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Grandfather's Journey

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  15,684 ratings  ·  1,426 reviews
This tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places, as he goes between Japan and the United States over the course of his life.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1993 by Houghton Mifflin Company
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  15,684 ratings  ·  1,426 reviews

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What a lovely book about the wanderings of a family. This is told by Allen about his grandfather who visited the USA long ago and feel in love with both this country and his country. He would go back and forth as he loved California so much. He felt homesick for whichever place he just left. His grandson moved from Japan to San Fran when he was 16 and he also feels the same longing and has to visit back and forth.

It really is a beautiful little story about a family that spans decades and countri
David Schaafsma
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Grandfather's Journey is the 1993 Caldecott-winning picture book about the homesickness his grandfather had for both the U. S. and Japan, depending on which country he was in. Say says he shares this same homesickness for both countries with his grandfather. Lavishly illustrated/painted, it is Say's biographical tribute to his grandfather. It's an illustrated story more than a comics-style "sequential art" story the one-time photographer had so admired as a young man.

I imagined some of the pain
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I have been reading Allen Say books for the last few days and I have to admit that I have fallen in love with his style. He is an artist first and then writer. He tells stories through paintings so magnificently that I feel very contented after going through his works. The paintings are neither vividly colorful nor indistinct. They are just enough to soothe your soul! They are serene and subtle!

Same goes for this book. Here Allen Say tells the story of his grandfather who left Japan in his earl
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults who enjoy picture books
Recommended to Hilary by: Abigail
The story of Allen Say's grandfather is an engaging story shown with amazingly detailed and realistic watercolours. The story shows Allen's grandfather from a young man immigrating to the US and returning to Japan, and how as soon as he was in one country he became homesick for the other. This was an interesting book to read an adult's perspective, I'm not sure how interesting a child would find this, perhaps if they had had a similar experience they might enjoy this but otherwise I'm not sure.

Allen Say's Caldecott Medal winning Grandfather's Journey as a story, as an account, reads sweetly and generally quite pleasantly, but also with much thought-provoking potential emotionality, and even a palpable bit of potential sadness (especially to and for those of us who are immigrants or emigrants ourselves and have personally experienced what the text shows and oh so very clearly presents, namely equal amounts of love and passion for both our countries of origin and the countries to which ...more
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bonnie by: Chandra, Abigail

As someone who has taken watercolour classes, I appreciate Allen Say’s talent, and give full marks (5 stars) for the paintings in Grandfather’s Journey. The 1994 Caldecott Medal given to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” was well-deserved. That he used pen and ink in his artwork for Under the Cherry Blossom Tree and other earlier works, is a good indication that Say is a wonderful, versatile artist.

In Grandfather’s Journey, Allen Say retells his grandfath
Lisa Vegan
I do wonder whether I’d have rated this book 5 stars if I hadn’t just read the remarkable book Drawing from Memory.

The illustrations are gorgeous and evocative of their places. They’re definitely 5 star worthy.

The story, of emigration and immigration, about the author’s grandfather and about the author, and their relatives, is spare and lovely and rings so true. Its very few words make it suitable for the youngest children, and for all ages. Not a word is wasted. It’s lovingly told.

I really can’
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A poignant story that will probably be better appreciated by adults than children, this is the touching and bittersweet story of Say's grandfather, a loving tribute to the man who had a wanderlust and who loved both his hometown in Japan and his new home in California and who was never completely satisfied in either place because part of him longed to be in the other. A beautiful story that children and adults of two worlds will probably respond to, it is also a testament to how young children l ...more
Kathy Davie
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, children
A standalone biography of a grandson's remembrances of his grandfather's life that should really get a "6".

In 1994, Grandfather's Journey won the Caldecott Medal, and in 1993, it won the California Book Award Silver Medal for Juvenile.

My Take
It's beautiful yet sad. Say reminisces about his grandfather, his journey to America, his life, and his return to the Japan he misses. Say doesn't stop there, for he continues with his parents, and then to his own experience and feelings.

Beautiful. I know I
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Allen Say Fans / Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Family & the Immigrant Experience
The immensely talented Allen Say won the Caldecott Medal for this beautiful picture-book tribute to his grandfather, and to the immigrant experience, and it is not difficult to see why! Using simple text and luminous artwork, he explores his grandfather's story: how he wanted to see the world, as a young man, and set out on a sea-voyage from his native Japan; how he ended up in the USA, and journeyed all over the country, eventually settling in California; how he found a bride in Japan, but rais ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A true classic for all ages. Profound enough for youngsters to cut their philosophical teeth on, historical enough for teachers, and simple enough for too-busy parents. And beautiful.

