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Stories about artists — NWAW’s monthly must-reads

Here are my book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly this month:

“Drawing from Memory”
By Allen Say
Scholastic Press, 2011

From the time he was a young boy growing up in Japan, Allen Say knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.

Inspired by comic books, he drew what he saw, what he imagined, and what he copied from his beloved comic books. Say’s parents were not happy with this, wanting him to be a respectable citizen who can earn a living. But Say was not deterred.

“Drawing” is the true story of how Say, who grew up to become an award-winning artist and illustrator, moved away from home at the age of 12 to go to school. He became a pupil to Noro Shinpei, a well-known Japanese cartoonist — and Say’s favorite.

The story ends when Say is about 15, on the verge of moving to the United States with his father, but it is clear how important his formative years were.

Despite living in a new city by himself at a very young age, Say takes the initiative to seek out Shinpei. He admits to being extremely nervous and intimidated at first, but he stands his ground and eventually becomes more comfortable. I think this is an important lesson to teach kids: to not give up what they love.

To read the rest of the recommendations, click here.


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