Allen Say Music for Alice

ISBN 13: 9780618311187

Music for Alice

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9780618311187: Music for Alice
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As a girl, Alice loved to dance, but the rhythms of her life offered little opportunity for a foxtrot, let alone a waltz. World War II erupted soon after she was married. Alice and her husband, along with many other Japanese Americans, were forced to leave their homes and report to assembly centers around the country. Undaunted, Alice and her husband learned to make the most of every circumstance, from their stall in the old stockyard in Portland to the decrepit farm in the Oregon desert, with its field of stones. Like a pair of skilled dancers, they sidestepped adversity to land gracefully amid golden opportunity. Together they turned a barren wasteland into a field of endless flowers. Such achievements did not come without effort and sacrifice, though, and Alice often thought her dancing days were long behind her. But as her story testifies, life is full of changes . . .
In this striking book, Allen Say introduces readers to the remarkable story of the life of a woman whose perseverance and resilience serve as an inspirational reminder that dreams can be fulfilled, even when least expected.

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About the Author:

Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3 Up-Life changes drastically for Alice when World War II breaks out. Like many other Japanese Americans living on the West Coast, she and her husband are forced from their home. They choose to work as farm hands rather than be sent to an internment camp. Together, they overcome every indignity and challenge that come their way, and eventually build the largest gladiola bulb farm in the country. Say relates the true story of Alice Sumida in an understated and eloquent style. Alice's childhood love of dancing is deftly woven into the imagery of the text. As in much of his work, the masterful illustrations provide an emotional depth not always evident in the narration. The overall design, resembling a family photo album, accentuates the book as personal history. The detailed portraits and soft colors of the farm give way to drab hues and figures with nondescript features and wide-brimmed hats that hide their eyes and their identities-symbolic of the plight of Japanese Americans during the war. The final pictures of a now elderly Alice depict the spirit and dignity that her life story suggests. Although the book has much to recommend it, it may have more limited appeal than some of Say's earlier works. It is not as personal as Grandfather's Journey (1993) or Tea with Milk (1999, both Houghton). Many young readers may lack the perspective to relate to a tale that spans decades and deals with such complex themes. Still, with proper introduction, this offering will be appreciated by sensitive and sophisticated youngsters.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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