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Grandfather's Journey (1993)

by Allen Say

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2,5352414,754 (4.11)32
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather's journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.

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» See also 32 mentions

English (240)  French (1)  All languages (241)
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
A story recounted by a grandson about his grandfather, who prior to WWII had lived in both Japan and California. His grandfather loved both places seemingly equally, and would long for one whenever he was in the other. his grandfather grew up in Japan, traveled throughout America, then returned to Japan and married his childhood sweetheart. His grandfather's plans to return to America with his family were thwarted by the onset of WWII and the bombing of Japan, and he was never able to take his family back to America. The grandson, however, was fortunate enough to have also grown up between both America and Japan, and echoes his grandfather's sentiments about belonging in both places. Fortunately, the grandson is able to easily travel between the two places, and can often visit Japan, so he feels more fortunate than his grandfather, who was left with only memories of half of his home. ( )
  GIJason82 | Feb 21, 2022 |
Grandfather started traveling the world since he was young, from many places he visited, he liked California. He married and went to live to San Francisco. As her daughter grew up he started to miss home in Japan so he decided to return to his childhood village with his family. He thought that her daughter would like to live in the city so he bought a house in the large city where her daughter married and had a baby boy. This baby boy loved to hear the grandfather's stories from California and how much he wanted to visit there, but the war started and the city where the grandparents lived was destroyed, so they went back lo live in the village. Grandfather never got to visit California as he wished, but his grandson did and loved it so much that he stayed. However, he missed his childhood home so he returned back and forth, so every time he is in one country, he was homesick from the other, and that is when he also missed his grandfather. ( )
  Bernardettes | Feb 14, 2022 |
Allen Say uses a series of spare landscape and portrait paintings to tell a story of immigration. His drawings evoke the feelings of loneliness and longing that often accompany the choices to lead a person to leave their home. ( )
  laverneshawbailey | Feb 9, 2022 |
This would be a great book to introduce kids to genealogy or learning family history. I love how Say shows the circular nature of families, highlighting similarities between generations. Would also be a great book for multi-national families who call two countries home. ( )
  ms_rowse | Jan 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
Gr 3 Up-A personal history of three generations of the author's family that points out the emotions that are common to the immigrant experience. Splendid, photoreal watercolors have the look of formal family portraits or candid snapshots, all set against idyllic landscapes in Japan and in the U.S. (Sept., 1993)
added by sriches | editSchool Library Journal (Jul 22, 1993)
Say transcends the achievements of his Tree of Cranes and A River Dream with this breathtaking picture book, at once a very personal tribute to his grandfather and a distillation of universally shared emotions. Elegantly honed text accompanies large, formally composed paintings to convey Say's family history; the sepia tones and delicately faded colors of the art suggest a much-cherished and carefully preserved family album. A portrait of Say's grandfather opens the book, showing him in traditional Japanese dress, ``a young man when he left his home in Japan and went to see the world.'' Crossing the Pacific on a steamship, he arrives in North America and explores the land by train, by riverboat and on foot. One especially arresting, light-washed painting presents Grandfather in shirtsleeves, vest and tie, holding his suit jacket under his arm as he gazes over a prairie: ``The endless farm fields reminded him of the ocean he had crossed.'' Grandfather discovers that ``the more he traveled, the more he longed to see new places,'' but he nevertheless returns home to marry his childhood sweetheart. He brings her to California, where their daughter is born, but her youth reminds him inexorably of his own, and when she is nearly grown, he takes the family back to Japan. The restlessness endures: the daughter cannot be at home in a Japanese village; he himself cannot forget California. Although war shatters Grandfather's hopes to revisit his second land, years later Say repeats the journey: ``I came to love the land my grandfather had loved, and I stayed on and on until I had a daughter of my own.'' The internal struggle of his grandfather also continues within Say, who writes that he, too, misses the places of his childhood and periodically returns to them. The tranquility of the art and the powerfully controlled prose underscore the profundity of Say's themes, investing the final line with an abiding, aching pathos: ``The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.'' Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

"The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked as it is in this direct, lyrical narrative that is able to stir emotions through the sheer simplicity of its telling."
added by sriches | editPublishers Weekly
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To Richard, Francine, and Davis
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My grandfather was a young man when he left his home in Japan and went to see the world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather's journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.

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This is a great story to add to the library corner in a preschool classroom, particularly if you have any children and families from Asian culture. Even if the children only look at the pictures, it will allow young children to see people of their culture represented in books. Although it states in the review that this book is a good read for children 4 to 8, I would probably only read out load with a modified approach. I think it is a great book to promote during choice time, but I think it may be more influential to the older child. I think depending on your population and how much exposure to books at home, and language in general plays a huge part in how a teacher will present literature to young readers.
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