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A Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu Noguchi

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With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi. If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all. How can they be so heavy? Would they float if they had no weight? Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japan With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi. If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all. How can they be so heavy? Would they float if they had no weight? Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist . . .but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones. Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees.


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With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi. If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all. How can they be so heavy? Would they float if they had no weight? Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japan With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi. If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all. How can they be so heavy? Would they float if they had no weight? Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist . . .but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones. Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees.

30 review for A Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu Noguchi

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mr. George The Librarian

    Art is different...as is the artist. Our creative souls are as varied as our interests and personalities. I enjoy this tale of individual needs and creativity.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Pensive and unique story that introverts will relate to in particular. A child takes joy in observing nature on his own, sights that will someday influence the art he creates.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Bange

    The life and sensibilities of one gifted Asian-American artist, as told by another gifted Asian-American artist. A day in the life of young Isamu Noguchi while growing up in Japan gives great insight into his curiosity of the natural world and understanding of how being alone can be inspiring - not lonely. Yang's spare text sings with the joy and wonder of life that Noguchi must have experienced. What is also incredible about this book is that Yang captures the subtlety, boldness, and traditional/ The life and sensibilities of one gifted Asian-American artist, as told by another gifted Asian-American artist. A day in the life of young Isamu Noguchi while growing up in Japan gives great insight into his curiosity of the natural world and understanding of how being alone can be inspiring - not lonely. Yang's spare text sings with the joy and wonder of life that Noguchi must have experienced. What is also incredible about this book is that Yang captures the subtlety, boldness, and traditional/modern feeling of Noguchi's art-to-come in the artwork - yet keeps true to Yang's art style. A perfect match! While this provides great insights into Noguchi, older readers looking for a picture book biography about him should look at Christy Hale's book The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan (Lee & Low, 2009). This would also be useful for parents and counselors working with shy or solitary children. Highly Recommended for PreSchool-grade 3.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Impressive digital illustrations complement text detailing the imagined childhood experiences and perspective of the boy who would grow up to become celebrated artist Isamu Noguchi. Somehow the text and images seem to channel Isamu as he is drawn to stones and to bamboo, feeling a connection to nature and what others might see as inert objects. It's clear that even as a young boy, he had a different vision of the world around him, seeing "birds that look like stones...and stones that look like b Impressive digital illustrations complement text detailing the imagined childhood experiences and perspective of the boy who would grow up to become celebrated artist Isamu Noguchi. Somehow the text and images seem to channel Isamu as he is drawn to stones and to bamboo, feeling a connection to nature and what others might see as inert objects. It's clear that even as a young boy, he had a different vision of the world around him, seeing "birds that look like stones...and stones that look like birds" (unpaged). The book also makes it clear that Isamu was perfectly content spending time alone, soaking up sights and experiences that may make their way into his dreams and artwork. Back matter includes additional information about this creative spirit. Add this picture book to a collection devoted to artists, creative individuals, and those who march to their own beat.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This book is perfection. If you are expecting a traditional biography, you will be disappointed. But this narrative, written directly to the child reading it (in 2nd person—"If you are Isamu..."), is a biography of a child's emotional being—a bio of the personality that grew into the sculptor and designer that Noguchi became. The quiet, simple, singing prose here perfectly embodies the kind of child he was and the kind of art he made. The back-matter gives just enough info to prompt interested re This book is perfection. If you are expecting a traditional biography, you will be disappointed. But this narrative, written directly to the child reading it (in 2nd person—"If you are Isamu..."), is a biography of a child's emotional being—a bio of the personality that grew into the sculptor and designer that Noguchi became. The quiet, simple, singing prose here perfectly embodies the kind of child he was and the kind of art he made. The back-matter gives just enough info to prompt interested readers to look for more. "[Noguchi] once said, 'When an artist stopped being a child, he would stop being an artist.'" Yang has managed to be a child here. Lucky readers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I don't know Isamu Noguchi, but I don't think you need to. It's more a story of a boy who is comfortable being alone and finding joy in nature. Lovely illustrations. Not much story- more of a mood-setting piece. I don't know Isamu Noguchi, but I don't think you need to. It's more a story of a boy who is comfortable being alone and finding joy in nature. Lovely illustrations. Not much story- more of a mood-setting piece.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Reading for the Mock Caldecott Awards to be held in January 2022.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katelynne

    Loved the illustrations and the message. "You think about how you were alone but not lonely." But this could have been about any child - doesn't feel like a biography to me. Loved the illustrations and the message. "You think about how you were alone but not lonely." But this could have been about any child - doesn't feel like a biography to me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Reagan Kapasi

    Stunning illustrations (simple clean lines) and even text font was eye catching! Bio of an artist as a young boy, alone but not lonely.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abbigail

    A love letter to child introverts-- that's what I like to see. A love letter to child introverts-- that's what I like to see.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    3.5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Van

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Em

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lily

  17. 4 out of 5

    E Y

  18. 4 out of 5

    Quintina

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Green

  21. 4 out of 5

    KDV

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Haley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Salomon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alexx Burris

  27. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hamer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Oona

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hayden Boys

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