Tea With Milk (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

( 3 )

Overview

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. ...

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Tea with Milk

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Overview

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. With elegant watercolors reminiscent of Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say has created a moving tribute to his parents and their path to discovering where home really is. The accompanying story of his mother and her journey as a young woman is heartfelt. Vividly portraying the graceful formality of Japan, Tea with Milk effectively captures th

After growing up near San Francisco, a young Japanese woman returns with her parents to their native Japan, but she feels foreign and out of place.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Say's masterfully executed watercolors tell as much of this story about a young woman's challenging transition from America to Japan as his eloquent, economical prose. Raised near San Francisco, Masako (her American friends called her May) is uprooted after high school when her parents return to their Japanese homeland. In addition to repeating high school to learn Japanese, she must learn the arts of a "proper Japanese lady"--flower arranging, calligraphy and the tea ceremony--and is expected to marry well. Declaring "I'd rather have a turtle than a husband," the independent-minded Masako heads for the city of Osaka and gets a job in a department store. With his characteristic subtlety, Say sets off his cultural metaphor from the very start, contrasting the green tea Masako has for breakfast in her home, with the "tea with milk and sugar" she drinks at her friends' houses in America. Later, when she meets a young Japanese businessman who also prefers tea with milk and sugar to green tea, readers will know that she's met her match. Say reveals on the final page that the couple are his parents. Whether the subject is food ("no more pancakes or omelets, fried chicken or spaghetti" in Japan) or the deeper issues of ostracism (her fellow students call Masako "gaijin"--foreigner) and gender expectations, Say provides gentle insights into human nature as well as East-West cultural differences. His exquisite, spare portraits convey emotions that lie close to the surface and flow easily from page to reader: with views of Masako's slumping posture and mask-like face as she dons her first kimono, or alone in the schoolyard, it's easy to sense her dejection. Through choice words and scrupulously choreographed paintings, Say's story communicates both the heart's yearning for individuality and freedom and how love and friendship can bridge cultural chasms. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
If you loved Grandfather's Journey then Tea With Milk gives another look at Say's family, only this time it is through the eyes of his mother. Masako has never known her parents homeland, she spent her life growing up in the United States. Just as she is planning to head off to college, the family returns to Japan. How frustrating, she is an outsider who must wear kimonos, sit on the floor and worst of all her parents have hired a matchmaker to find her a respectable husband. She rebelled at a time when properly raised girls in Japan just didn't leave home, head for the city and look for a job. May, as she preferred to be called, found work in a department store and also met her future husband, another foreigner who was raised by an English family. They discovered that they both share a love of tea with milk and sugar along with a desire to create their own home and place in the world. The poignant story is accompanied by Say's glorious paintings that look like photographs from a family album. They beautifully capture the setting and the emotions.
Library Journal
K-Gr 6-When her Japanese-born parents leave America for their homeland, an independent girl reluctantly follows and melds her experience and her heritage to find a new meaning for the word "home." This perfect marriage of artwork and text offers readers a window into a different place and time. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-Continuing the story he started in Grandfather's Journey (Houghton, 1993), Say explores familiar themes of cultural connection and disconnection. He focuses on his mother Masako, or May, as she prefers to be called, who, after graduating from high school in California, unwillingly moves with her parents to their native Japan. She is homesick for her native country and misses American food. She rebels against her parents, who force her to repeat high school so that she can learn "her own language"; the other students tease her for being "gaijin" or a foreigner. Masako leaves home and obtains a job in a department store in Osaka, a city that reminds her of her beloved San Francisco. Her knowledge of English quickly makes her a valued employee and brings her into contact with her future husband, Joseph, a Japanese man who was educated at an English boarding school in Shanghai. They decide that together they can make a life anywhere, and choose to remain in Japan. Say's many fans will be thrilled to have another episode in his family saga, which he relates with customary grace and elegance. The pages are filled with detailed drawings featuring Japanese architecture and clothing, and because of the artist's mastery at drawing figures, the people come to life as authentic and sympathetic characters. This is a thoughtful and poignant book that will appeal to a wide range of readers, particularly our nation's many immigrants who grapple with some of the same challenges as May and Joseph, including feeling at home in a place that is not their own.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Margaret Moorman
...Say elaborates on his mother's story, pursuing the sort of character he clearly understands well: a person whose heart is divided between one home and another....a spirited but very proper love story...
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say's mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that "home isn't a place or a building that's ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else." Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say's illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman's How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780606106948
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 884,433
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.40 (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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Favorite Picture Book

    I'm on my nook, so for my ease, I'll keep this short. This book fueled my obssession with Japan when I was a little girl. I loved it and salute Allen Say. This book never ceases to amaze me. must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2011

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