generations of the author's family that points out the emotions that are common to the immigrant experience. Splendid, photoreal watercolors have the look of formal family portraits or candid snapshots, all set against idyllic landscapes in Japan and in the U.S. Sept., 1993
Children's Literature - Joan Kindig
Grandfather's Journey is a magnificent book about the protagonist's grandfather who leaves Japan to come to America as a young man. He remains in America where he builds his life and has a family but all the while he is thinking about and remembering all he left behind in Japan. When his daughter is grown, he takes the family back to Japan and he loves being back in the land of his birth. But all the while he is there he is thinking about and remembering the beauty of the mountains surrounding San Francisco and his life back in the United States. He will forever have his heart in two different places and never feel entirely at home in either place. The illustrations are superb and the book was recognized with a Caldecott Medal in 2009. B.D. Wong, widely known as Dr. George Huang on the television show Law & Order: SVU, narrates the story with all the quiet beauty the story deserves. An interview with the author/illustrator is included. While officially the age range is ages five to eight, I find this book is suited to an older crowd from about 3rd grade and up. It is even useful in middle and high school classrooms when discussing immigration. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Loretta Caravette
A beautifully illustrated picture book comes to life on DVD. With tasteful music and gentle narration, the story of Grandfather's journey to America from Japan takes flight. The emotional connection Grandfather has toward his homeland and to this new country is evident in the illustrations. The original illustrations from the book are used on the DVD. However, their use is enhanced as the camera focuses on one aspect of the drawing or layers image over image of the majestic mountains or slowly reveals the sea of grain Grandfather is walking through. The narration makes the visual selection even more poignant. The DVD follows the story faithfully. We follow the Grandfather's journey, but are also privy to the journey of the daughter and then of the daughter's son, who is telling the story. The watercolor illustrations show the cultural differences and yet the similar style of painting keeps the new generation connected to the past. The DVD enhances the experience of the picture book and at the end leaves a lasting impression of love and family and appreciation for home. The DVD is a great way to introduce ancestry to older children who might find the notion of a picture book off putting. Guided Reading Level: N. Reviewer: Loretta Caravette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547076805
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 64,403
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    Great book for a classroom

    This book is written with a lot of voice and it tells a story with vivid language. An amazing book for elementary age children

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    Gradfather's Journey

    Sometimes 'the grass ins't always greener on the other side.' In Allen Say's story both places were equally beautiful and wonderful. But in both places there was always something missing. This book can illustrate through his grandfather's journey the various wonders of our land the mountain, the rivers, and the grasslands. I enjoyed reading this book. Also, I can see why he won the Caldecott Medal for illustrations. They were beautiful. Allen Say like his grandfather traveled from Japan to America and can understand the desire to be in both places at once. Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1993.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2007

    Torn Between Two Places

    Grandfather's Journey is a Caldecott Medal Winner with very good reason. The story is told by the author, Allen Say. Say tells the story of his grandfather's journey from Japan to America. His grandfather loved America but missed his homeland of Japan. He returned to Japan to marry his first love. However, he begins to miss America and returns, where he and his wife raise their daughter. Grandfather begins to miss Japan once more and returns. When Say is born his favorite memories are those spent with his grandfather and hearing tales of California. When Say is old enough he travels to America and realizes why his father was so torn between which country he would like to call home. Will Say make his home in Japan or America? You must read to find out. This is a great story to teach children about history. It is very discriptive and the illustrations are wonderful. This book is recommended for 3rd and 4th grade levels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    This is the story of a young Japanese man that leaves Japan prio

    This is the story of a young Japanese man that leaves Japan prior to WWII to see the United States. He fell in love with the country and the people. He lived in both countries, loving each, as does his son the writer of the book. 
    This poignant story of how a man loves two countries is an excellent presentation of how cultures mix throughout the years. The pictures are beautiful and convey the story, showing the changes through the years. The words and the pictures convey the longing of the storyteller to be in both countries. The story is beautiful and, for those who have lived in more than one country, may help verbalize feelings of longing for both homes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    A wonderful story of home is where the heart is.

    In the book grandfather's Journey by Allen Say, the grandson tells of his grandfather's journey to the new world. In the book he is originally from Japan and travels to California, where he falls in love with the land. He is torn and homesick for each place California and Japan when not there. The grandson later in the story grows up to understand how his grandfather felt. Allen say did a wonderful job with the text as well as the illustrations in the story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    Very Encouraging through the words and beautiful illustrations.

