Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Drawing From Memory
by Allen Say
Scholastic Press, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

"Drawing is never a practice. To draw is to see and discover."

"Painting is a kind of writing, and writing is a kind of painting--they are both about seeing."

DRAWING FROM MEMORY is the amazing story of the earliest years of Allen Say's journey as an artist. It is the story of his relationship with his master, the man who become more than an art teacher to him -- the man who became his spiritual father.

Liberally illustrated with sketches and photographs, this is a book to read and re-read.

We have been working to understand the word "influence" in my fourth grade classroom. Students are asked to identify the influence of the setting of a story. In order to understand that, we are studying lots of ways influence happens. This would be a great book (along with a selection of other books illustrated by Say) to explore the influence of a teacher, of a setting, of friends, of family...

The House Baba Built: An Artist's Childhood in China
by Ed Young
Little, Brown and Company, 2011

This is a fantastic book to compare/contrast to Allen Say's -- a life framed by an early love of art, by family, by war... Whereas Say's book is a tribute to his teacher, Young's is a tribute to his Baba and to the house that unified his family. Say's book is INFLUENCED by his early training as a cartoonist, and reads more like a graphic novel, with clean lines and a crisp white background. Young's is painterly, with thick pages, collages of paint and chalk and photographs, and lots of gatefolds to open and explore. Again, it would be fascinating to read this book along with a collection of others Young has illustrated to explore how these early years made him into the artist he is today.


  1. Thank you for telling about these two books. They look wonderful, & for just the reasons you told. Allen Say is special, so I imagine this book is very special.

  2. Two true masters...thanks for sharing these new books!


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