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Poems to SolveJuan Bobo and the PigThe Ancestor TreePaco and the WitchThose Calculating CrowsBilly and EmmaElizabeti's DollWho's In the HallMama ElizabetiA Safe Place Called HomeElizabeti's SchoolIt Rainded All Day That NightYou're Not My Real MotherAfrican American Read-AloudSky DancerscookbookGuess AgainphphDreaming_Up_cvr
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cover NOguchi book

The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan
written and illustrated by Christy Hale
(Lee & Low Books, 2009)
Buy this book
Isamu was a boy of the East and the West. Born in the United States to a Japanese father and Scotch-Irish American mother, Isamu grew up in Japan. From his earliest years he felt the tug of his biracial heritage, never quite fitting in or thinking he belonged. Pleasure came, however, from the natural world.
    Color, light, and shadow. Earth, wood, and stone. Working with these forms of nature, Isamu found a way to blend his cultural divide. It was an exploration that became the cornerstone and spirit of his lifelong creative journey.
    With lyrical text and luminous artwork, Christy Hale tells the story of the boy who grew up to be the multi-faceted artist Isamu Noguchi. Guided by his desire to enrich everyday life with art while bringing together Eastern and Western influences, Noguchi created a vast array of innovative sculptures, stage sets, furniture, and public spaces. The East-West House is a testament to the artistic beginnings of this pioneering modern sculptor and designer.
awards • reviews
Best Books of 2009 Kirkus Reviews

"Hale's striking illustrations and the book's elegant look are an homage to the Japanese landscape; they masterfully reflect the palette and imagery of Japanese paintings and design (lacey evergreens, blue-grey seas, pink-white cherry blossoms and more). The appealing backmatter offers an informed and warm recap of Noguchi's life and impact. A welcome entrée to one artist's inspiration, aspiration and imagination."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The mixed-media collage illustrations reflect the blend of East and West that runs throughout the book—block printing, rice paper, and Japanese printed paper are integrated with Western-style drawings of faces and other details. Thoroughly documented and heavily reliant on primary sources, the book includes a lengthy afterword about Noguchi's adult life, complete with photographs of his family and his work. An original and thought-provoking addition to biography or art collections."
School Library Journal

"Illustrator Hale's authorial debut is a serene account of Noguchi's early life in Japan as the son of a Japanese poet and an American writer. Quiet earth tones and collages of handmade paper carry through the twin themes of contemplation and the inherent worth of handcraft. In the book's most arresting passage, eight-year-old Noguchi helps design and build the house he and his mother will live in after his father leaves: 'He supervised construction/ watched each detail with care.."
Publisher's Weekly

"Hale's spare, eloquent poetry and clear, dynamic pictures focus on Noguchi as a child. . . . A fuller biography appears in the detailed final notes for older readers, but younger kids, especially young artists and those with immigrant or multiracial backgrounds, will appreciate the personal and cultural dynamics."

"This fascinating book provides an excellent opportunity to learn about some of the motivating forces behind the development of this highly successful artist. The author's background as an art educator shines through in her carefully-crafted text and stunning mixed-media collages."
—Yana V. Rodgers, Rutgers University Dept. of Women's & Gender Studies
look inside
Isamu's-gardenIsamu makes his own garden
Isamu's-sculpture Isamu's first sculpture
Chigasaki Leonie and Isamu find land in Chigasaki
Isamu's-plans Isamu draws up plans for his East-West house
East-West-HomeThe house Isamu built in Chigasaki
more, more, more!
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