    ¿A good story should alter you in some way it should change your thinking, your feeling, your psyche, or the way you look at things. A story is an abstract experience it's rather like venturing through a maze. When you come out of it, you should feel slightly changed¿ as Allen Say would reply. Allen is well known because of the book, Grandfather¿s Journey. He received the Caldecott Award for this book 1994. Many of his books have autobiographical features to them, and he concentrates mainly on the Japan-American and Japanese characters in his stories. Grandfather¿s Journey is a story about Allen Say¿s grandfather¿s life trying to live in America and Japan. He loves both countries and he desires to be at both places at once. In the book, it says ¿The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other. I think I know my grandfather now. I miss him very much.¿ This story shows people how relationships can be important and how a person can affect our life. It is a very encouraging story and the illustrations are wonderful. The level of the book is third grade. I encourage to people to read this book because I absolutely loved it. It moved me through the encouraging words and beautiful illustrations. Say, Allen. Grandfather¿s Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Very little

    There are very little words on the pages but it is avery good book it talks about allin says conetion with his grandfather and how they both admiered california and japain and they return to home and he says that his grandfather wants to see california again but he never did

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    Jnmnj,/;:/@''"?!+-)&,;

    L

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Gradfather's journeyy Read this book!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is very moving

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    READDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!+

    Omg this is such a good book i read it in my reading class last week so good and itjust so happens that the forien exchange student from south korea in my fourth gr class has been to the place in japan he was born

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Hi people

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2006

    Have you ever felt like you just didn¿t fit in....that you belonged somewhere else?

    This is exactly how the characters felt in this story. Grandfather¿s Journey is the story of a man who struggles to determine where his true home is the United States or Japan. The story is told from the perspective of his grandson. After leaving his homeland in Japan, the grandfather travels to the United States and establishes a new home in San Francisco, California. He loves his new home but he still longs for his old homeland. He becomes homesick for the mountains, rivers and old friends in Japan. He eventually returns to Japan He laughs with his friends in his home village and for a time is happy. But in time he finds that he then misses San Francisco. The grandson grows up to find himself in a similar situation, ¿ The moment I am in on country, I am homesick for the other.¿ Because of this, whenever he thinks of his grandfather he understands him more than ever. I enjoyed reading this book immensely and as a future educator, I feel that children can discover emotions that are experienced by immigrants as they move to different countries. Grandfather's Journey is a beautifully illustrated story which deserves to be read by people of all ages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Grandfather's Journey

    Grandfather¿s Journey is a book about Allen Say¿s own personal life about his grandfather. Say¿s grandfather was originally from Japan. One his grandfather set out on s boat to explore the world. He went through some picturesque towns and saw some of the most vivid lands in America. He met people of different color that he had no idea existed. Say¿s grandfather ended up on the west coast in beautiful California. His grandfather missed his family and friends dearly that he a left in Japan, so he decided that he would return home to visit. In the meantime he married his life long love and had a daughter. She grew up, got married and Allen. Allen¿s grandfather always told him marvelous stories about his journey to America, but he wanted him to experience it for himself. They had planned to travel to America but a war came, causing Allen Say to journey to America by himself. Say cherishes the memory of his grandfather and being in America made him understand his grandfather¿s passion. Say, Allen. Grandfather¿s Journey. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Grandfather's Journey

    Grandfather¿s Journey is a Caldecott medal book. This book is written by a grandson that reflects on his grandfather¿s journey to America. His grandfather loved his childhood country of Japan but he loved America. After his grandfather married his childhood sweetheart he moved back to America. ¿He remembered the mountains and rivers of his home. He surrounded himself with songbirds, but he could not forget.¿ Will grandfather return to Japan or stay in America? This book would be for grades 3rd-6th. I loved this book. It made me think about my grandfather traveling while he was in the Navy. I had never thought to ask him why he decided to move to Kentucky, until I read this book. Allen Say wrote and illustrated this book. He was born in Yokohama, Japan. He came to the United States when he was sixteen. He now lives in San Franciso. Say, Allen. Grandfather¿s Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2006

    Grandfather's Journey

    The Caldecott Medal Award Winner titled Grandfather¿s Journey by Allen Say is undeniably creditable for a rating of a five. This story is factually filled with biographic, attention-grabbing details about Allen¿s family unit history which unsurprisingly draws the readers directly into the story. Also, the information given by Allen in the story, especially the ending, reaches out and touches the hearts of his readers in an extremely emotional approach. The protagonist of this unforgettable story is clearly the author of this book which is Allen Say. The setting of the story takes place both in Japan and in America. The illustrations in this book are truly remarkable paintings, some of which consist of Allen Say and his grandfather. Allen presents the viewers and listeners with genuine facts about his grandfather¿s fulfilling and adventurous journey from Japan to America. This book is classified in the Biography or Autobiography genre chiefly because it contains factual information about his grandfather¿s as well as his own life situations. The theme of this biography is observably clear consisting of his grandfather¿s various journey¿s going back and forth from Japan to America. Like Allen¿s grandfather Allen couldn¿t make up his mind whether he wanted to stay in America or Japan. For instance, the text reads ¿The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other¿. This picture book is age appropriate for ages four to eight. Although, the plot in this biography may be too sophisticated for the younger audiences. This story is astonishingly well written to naturally capture the complete interest of the reader and audience without delays. Allen Say was initially born in Yokohama, Japan. His was sixteen years of age upon his first arrival to America. The author Allen Say has won numerous awards for his works including both the ALA Notable Children¿s Book award and Notable Children¿s Trade Book award for his latest work titled ¿Tree of Cranes¿ namely in the field of ¿social studies¿. Say, Allen. Grandfather¿s Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company 1993.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2006

    A compelling autobiography as a author remembers is grandfather.

