Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

Drawing from Memory

Caldecott Medalist Allen Say presents a stunning graphic novel chronicling his journey as an artist during WWII, when he apprenticed under Noro Shinpei, Japan’s premier cartoonistDRAWING FROM MEMORY is Allen Say's own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn't understand his son's artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan's leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as...

Details Drawing from Memory

TitleDrawing from Memory
Release DateSep 1st, 2011
PublisherScholastic Press
GenreArt, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Childrens, Picture Books

Reviews Drawing from Memory

  • Richard Derus
    Rating: 5* of fiveAllen Say's world doesn't exist anymore. This is the roughest part of getting truly old. The kind of universe where a twelve-year-old boy could be thought capable of living on his own is long gone. The kind of world where the famous cartoonist could be reached by the simple expedient of showing up at his place of work and saying, "I'd like to work for you," well! Need I belabor the point? Say wrote this book in a world that coul...
  • Lisa Vegan
    I’ve read two of this author-illustrator’s books and have a fourth at home to read, and I really enjoyed the two books I read/viewed, so I was eager to read this book, an autobiography. I can’t imagine that I’ll like any other of his books better than I liked this one.This book is marvelous, resplendent, and really special. I have no adequate words to do it justice. The last line almost got me crying with emotion but the entire book was s...
  • Hilary
    An amazing account of the life of such a talented artist. This is a very inspirational read and the perfect example of following your dreams and not letting others dissuade you from doing what you know is right for you.So many wonderful illustrations, touching stories, photographs and memories. This was also an interesting look into life in Japan over the last century, I love looking at old photographs and these were wonderful, family photographs...
  • Michele
    This unassuming-in-appearance book left a really good impression on me. It is something of an autobiographical collage; photographs, drawing and sketches from both the author-artist as well as the work of his mentor are combined with straightforward and still somehow haunting text. Say tells the reader about his memories of his early life in Japan. This is not a boring formulaic biography. Say gives us just glimpses into his life, but they are po...
  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    Allen Say (who knew his real name is Sei?) writes here of his boyhood in Japan, from his birth in 1937, through World War II, his parents' divorce, and going to school to study while living in a rented studio apartment of his own. (I have to say I envy him having his own place at the age of 12! What I wouldn't have given for that when I was that age.) In reading biographies of other illustrators and artists, I've noticed that they all seem to say...
  • Liz
    Why have I waited so long to read this book. I've had it in my "pile" for quite some time and there are several Allen Say books that I have enjoyed over the years (including the Caldecott award winner GRANDFATHER's JOURNEY). I guess I just thought it would be more of a typical narrative autobiography, but I am finding that it is anything but! And Say's early life is amazing! I can't wait to read more!!! (But it's back to more pressing work for a ...
  • Moe
    Although this is a book filled of memories (and well put together), I did have a hard time feeling passionate for the lads life. The thing is is that, I don't know anything about Japanese cartoonists. It was an interesting tale, but the author's intentions to try to inspire future cartoonists didn't really work. Not everyone's life gives them openings to just walk into an office and say "I want to be a cartoonist". There was no REAL strive and st...
  • David Schaafsma
    Lovely memoir of a guy who became a comic book artist as a kid, got lucky enough to work (as a teenager!) with with one of the greatest comic book artists of all time in Japan, and the memoir becomes a tribute to the Master... Say becomes a Caldecott Medal winning illustrator for Grandfather's Journey, has done many kid books... So now I need to read some of them!
  • Abigail
    Celebrated Japanese-American children's artist Allen Say, who won the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather's Journey , a picture-book exploring his family's complicated history moving back and forth between Japan and the United States through the generations, chronicles his own youth and coming of age as an artist in this graphic novel/picture-book autobiography for young readers. Born in 1937 near Yokohama, Japan, Say was still a young child during ...
  • LauraW
    When I first saw books by Allen Say, I was subbing in a 3rd grade class where they were just beginning author studies. There were books by Tomie de Paola, Jan Brett, and several other authors, either with their own illustrations or illustrated by different artists. I took a look at the Say books and wondered if any of the students would choose those books, because they were so dull compared to the bright colors of the other books. But two student...
  • Barbara
    Filled with the author's own photographs, drawings, and cartoons as well as comic strip panels from his mentor, Noro Shinpei, this memoir of Say's early years in Japan is required for anyone who loves his work and wants to understand it on a deep level. I certainly hope that Say plans to continue describing his life by exploring his early years in the United States. Beginning with Say's birth in 1937 in Yokohoma, the book traces Say's early liter...
  • Raina
    Follows the childhood of illustrator Allen Say. I particularly appreciated the insiders perspective on Japan during and after World War II. He doesn't talk much about the war, but I will be keeping this in mind while I read Ghosts in the Fog. The thing I liked most about this is how he integrates photographs, his own illustrations in a variety of styles, text, and other people's illustrations. It's not quite a graphic novel (except for maybe one ...
  • Wendy
    Loved, loved, loved this book about learning to be an artist and--well, and all the other things this book is about, like divided families and education and passions and being a boy in Japan during and after WWII. I loved it so much that it was a big wrench when I made myself stop reading for a moment about halfway through to text my brother-in-law that he'd better put this book on hold right away.
  • Margie
