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OBA Finalist: Drawing From Memory

You can cast your vote for the  2013 Readers’ Choice Award online at oregonlive.com/books. The winner will be announced at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 8th at the Gerding Theater at the Armory.

2013 Oregon Book Awards Finalist

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Children’s Literature

Scholastic Press

This 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 h is son’s artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his “spiritual father.”  As World War II raged, Allen was futher inspired to consider questions of his own heritage and the motivations of those around him.  He worked hard in rigorous drawing classes, studied, trained and ultimately came to understand who he really is.  

Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, Drawing From Memory presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between a mentor and his student.  It is a book that will inspire the artist in all of us. 

An excerpt from Drawing From Memory

In the summer of 1951, Father invited me to his house in Sasebo but I didn’t go.  Instead, Tokida and I spent a lot of time exploring the big world of Tokyo.  We felt like Tanpei and Kyusuke, our comic book doubles.  
“Look at them,” Tokida said.  “They all go to offices and do the same thing every day until they die.  I’ll never work for anybody.  If I can’t be a cartoonist, I’ll shine shoes.”
“I won’t get a job, either,” I said.  “I’ll shine shoes with you.”
In an art gallery in the Ginza, the main shopping area, we saw real Van Gogh paintings for the first time.  Tokida got very excited.  
“Van Gogh painted with his fingers!” he said.
“No he didn’t!  I can see the brush marks.”
“How can you see anything in this mob!  We didn’t come to see a baseball game.  Let’s get out of here!”
“Office slaves!” Tokida fumed outside.
“Look, they’re too lazy to shine their own shoes!  I’ll starve first.”
“I won’t, either,” I said.

About the Author 
Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today.  He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather’s Journey  and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Boy of the Three-Year Nap (written by Dianne Snyder).  Many of Allen’s stories are derived from his own experiences as a child.  His other books include The Bicycle Man, Tea with Milk, and Tree of Cranes, hailed by The Horn Book Magazine in a starred review as “the achievement of a master in his prime.”  He resides in Portland, Oregon.

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