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Allen Say Author Study

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erin saunders

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Allen Say Author Study

Allen Say
• Born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937.

• Drawn to art at the age of six, when he decided he wanted to be a cartoonist.

• Began an apprenticeship with Noro Shinpei at the age of 12. His work as an apprentice helped Say develop his talents as an artist and Shinpei served as his mentor long after Say left the job.

The Inn Keeper's Apprentice
ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults (1979)

The Lucky Yak
New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books (1980)

How My Parents Learned to Eat
Horn Book Honor List (1984)

How My Parents Learned to Eat
Christopher Award (1985)

A River Dream
New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books (1988)

The Boy of the Three Year Nap
ALA Notable Children's Book (1989)

The Boy of the Three Year Nap
Boston Globe Horn Book Award (1989)

Grandfather's Journey
Caldecott (1994)

Drawing from Memory
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor Book (2012)

Drawing from Memory
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children's Literature (2013)
Books Illustrated
1968 A Canticle to the Waterbirds

1971 Two Ways of Seeing

1978 Magic and the Night River

1980 The Lucky Yak

1981 The Secret Cross of Lorriane

1984 How My Parents Learned to Eat

1988 The Boy of the Three Year Nap
Books Authored
1972 Dr. Smith's Safari

1976 The Feast of Lanterns

1988 A River Dream

1989 The Bicycle Man

1991 Tree of Cranes

1992 The Lost Lake

1993 Grandfather's Journey

1996 El Chino

1996 Emma's Rug

1997 Allison

1997 Under the Cherry Blossom Tree
2007 Allen Say: A Sense of Place

A compilation of artwork from books Allen Say has illustrated, works from his commercial photography and samples of his work with oil paint. This book was made in honor of
Say's 70th birthday.
Works Cited
Author image:


Book images:








Allen Say’s first work as an author.

Dr. Smith’s Safari tells the story of a hunting expedition with a twist. Dr. Smith goes hunting in the woods with a new gun. He finds a village in the woods that is inhabited by personified animals. They welcome him and ask his help in protecting them from unwelcome nighttime visitors. The story has a simple format and illustrations, but a heavy message about guns.

Genre: fiction

Classroom uses:
- Author’s purpose
- Personification
Books Authored
1998 Stranger in the Mirror

1999 Tea with Milk

2000 The Sign Painter

2002 Home of the Brave

2004 Music for Alice

2005 Kamishibai Man

2009 Erika-San

2010 The Boy in the Garden

2011 Drawing from Memory

2013 The Favorite Daughter
Mark, who is home sick, receives a box of fishing lures from his Uncle Scott. When he opens the mayfly lures he is surprised to find they are living. He follows the flies out the bedroom window to find his street has been replaced by a river. He spends the night fishing with his Uncle and learning the importance of respect for nature.

Genre: fiction

Classroom uses:
- Author’s Purpose
- Reality vs. fantasy
- Importance of conservation

Allen Say draws inspiration for this story from an experience in first grade. His school was visited by two American soldiers who delight the students with bicycle tricks.

Genre: Narrative nonfiction

Classroom uses:
- Compare and contrast
- Similes and metaphors

A young boy comes home to find his mother folding paper cranes and acting strangely. She deems him sick and sends him to bed to rest. Later she explains the reasons for her odd behavior. She once lived in a faraway place called California and today would be Christmas there. She and the boy celebrate his first Christmas together, decorating a tree with paper cranes.

Genre: fiction

Classroom uses:
- Asian American holiday traditions
- Point of view
- Inference

Luke has recently come to live with his father in the city. He does not feel welcome in his father’s house. His father works all the time and there is little for Luke to do. He begins to cut pictures of mountains and lakes from magazines for entertainment. When his father notices the cuttings, he takes Luke camping. They travel to a lake Luke’s father went to as a child called the lost lake. The lost lake is not as Luke’s father remembers it and he becomes disgruntled. Luke worries that the trip will be ruined until he and his father find a lost lake of their own.

Genre: fiction

Classroom uses:
- Inference
- Character development over time

The narrator tells the story of his grandfather, who traveled by boat to the United States. He travels the States and settles in California. He later grows homesick for his old village and Japan and returns home. Having lived in the States and in his Japanese village, he lives a life torn between two “homes"- happy to be in one, while missing the other.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Classroom uses:
- Compare and contrast
- Setting
- Inference
- Mentor text for discussion on immigration
Emma is given a rug as a baby. The rug, though plain and ordinary, becomes Emma’s source of inspiration for drawings. Her works of art show a talent that exceeds her years. One day her mother washes the rug and Emma believes that her artistic vision has washed away with the dirt. She falls mute and stops trying to create art. She strips her room of her paintings and awards, throws her art supplies away and gives up drawing for good. While sitting in her now empty room Emma draws artistic inspiration from a new source and decides to continue producing art.