    Another beautiful book by Allen Say, and this one is autobiographical about his teenage years as a young artist in post-WWII Japan. I heard the author speak at UCLA in February (2012), and he is as dynamic and charming as his books. Allen Say knew as a small child that he wanted to be an artist and nothing ever deterred him from his dream. How wonderful to have such a talent and such a passion, and to be able to live it every day.
  • Susann
    Beautiful book, both the storytelling and the artwork. I very much enjoyed learning Say's personal history and getting another glimpse of post-WWII Japan, but I most enjoyed the parts about being and becoming an artist. The blend of illustrations and photography work as a scrapbook but become a cohesive work of art. Now I want to read and see more by Say.
  • Donalyn
    The remarkable story of Allen Say's childhood and his development as an artist. This book is filled with Say's personal photograph and artwork, as well as the origins of many characters and storylines from his famous picture books.
  • Betsy
    I am happy to report that there has been an uptick in options for those children handed the standard "You Must Read an Autobiography" assignment in school. Which is to say, more and more people are writing their autobiographies for the younger reading set. The catch? Well, it appears that the only people who tend to do this are children's authors themselves. So it is that you'll find autobios by folks like Jean Fritz, Jon Scieszka, Ed Young, Jerr...
  • Meredith
    This was a beautiful book. I absolutely love all of the different kinds of art, pictures, photographs, postcards... illustrations, pen and ink, watercolor, charcoal... What a way to tell a memoir. This is going to be so helpful when I teach memoir writing to my students, soon!
  • Mary
    What a lovely memoir about becoming an artist/cartoonist in the 1950’s. Drawn and written, it is hardly a book just for children. The reverence Say shows for his sensei is deep. His sensei placed his trust in the right boy.
  • Maya
    4.5 Stars
  • Alex Baugh
    I met Allen Say at a “Meet the Artist” event at the Eric Carle Museum in 2007 when they were running an exhibit of his work called Allen Say: a Sense of Place. It was very nice to meet him, since he is a really charming, friendly person and one of my favorite author/illustrators. While all of his books stem from his lifetime experiences, Drawing from Memory is Say’s first autobiographical work focused on how he became an artist. Born in Yok...
  • Roxanne Hsu Feldman
    I'm not sure that this is "graphic novel" treatment of Say's personal life -- it has text and it has graphics but it feels more like a scrapbook with clippings of thoughts and images (both photographs and drawings). It is brutally honest: I felt pained by the lack of tenderness and affection from family members that Say received as a child and a youth. But it also shows how one can make one's own family from those who appreciate and spiritually a...
  • Katie
    Recap:Allen Say uses photographs, cartoons, paintings, and of course, words to illustrate an autobiographical look at his early years as an artist.Review:When was the last time you met a twelve-year-old who lived on his own in an apartment in a huge city? Probably never, right? Well that was real life for Allen Say. Say had always known that he loved to draw, even when it was to the detriment of his school work and strongly discouraged by his own...
  • Nick
    I rarely give a book five stars, but this book deserves no less.It is three things:1) An autobiography of Allen Say's early life, from the age of 4 until he left Japan as a teenager2) A book about living your dream, no matter how impractical the rest of the world says it is3) A book about life as an artist, in postwar JapanThe text is relatively brief, interspersed with short graphic segments, drawings and photographs, including work by his mento...
  • Danielle Harriger
    I would recommend this book to other children because Allen’s story of his journey to become an artist was uplifting and interesting. For example, I was inspired that even though Allen’s father condemned him for being a “lazy” artist, Allen still followed his passion and made his dream come true. I think it is important for children to take action and put forth effort in doing what they love, as Allen does when he goes directly to Noro Sh...
  • Emily
    Audience: IntermediateGenre: Biography-Graphic NovelDiscussion Questions: Remembering: Who were the main characters? Understanding: Explain why the story has the title it does. Applying: Think about when the main character was offered the option to move into an apartment on his own. What would you have done in that situation? Analyzing: What is the relationship between the main character and his father? How does this relationship evolve over the ...
  • Laura
    It was really cool to see the story of how Allen Say grew up and fostered his passion for drawing. I also liked that it was told in a medium that was engaging and interesting. I had never known much of Say's story or how he became an artist and so this biography was very intriguing. The pictures were good and I especially enjoyed the photographs of Say's childhood. A good read if you're interested in learning more about the life of this marvelous...
  • Jenn Estepp
    Really lovely memoir for kids (hooray! Do you know how frequently I get requests for autobiographies and picture book autobiographies? Do you know how few of them there are and how not-great a lot of existing ones are?). Part picture book, part scrapbook, part sketchbook/journal - it all makes for a wonderful mix that moved and engaged me far more than I expected. In fact, I really wish that it were longer - more a long the lines of a big fat gra...
  • Maira
    Drawing from Memory was a sad, but great story. In this story, Allen Say tells the story on how he became the artist he is today. As he grew up his parents and grandmother didn't approve of him being artistic. They wanted him to be a respectable citizen not an artist because they are "lazy and scruffy people. Allen at only 12 begins to live on his own and continues to work to what he now is known as an artist. His story would be very appealing to...
  • Kate
    I've always loved Allen Say's work, and reading this book about his start in the art world and his early childhood was fascinating and made me respect him even more. He was both born with a natural gift but also worked incredibly hard (living alone at age 12! Seeking out a master comic artist to be his sensei on his own!) to hone his craft. An incredibly sweet read that I'd highly recommend for fans of Say, of art and of memoir.