This blog is a continuation of a class assignment for the TWU course 5603, Literature for Children and Young Adults. Subsequent entries are for TWU course 5653, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. The new entries are for TWU course 5663, Poetry for Children and Young Adults.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grandfather's Journey

Grandfather’s Journey
By Allen Say

cover image retrieved 11/9/12 from

Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993. ISBN 0395570352

A boy recounts his grandfather’s life journeys, travelling from Japan to America. While in America he travelled the countryside. Grandfather longed for the land of his youth, and so returned to Japan. He married and started a family. He planned to take his daughter to America, but war cut short that plan. Following Grandfather’s death, his grandson decided to travel to America. He loved the land, but says that he now understands how his grandfather must have felt- when he is in one country, he longs for the other.

Critical Review
Simple, yet striking watercolors supplement this gentle tale of a man with a love for two countries. Told by the grandson, this story highlights the unique features of both countries, Japan and America.  Many cultural contrasts are presented: style of dress, landscapes, modes of travel, and the variety of peoples in America.

The author makes strong connections between love for the land and love for the country. Clear descriptive phrases paint word pictures that complement the paintings. The reader feels the devotion to each country and culture. Cultural differences are most apparent in the illustrations. Activities, such as meditation and keeping songbirds are depicted, as are the cultural differences in dress. The tender emotion of the book is well summed up at the end, when the author confesses, “The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.” Readers will enjoy this gentle tale that shows appreciation for two cultures, an ocean apart.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
Lovely, quiet--with tenderness and warmth.   Starred Review

Roger Sutton (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 1993 (Vol. 47, No. 1))
 Say evokes the bittersweet dilemma of the immigrant who, happy in his new country, still longs to return to the old-and once returned, wants once again to travel.  Both the joy in new vistas and the ache of remembrance are captured in Say's large watercolor paintings, fresh perspectives on purple mountains' majesty and amber waves of grain. (Japan looks pretty good, too.)  Highly recommended as a book of special distinction.

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1993)
Say's full-page watercolor paintings present an 11 3/4" by 9 3/4" album-like sequence of landscapes and people with effective uses of light in this unique perspective on immigration.

Best Book Lists/Awards
A Few Good Books, 1993 ; Book Links; United States
Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 1997 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Best Children's Books of the Year, 1999 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 1993 ; American Library Association; United States
Books to Read Aloud to Children of All Ages, 2003 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1993 ; Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books; United States
Children's Books on Aging, 2004 ; ALSC American Library Association; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Fighting Bigotry with Books, 1998 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Kaleidoscope, A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, Second Edition, 1997 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1993 ; United States
Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 1994 ; NCTE Children's Literature Assembly; United States
Notable Children's Books, 1994 ; Association for Library Service to Children; United States
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, August 1993 ; Cahners; United States
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education; California
Sharing Cultures: Asian American Children's Authors, 2001 ; ALSC American Library Association; United States
Suggested Books for the Boys and Girls Club of America List, 2001 ; ALSC American Library Association; United States
Teachers' Choices, 1994 ; International Reading Association; United States

ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1994 Winner Picture Books United States
Bay Area Book Reviewers Association Award, 1994 Winner Children's Literature United States
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, 1994 Winner Illustration United States
California Book Awards, 1993 Winner Ages Up to 10 United States
National Association of Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA), 1993 Winner United States
New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year, 1993 Winner United States
Randolph Caldecott Medal, 1994 Winner United States
Reading Magic Award, 1993 Winner United States

·      Students will learn more about haiku poetry at or Students will each select one of the gorgeous watercolors in this picture book and compose a haiku inspired by it.  Haiku will be shared with the class and added to the classroom library.
·      Pair this picture book with All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan, which also has incredible watercolor illustrations and is a story of a family’s love for the land on which they live. Students will compare and contrast these picture books by creating a double bubble mind map.

·      Students will interview a family member about the family’s heritage. Students will plot points on a map, showing locations their ancestors have come from. Students will transcribe the interview with their family member. Students will then select a part of the interview from which to create a short story that elaborates the event. Illustrate the short story and share with the class, posting points on a class map of the various places where class members’ ancestors have come from.

·      Students will paint a picture of a favorite location, and write a short descriptive phrase to accompany it.

Science/Social Studies:
·      Students will research the pastime of keeping songbirds as pets. Students will discover countries where this hobby is common, find out the needs of songbirds, and find out about basic healthcare needs of the birds. Students will compare and contrast this hobby to another hobby of their choosing that also involves animals in some way. (e.g., horseback riding, keeping fish tanks, showing livestock, etc.)

Other Books by Allen Say
·      Allison
·      The Bicycle Man
·      The Boy in the Garden
·      The Boy of the Three-Year Nap (illustrations)
·      El Chino
·      Dr. Smith's Safari
·      Emma's Rug
·      Erika-san
·      The Feast of Lanterns
·      Grandfather's Journey
·      Home of the Brave
·      How My Parents Learned to Eat (illustrations)
·      The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice
·      Kamishibai Man
·      The Lost Lake
·      The Lucky Yak
·      Magic and the Night River
·      Music for Alice
·      A River Dream
·      The Sign Painter
·      Stranger in the Mirror
·      Tea with Milk
·      Tree of Cranes
·      Under the Cherry Blossom Tree
·      Drawing from Memory

No comments:

Post a Comment