    Grandfather's Journey, by Allen Say is the story of his own grandfather's life. The story is about a man from Japan who wants to see the world. His first journey takes place on a steamship setting across the Pacific Ocean. After 3 weeks, he finally sets foot in North America, where he saw everything the land had to offer. California was the place he loved the most, for the author wrote, ' He loved the strong sunset there, the Sierra Mountains, and the lonely seacoast. Eventually he returned to the village and married his childhood sweetheart, and soon moved to the San Francisco Bay. This is were their daughter was born. The grandfather began to miss Japan, and when the time was right, he and his family moved back to their homeland. Soon they were faced with difficult obsticles and the grandfather once again began to miss California. Now he had a grandson, whom he shared his stories with, and through his grandson he was able to travel with memories. It was through his grandfather, that he began to make his own journey's. The main theme of the book that no matter where we are, we are always longing for more until we get there. The author/illustrator, Allen Say, was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. At age 6, he wanted to become a cartoonist, and at age 12, was apprenticed by cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. His first book was published in 1972, but it wasn't until 1987 that Allen wanted to make a full commentment to writing and illustrating. In 1994 he won the Caldecott medal for Grandfather's Journey. Allen Say now lives in Portland, Oregon with his family. I enjoyed reading Grandfather's Journey. It kind of made me want to travel and explore new places. I loved the illustrations the most. They were amazing with the landscapes. They almost seemed real. I would recommend this book to grades K-3. It is a easy read with some interesting information. Children everywhere will be asking their grandfather's about their journeys in life. Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    A Journey

    Have you ever wanted to be two places at one time? In this Caldecott Medal winning book the main character has this problem. An autobiographical story about a man who travels to the New World from his homeland, Japan, and it amazed by all the things he sees. The more he traveled the more he wanted to see. Finally he returns to his home country of Japan and marries but he does not stop traveling. He moves his new wife to San Francisco and starts a family. As he grows old he starts to miss his homeland, so once again he moves back to Japan. He often tells his grandchild about California and how he would like to see it again one day. Unfortunately he is not able to return so his grandson goes on the adventure for him. The Grandchild loves both countries, ¿The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.¿ Just like his grandfather, he too wanted to be two places at one time. Allen Say was born in Japan and came to the United States when he was sixteen. He lives in San Francisco like his grandfather once did. His written words and colorful illustrations make this Caldecott Medal winning book a treasure to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    High Historical and Cultural Value

    This is very good book that brings together two different cultures. The illustrations accurately show the different landscapes of America and how diverse it is. It¿s the story of a boy¿s grandfather journeying to America from Japan where he falls in love with California. Later his grandparents and mother return to Japan and the boy is born sometime later. It shows how you can love two different cultures and long to have both of them in your life. If his grandfather had never traveled to America, he might not have came to love California too. I highly recommend this book especially for its¿ cultural and historical value.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Interesting

    Through compelling reminiscences of his grandfather¿s life in America and Japan, a man tell the story of his grandfather¿s journey. He tells how his grandfather loved two countries and traveled back and forth often. ¿When in one country he would invariably miss the other.¿ In the end the man ¿understands his grandfather more.¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    College Review for Class

    Long for far away places? Then this children¿s picture book ¿Grandfather¿s Journey¿ a 1994 Caldecott Medal is the right book for you to read. The story is told about a young man¿s grandfather who left his home in Japan and went to see the world. He explored North America by train and riverboat, and often walked for days on end. He saw the desert, farm land, huge cities and towering mountains and rivers as clear as the sky. And the people he met along the way. The more he traveled, the more he longed to see new places, and never thought of returning home. But of all the places he visited, he liked California best. Then after some time, he started longing for home. Returning to his home land, he married his childhood sweetheart, and then brought her to the new country where they had a baby girl and when the daughter grew, he thought about his homeland and his old friends. So, he took his family back to his home land in Japan and after some time, he thought about ¿¿ To find out if grandfather¿s journey takes me back to the place he called home in California, read this book by Allen Say to find out what happens. The author Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, and came to the United States when he was sixteen. He lives in San Francisco. Other books you will enjoy by this author and illustrator are: The Lost Lake, A River Dream, and The Bicycle Man. Say Allen, Grandfather¿s Journey, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston 1993

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