The Favorite Daughter


A father helps his daughter find pride and inspiration in this masterful picture book.

Yuriko hates her name when the children make fun of it and call her "Eureka!" Though she is half Japanese, the teasing makes her want to hide, to retreat even from the art projects she used to love. Fortunately she has a patient, kind father who finds gentle ways of drawing her out and reminding Yuriko of the traditions they share that have always brought her joy: walks in lovely Golden Gate ...

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A father helps his daughter find pride and inspiration in this masterful picture book.

Yuriko hates her name when the children make fun of it and call her "Eureka!" Though she is half Japanese, the teasing makes her want to hide, to retreat even from the art projects she used to love. Fortunately she has a patient, kind father who finds gentle ways of drawing her out and reminding Yuriko of the traditions they share that have always brought her joy: walks in lovely Golden Gate Park, lunch at their favorite sushi restaurant, watching the fog blow in off the bay. It's enough... it's more than enough to face down her challenges with confidence.

From the incomparable Allen Say comes another moving story taken from his personal experience and translated to the universal. This tale, dedicated with love to Say's daughter, is one for all parents who want their children to feel pride in their heritage, and to know their own greatest sources of strength and inspiration.

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER will be a favorite for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Krystyna Poray Goddu
In The Favorite Daughter, Say's watercolors are more casual and sketchier than the full-bodied, precise artwork in earlier books…They partner well with the gentle, playful tone of the narrative, which is almost entirely dialogue. The book offers a lighthearted look at the angst of wanting to both blend in and stand out.
Publishers Weekly
Yuriko’s classroom is an uncomfortable place to be a biracial child. “The new art teacher called me ‘Eureka,’ ” Yuriko tells her father. “I want an American name, Daddy.” Fortunately, Yuriko’s father adores her—hence the book’s title, Say’s nickname for his only child. His ability to mediate between Japanese culture and American reality helps turn a frustrating class art assignment into triumph; Yuriko uses a collection of chopsticks and some fluffy cotton to construct a replica of the Golden Gate bridge blanketed in fog. Caldecott-winner Say’s (Grandfather’s Journey) meticulous draftsmanship and openhearted honesty make this a memorable piece of autobiography. Family photographs of Yuriko dressed in Japanese kimono add to the story’s intimacy; she’s pictured first as a toddler, and then, on the last page, as a young woman, a bit self-conscious in her finery. As a bonus, Say offers an affirming portrait of a divorced father savoring every minute of his shared custody, and of an artist coaching his child through cookie-cutter art assignments: “They’re fun if you think of them as puzzles,” he tells her. Ages 4–8. (June)
From the Publisher


"Aesthetically superb; this will fascinate comics readers and budding artists while creating new Say fans." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

"Illustrations are richly detailed and infused with warmth.... Readers of all ages will be inspired by the young Say's drive and determination." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

"As the story of a young artist's coming of age, Say's account is complex, poignant, and unfailingly honest. Say's fans--and those who also feel the pull of the artist's life--will be captivated." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Approached from almost any angle, this book is a treasure." -- WASHINGTON POST

Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
Award-winning author/illustrator Allen Say (Grandfather's Journey), shares the personal story of a young half-Japanese girl, Yuriko, growing up in San Francisco. When a class project requires her to bring in a baby picture, Yuriko and her father select a photo of her in a red, flowered kimono he bought her in Japan. But when Yuriko brings it in to school, the other children laugh at her. "They said Japanese dolls have black hair. ?Yoo-REE-ko in ki-MO-na!'" Upset, she tells her father she wishes she had an American name and asks to be called Michelle. As they spend time together, eating at a favorite local sushi restaurant, visiting the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, and driving across the iconic bridge, they both discuss and reflect on her heritage and memories. At a gift shop, Yuriko observes her name is never on the key chains sold. But when they stop at an old man at the park doing Japanese ink paintings of visitor's names, she receives a unique painting: her name written in Japanese with a beautiful lily. The artist tells her she has a lovely name, "the Child of the Lily." Her next school assignment is to make an art project of the Golden Gate Bridge. Her unique twist on the project is just as original as she is. A patient and quiet story about being proud of one's heritage. Say's beautiful paintings communicate the bond between a father and daughter. Two real photographs of Yuriko, Say's daughter to whom the book is dedicated, are included. A moving and lovely, multicultural tale. Reviewer: Emily Griffin
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Whereas Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011) revealed a slice of Say's youth, this title is seen through the lens of fatherhood, although the narrator is omniscient. As the story opens, "Yuriko came to stay with her father on Thursday that week." Readers follow the flaxen-haired child through homework assignments that involve bringing a baby picture to school and, later, creating a model of the Golden Gate Bridge. A photograph of Yuriko clad in a red, flowered kimono becomes a source of confusion for her classmates, who associate Japanese appearance with dark hair. When the art teacher mispronounces her name, and the students follow suit, her day goes from bad to worse; miserable, she seeks a new identity upon arriving home. Father and daughter visit a familiar sushi restaurant, Golden Gate Park, and the bridge (shrouded in fog), all of which help the troubled girl process her feelings and inspire a unique response to the art project. Their banter pits paternal teasing mixed with loving support against childlike swings between melodrama and earnestness. Say's command of watercolor, ink, and pencil develops the visual narrative through a combination of uncluttered interiors; peaceful, restorative gardens; and emotionally complex portraits. The concluding photograph of Yuriko as a young woman in Japan (also wearing a kimono) conveys an acceptance and pride regarding her heritage and adds impact to the message. A sensitive addition to the canon of picture books about children coming to terms with being "different."—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
When an episode of teasing makes Yuriko doubt herself--her name, her heritage, her interests--her father gently guides her back to her roots and herself. For a school assignment, Yuriko brings in a photograph of herself in a cherished kimono. When she comes home, her excitement has changed to despondence. Her classmates laughed and told her that Japanese dolls have black hair, while Yuriko is blonde. Then the new art teacher mispronounces her name and assigns a subject Yuriko has depicted in art before. In response, Yuriko impetuously declares she should now be called Michelle, and Michelle does not like art. Her father listens carefully and cleverly takes Yuriko to revisit the things she loves: her favorite restaurant for sushi and the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park. Illustrated with spare, clean watercolors, there is subtlety in this tale that's told almost completely through the dialogue between father and daughter. Some will identify with the cultural details that ground the tale; all will relate to how teasing makes Yuriko feel uncertain about the very things that make her unique. Yuriko does some critical and creative thinking about her identity and her art, proving herself her father's original--and favorite--daughter. This is as much a story about cultural pride as it about self-esteem and problem-solving, from which all can draw a lesson. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545176620
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 325,046
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (written by Dianne Snyder). Many of Allen's stories are derived from his own experiences as a child. His other books include THE BICYCLE MAN, TEA WITH MILK, and TREE OF CRANES, hailed by the HORN BOOK in a starred review as "the achievement of a master in his prime." Allen's recent book, DRAWING FROM MEMORY, received four starred reviews. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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