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The Inker's Shadow
     

The Inker's Shadow

by Allen Say
 

Caldecott Medalist, Allen Say, presents a companion to his award-wining Drawing from Memory - the story of his coming-of-age at a military academy and the discovery of what it means to be American

For Allen Say, life as teen in Southern California was a cold existence. His father, one of the leading hamburger salesmen in Japan, ran a booming burger

Overview


Caldecott Medalist, Allen Say, presents a companion to his award-wining Drawing from Memory - the story of his coming-of-age at a military academy and the discovery of what it means to be American

For Allen Say, life as teen in Southern California was a cold existence. His father, one of the leading hamburger salesmen in Japan, ran a booming burger business, much like McDonald's, and sent Allen to an American military academy, so that his son could learn English and "become a success in life."

As the school's first and only Japanese student, he experienced immediate racism among his fellow cadets and his teachers. The other kids' parents complained about Allen's presence at the all-white school. As a result, he was relegated to a tool shed behind the mess hall. Determined to free himself from this oppression, Allen saved enough money to buy a 1946 Ford for $50 - then escaped to find the America of his dreams!

In this follow-up to Drawing from Memory, Allen continues to reinvent himself as an author and illustrator. Melding his paintings with cartoon images and archival photos, Allen Say delivers an accessible book that will appeal to any reader in search of himself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/03/2015
In this companion to Drawing from Memory (2011), Say recalls his life as a teenager in the U.S. after leaving Japan for military school in California at age 15. The school, run by a friend of his father's, later expels Say; they don't think he will make "a wholesome American." As a minor with almost no income and a father whose psychological cruelty verges on sadistic, the boy finds himself at the mercy of his country's former enemy. Bullied and patronized ("I got nothing against you, buddy.... But my pop fought against you guys"), he is rescued by kindly strangers who recognize his artistic talent. In his loneliness, Say remembers the cartoon character Kyusuke, a sort of Japanese Pinocchio who provides him with a comic alter ego during his most anguished moments. "How could I forget?" the artist asks himself after his father visits from Japan to personally oversee his expulsion. "I'm Kyusuke! Who needs a father! Good-bye, Father!" The pages offer a wealth of graceful ink portraits, drawings, and paintings, and a provocative view of postwar America from the outside in. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Inker's Shadow :

• "The pages offer a wealth of graceful ink portraits, drawings, and paintings, and a provocative view of postwar America from the outside in." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

Praise for Drawing from Memory :

• "Simple, straightforward sentences and a conversational narration in combination with a wealth of images will appeal to aspiring artists and reluctant readers alike."-- School Library Journal, starred review

• "Throughout, you can see canny artistic choices being mad--color here, monochrome there, a cartoon, a snapshot--that reinforce content with appropriate form."-- Horn Book, 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

Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
When he was twelve, Say became the model for a cartoon character in a comic book serial in his native Japan. At the time, he was a student of the celebrated cartoonist Noro Shinpei and was determined to become a cartoonist. In 1953, Say came to the United States with his father and stepmother, sponsored by a family friend, an American soldier who had been in the American Occupation Force. He left his family to go to a boarding school where he worked for his tuition while learning English. He was fifteen and on his own. Say suffered many setbacks, including a father who considered him a failure and others who thought he would never make a “wholesome American,” but he never lost his ambition to be a cartoonist. After changing to a public high school, his talent was soon noticed by the art teacher who arranged for a scholarship at an art institute where he continued to impress the faculty with his drawing and painting skills. After graduation, Say went to San Francisco where he began his celebrated career as an author and illustrator of books for children. He is recognized for his technical skill and varied style which result in dynamic, beautifully colored or black-and-white line drawings that are expressive and full of emotion. Say’s book, a compilation of illustrated vignettes from his life as a young immigrant, would be a good addition to an elementary classroom or library as a resource for learning about Japanese immigrants after World War II. This companion to the Sibert Honor book Drawing from Memory also describes the dedication and perseverance of one of America’s most successful and respected author/illustrators of books for children. Reviewer: Hazel Buys; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
11/01/2015
Gr 5 Up—In this follow-up to the autobiographical Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011), 15-year-old Japanese immigrant Allen is sent by his father to a California military academy soon after World War II to improve his English and to make something of himself. A variety of adults and a few peers help him move toward his goal of establishing himself as an artist but are characterized mostly by the inconstant way they slip in and out of his life. His most regular companion is his imaginary alter ego, the cartoon boy Kyusuke, whose creator, Say's mentor Noro Shinpei, modeled after Say. The storytelling is light and episodic, which helps underscore the veracity of the narrative but prevents the action from building in any dramatic fashion. The book features numerous still ink and watercolor re-creations of the people and places from this era in Say's development; most are realistic but also feature the sketchbook cartoon style Say employed at the time, particularly when he channels Kyusuke. However, use of actual sequential sequences are minimal, and readers' abilities to glean details from landscapes, the nuances of character portraits, and the choice of medium or style will determine how much emotional context the illustrations add to the narrative. VERDICT A deceptively simple story, given depth by technically excellent illustrations that require a sophisticated level of visual and cultural literacy to successfully interpret.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
Kirkus Reviews
2015-07-27
In this continuation of Say's graphic memoir, Drawing from Memory (2011), he travels to the United States and receives a decidedly mixed welcome. Arriving in southern California in 1953, 15-year-old Allen first settles in a military academy but is soon asked to leave because his sponsor comes to believe that he won't be (as Say's own openly hostile father puts it) "a wholesome American." Never quite fitting in, he goes on to acquire an apartment and a job, take art classes, and, after high school graduation, set off in relief for San Francisco. "I will never," he concludes emphatically, "come back." Though his personal voice, his gratitude for the support he does receive, and occasional flashes of rueful humor are evident enough, overall his sense of isolation from people and events around him colors his entire experience. The many quick sketches, caricatures, practice pieces, and even the relatively finished scenes of significant incidents or encounters with which his account is interspersed, though, add life and feeling in abundance to the often spare narrative. Moreover, all along the way, his determination to become a cartoonist never fades, and at low moments Kyusuke, the free-spirited alter ego created for him back in Japan by his mentor and sensei, Noro Shinpei, pops into view to remind him that it's all an adventure. This small but firm step on an artist's journey is both inspiration to his fellows and an informative window into a particular slice of the nation's history. (afterword, with photos) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545437769
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/29/2015
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
1,323,532
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
HL580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author


Allen Say is the beloved author and illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including the highly acclaimed Drawing from Memory, published by Scholastic, the Caldecott Medal winner Grandfather's Journey and the Caldecott Honor winner The Boy of the Three Year Nap. He is known for his technical skill and varied style, and his books pay tribute to Japanese culture, as well as his own personal experiences. His many books include Tree of Cranes, Under the Cherry Blossom Tree, Tree with Milk, and Erika-San. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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