Take What You Can Carry

Overview

In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle runs wild with his friends and learns to shoplift from the local convenience store. In 1941 Berkeley, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, and their teenage son must decide how to deal with his new life. But though these boys are growing up in wildly different places and times, their lives intersect in more ways than one, as they discover compassion, learn loyalty, and find renewal in the most ...

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Overview

In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle runs wild with his friends and learns to shoplift from the local convenience store. In 1941 Berkeley, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, and their teenage son must decide how to deal with his new life. But though these boys are growing up in wildly different places and times, their lives intersect in more ways than one, as they discover compassion, learn loyalty, and find renewal in the most surprising of places.

 

Kevin C. Pyle’s evocative images bring to life a story of unlikely ties across space and generations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two teenage boys separated by time and culture are connected by shared experiences. Kyle is young and bored with his life in late 1970s suburban Chicago. Having recently moved there, he makes new friends and turns to vandalism and shoplifting to keep his life exciting. In the early 1940s Ken Himitsu, the son of Japanese immigrants living in Berkeley, Calif., is sent along with the rest of his family to a forced relocation camp after the outbreak of WWII. Ken, frustrated with the conditions, turns to theft to get the food and supplies that are kept from them. Pyle shifts between each story, differentiating between them by coloring styles. Ken’s story, told without the use of text and with a heavily inked visual texture, is particularly striking. The story builds slowly, with the connection between the two gradually revealed. But the touching way in which Ken learns responsibility through the necessity of stealing for others while Kyle learns responsibility after being punished for selfish theft is accomplished quite well. Pyle has created a quiet, contemplative, and effective glimpse into two distant in time yet similar lives. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
". . . speaks [to the] metaphorical journey of forgiveness and redemption.”—Horn Book

 

"...offers an expressive view of the past that is both nostalgic and harshly realistic.”—Booklist

 

"Pyle has created a quiet, contemplative, and effective glimpse into two distant in time yet similar lives.”—Publishers Weekly

 

Praise for Blindspot:

“With this graphic novel, Kevin Pyle has eloquently mapped out the line between youth and adulthood. He captures pivotal moments of transformation through pitch-perfect dialogue and surprising graphic inventions. Blindspot is everything that is great and unique about this art form.” —Peter Kuper, author/artist of Sticks and Stones

 

“This perfectly captures a shining moment of boyhood . . .” —Booklist

 

“Pyle uses the graphic novel format to powerful effect. . . . This is a very smart and humane graphic novel that. . .resonates with a broad emotional range.” —Publishers Weekly

 

Praise for Katman:

“The actions of these characters will make thoughtful readers reexamine their ideas about friendship, loyalty, and heroism.” —School Library Journal

 

“Inventive . . . an entertaining humanist parable.” —Booklist

VOYA - Geri Diorio
Kyle, a young teen, moves into a new housing development in the late 1970s and falls in with some bored local guys. They wreak minor havoc with construction sites in their neighborhood and when that grows tiresome, Kyle begins shoplifting from a convenience store. When he gets caught, the owner does not press charges but insists that Kyle work off his debt. Kyle's story alternates with that of teenager, Himitsu, and his family being sent to an internment camp during World War II. Himitsu was also not a model youth; he did things in the camp that Kyle echoes thirty-three years later: petty theft, disobeying his elders, and minor crimes; all driven out of boredom and frustration at being locked up, much as Kyle shoplifts and vandalizes because he is bored and frustrated in his new neighborhood. When and where these stories connect is at the heart of the book. Wordless sepia-toned panels tell Himitsu's story, while white and blue art conveys Kyle's Chicago suburb. Pyle's images are filled with details to pore over, and although this graphic novel may be quick to get through, it rewards multiple readings, revealing small details that might be glossed over initially. This is a moving story that not only shows how people can connect despite differences in age and background, but also explains a shameful period of American history about which teens may not know. There are informative historical end-notes that explain about the camps and their impact on Japanese-American culture. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In 1978, Kyle, a rebellious kid in a new town, gets in over his head trying to impress his friends by shoplifting. Decades earlier, young Ken Himitsu is angry about being incarcerated in Manzanar, an internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were forced to relocate during World War II. The two plots intertwine in a surprising way as the boys experience parallel feelings of frustration in coping with unwanted circumstances, and both ultimately gain wisdom from an elder. Pyle's expressive artwork draws a visual distinction between the stories: the 1978 sections are illustrated with solid lines and shades of blue, while the World War II story line is rendered in sepia tones and soft brushstrokes, evocative of vintage photographs and Japanese ink wash paintings. Though Ken's story, told only in images, presents a well-researched picture of life in Manzanar, wordless storytelling might not be the ideal way to introduce this complex topic. An excellent historical note at the end of the book provides necessary context, but readers unfamiliar with the period are unlikely to have the patience to stick with a story they don't understand. Still, even if the specifics elude some teens, the essential emotions shine through. This graphic novel makes a powerful statement about respect, gratitude, and forgiveness. Readers may be compelled to learn more about the events that inspired the story, making it a good companion for nonfiction works such as Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's Farewell to Manzanar (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) or Heather C. Lindquist's Children of Manzanar (Heyday Bks., 2012).—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805082869
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,426,152
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin C. Pyle is the author and illustrator of Blindspot and Katman, and his work has appeared in the Village Voice, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.  He lives in New Jersey.

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