Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oregonian Article on Allen Say

Jeff Baker had a terrific article in Sunday's Oregonian about Portland children's book author/illustrator Allen Say, whose most recent book is The Boy in the Garden, creative twist on the Japanese folktale "The Crane Wife."In the article, we learn that Say has just finished a major project, adapting his autobiographical novel The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice into a graphic novel called Drawing From Memory. The only non-picture book Say has ever done, it tells the story of his formative years in Japan, serving as an apprentice to Noro Shinpei, a cartoonist who taught him about art and life and started him on his life's path.

Early in his apprenticeship, Shinpei taught him to pay attention: "Pay attention to all that goes on around you. Remember, memory is the most important asset to an artist. What we call imagination is rearrangement of memory. You cannot imagine without memory."

Allen Say is one of our favorite children's book authors, and we've written about him briefly a couple of times in the past, here and here. In 1994 he won the Caldecott Medal for his book Grandfather's Journey. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Say several years ago at a book conference, and I'm happy to share that he's as delightful as his books.

I hope you caught the article in The Oregonian; if not you can link to it above. Any of Allen Say's wonderful picture books would make terrific gifts.

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