Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Grandfather's Journey
  • Alternative view 1 of Grandfather's Journey
  • Alternative view 2 of Grandfather's Journey

Grandfather's Journey

4.2 36
by Allen Say

See All Formats & Editions

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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked.
Horn Book, Starred
Barnes & Noble Staff
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.
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

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.20(d)
AD650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked as it is in this direct, lyrical narrative that is able to stir emotions through the sheer simplicity of its telling." Horn Book, Starred

Library Media Connection

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Grandfather's Journey 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
gjo50 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very moving
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ian Welfeld More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a biography of the author's grandfather who is from Japan and travels to America. The man loves Califronia and all of the things it has to offer. This is a great story that shows children that biographys does not have to be boring. This is a good book for children to become associated to what immigrants from other countries have to deal with when coming to America for the first time. This story would be appropriate for children seven to ten and is in the biography category. Allen first won the Caldecott Medal in 1994 for Grandfather's Journey. Allen Say now lives in Portland, Oregon with his family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.