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Award-winning illustrator Emily Hughes offers a luminous picture book about the life of renowned Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi.
Isamu Noguchi is one of the most important sculptors of all time. His Akari lamps changed the way modern buildings light their space. But before he was important, he was a kid. This is his story.
Noguchi was a Japanese American artist who gave the world light. The world, however, was not always so giving in return. Growing up mixed-race, born in the United States but raised in Japan, Noguchi found himself perceived as an outsider who did not belong in either country. Unable to identify fully as either Japanese or American, he conceived of himself as a snail, capable of retreating into his creative shell when the world did not embrace him. Through his art, the Snail could shape, hold, and create light—to conquer the darkness without.
Poetic and searing, heart-wrenching and exquisite, Emily Hughes's paean to creativity explores emotions ravaged by a history of Japanese incarceration, the effects of personal isolation, and the power of art to heal those wounds.
RENOWNED ARTIST: Isamu Noguchi's art is everywhere. You have likely seen it without knowing he was the artist—or even that it was art!
IMPORTANT TOPIC: This book uses art and history to discuss mixed racial identity, making a difficult topic more accessible to young readers.
STUNNING VISUALS: Hughes's illustrations are rich and evocative of the grace, power, and ephemerality of nature. Light and dark, complex yet simple, her art and storytelling echo the dual identity of Noguchi himself.
PERFECT GIFT FOR ART LOVERS: The subject and the beautiful visuals make this book the ideal gift for art students, art enthusiasts, and museumgoers of all ages.
- Parents and grandparents
- Fans of Isamu Noguchi
- Fans of contemporary art
- Teachers and librarians
“With Hughes’ own skill, the complexities of Isamu’s life and art are thoughtfully designed and exquisitely rendered.” — Booklist, starred review
“Hughes pays careful attention to the surfaces of Noguchi’s sculpture—the heavy grain of wood, the dark gleam of polished stone—to create a visually elegant telling.” — Publishers Weekly
“The illustrations…delicately render his life. An ambitious attempt to chronicle the life of a complex artist.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Hughes presents an impressionistic picture-book biography…[an] emotional journey.” — The Horn Book Magazine
“[D]etailed and fascinating…The book will beguile older readers.” — School Library Journal