Genre: Realistic fiction

Classroom uses:
- Lesson on how the author uses pictures to convey information not told by the words on the page.
- Making predictions
- Character development
Allison receives a kimono from her grandmother and upon trying it on realizes that she looks nothing like her parents. She more closely resembles her favorite doll Mei Mei. She asks her parents about the dolls origins and the conversation leads to Allison finding out that she is adopted. With this information Allison questions her family structure and her sense of self is shattered. An encounter with a stray cat helps Allison come to terms with her adoption and understand what makes a family.

Genre: Realistic fiction

Classroom uses:
- Character development over time
- Inference
- Lesson on how the author uses pictures to convey information not told by the words on the page.
- Author’s technique
Sam goes to sleep with the thought that he never wants to grow old. When he wakes the following morning, he finds that he has aged overnight and is an old man. His family and friends treat him differently and Sam feels his identity slipping away. He decides to leave home until a chance encounter with a skateboard changes his plans. He rides the board, and for a moment, Sam feels like himself. That night he falls asleep having realized that he is still Sam inside despite what his body looks like. He wakes the next morning and he is back to normal.

Genre: Fiction

Classroom uses:
- Mentor text for a lesson on ageism

May lives with her family in California. She spends her time living a dual existence, speaking Japanese with her parents and speaking English with her classmates. May's plans are disrupted by her parents’ announcement that the family will be moving back to Japan. May does not make the transition smoothly and runs away to the city, taking a job (something proper Japanese women did not do). The job leads May to her future husband and provides a vehicle for May’s acceptance of her new life.

genre: realistic fiction

Classroom uses:
- compare and contrast
- Japanese customs and traditions
- character development

A young man steps off a bus and looks for work at the only open business. It is the shop of a sign painter. The young man is an artist and is employed by the sign painter. They are commissioned to complete a series of billboards deep in the desert. Each billboard features the same woman and the word Arrowstar. When they reach the final billboard to be painted, they find a city in the middle of nowhere.

Genre: realistic fiction

Classroom uses:
- inference
- exploring the big idea of following one’s dreams
Alice and her husband Mark live in Seattle until they are taken to an internment camp. Alice, who has always found joy in dance, fears she will never feel like dancing again. After their release from the camp, they are given land and start a farm. They grow several different things with varying degrees of success. Mark decides to grow gladiolas and the farm thrives. Alice, while happy, is too busy to dance. After the death of her husband Alice returns to Seattle and finds that her unhappy memories of Seattle are replaced with thoughts of her life with her husband and her life is filled with dance once again.

Genre: historical fiction

Classroom uses:
- metaphors
- lesson on internment camps and Japanese Americans post Pearl Harbor
Jiro visits the house of Mr. Ozu with his father. He sees a crane in the garden and recalls the myth of The Grateful Crane. He tries to catch the crane only to find it is a statue. Embarrassed, he runs deeper into the garden and the lines between fantasy and reality blur for Jiro.

Genre: fiction

Classroom uses:
- compare and contrast
- elements of fantasy
Reoccurring themes in the works of Allen Say
- Japanese history, traditions and customs
- dreams that permeate reality
- duality of cultures
- family dynamics
• At the age of 16, he moved to California with his father.
• After graduating from high school Say returned to Japan, came back to America, married and was drafted into the army where he was deployed to Germany. It was during this deployment that his career as an artist began.
• Say has tried his hand at many artistic endeavors with varied degrees of success. He has been a sign painter, a commercial photographer, an illustrator and an author.
Timeline of Say's Life
Works Cited Con't.
General Information on the Author





The Writing Process
When illustrating, Say draws inspiration from the images in the world around him. His stories start not with an idea or words, but with pictures. This method is discussed in the following quote, “…I don't know what the book is going to be about. I start painting the first picture, and by the time that's done the second picture -- I call it scene or frame -- forms in my mind. After the fourth or fifth frame I'm often surprised to see a story line developing.”

Allen Say- the person
He is superstitious.

He is very blunt. This blatant honesty is often intimidating to others.

He lives a life regimented by rules and routine.
He is humorous.

He is very forthcoming with children, he talks to them as if they were adults.

"Most people seem to be interested in turning their dreams into reality. Then there are those who turn reality into dreams. I belong to the latter group."
Say discusses the writing process
Full transcript