I'm sure this is at least my third read.
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful story about the life of a man from Japan. Early on, he travels extensively throughout the US and then returns home to raise his family.

The pictures are amazing, as you would expect for a Caldecott Medal winner, and they tell a beautiful story of the man's life, as he grows up, starts a family and passes on his story to a younger generation.

The narrative is simple, often one or two sentences per page, but it is enough to weave a beautiful tale, a heartfelt memoir of the auth
Terri Lynn
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I enjoyed this children's picture book very much. The art is very good and the story even better. This is a story about three generations of one family where the grandfather came to the USA as a young man from Japan and fell in love with the country, especially California and the San Francisco area where he finally settles. We see the places he goes and his reactions to these marvels.

He returns to Japan to marry his childhood sweetheart and returns to San Francisco. Their daughter is born there
Caldecott winner. Beautiful book based on the story of the author's grandfather and his journey from Japan to America.
L13_F Sandra
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a wonderful story of a man torn between his love for two countries. Allen Say's grandfather left his home of Japan to see the world. Everything astonished or amazed him as he made his way West across North American into California, which he loved the most. He returned to Japan to marry but came back to the U.S. to settle in San Fancisco until he missed his homeland so much that he had to return. After many years had passed he could not forget California with it's mountains and rivers and ...more
Elayna Gilbert
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. A young man who leaves his homeland in Japan to travel to America has some mixed thoughts. He falls in love with it at first, but begins to miss his homeland and decides to travel back to Japan to see all the beautiful sights that he never appreciated before and to see his sweetheart. He ends up marrying her and brings the new wife back to California. They made their home by the San Francisco bay and ended up having a daughter. When his daughter is grown, she leaves Amer ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a story that talks about the narrator’s grandfather’s and the journey from Japan to America. The illustrations show what the grandfather’s journey and stay in American and Japan was like. It was very interesting. It follows the grandfather, then the narrator’s mother and then the grandson, the narrator, who himself goes to America because of the stories his grandfather told him. He felt closer to his grandfather. It would be a good story to talk about with students about how their famili ...more
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This Caldecott Medal winning book tells of his Grandfather's emigration to America and his eventual return to Japan, along with his wife and Daughter (whose story is told from her point of view in Say's Tea with Milk). His grandfather was torn between his love for both countries, and his plan to return to America was shattered by World War II. Exquisite watercolor paintings express the beauties of each country.
This is only the second book by Say that I've read, but I'll watch for others. I doubt that it would be a favorite -- it lacks emotional pull in both text and art.

As an immigrant, Say writes, The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.

I imagine that will ring true for many immigrants. I know it was true for my grandparents.

This book is fiction; I'd like to know how much of it is autobiographical.

I donated the book.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
A touching story about a grandfather, his descendants, and his love for traveling. I particularly enjoyed the photograph-like illustrations and connections to California/Japan across generations.

I feel that anyone could enjoy this book but older children or adults may find this book more meaningful because of the complexity of the grandfather's journey and the generational bonds.
Maggi Rohde
A moving story of Say's own grandfather and his lifetime of dealing with the ramifications of having roots in two cultures.
Catie Currie
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
A beautiful reflection on family and home and identity (and beautiful illustrations to boot!)
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
can you have two homes ?
i guess one can have an endless number of homes if he wants to
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
This stunning book is a picture book that I would consider using with high school students when we discuss the process and history of American immigration and assimilation. In this picture book, the author, Allen Say, shares the story of his grandfather who was born and raised in Japan. Eager to see the world, he journeys to the United States and marvels at the natural and varied beauties of the country. The large water-color illustrations are like large-format photographs, faded with age and se ...more
529_Quincy Owens
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanna Marple
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a story that will be particularly appreciated by anyone who has tried to straddle more than one culture and finds themselves at home in both and neither.

Allen Say recounts his grandfather’s life in America and his Japanese homeland. This is a large book and it opens with a portrait of Say’s grandfather in traditional Japanese dress, transitioning to him in European dress on page two, aboard a steamboat for the USA. Each page has a large, subdued illustration of new experiences; vast coas
Sierra Gonzales
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Grandfather's Journey written and illustrated by Allen Say is a beautifully written tale about a young Japanese Boy growing up in both California as well as Japan. But this story is not told by the young Japanese boy, but his future grandson.

The Caldecott winner shows the story as a sort of biography:
~Each picture was linear and the same as the last; each frame was perfectly square, giving it a very photographed feel. the author did this to convey the obvious care that his culture took into pre
Cam Duong
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
This Caldecott winner is a wonderful educational experience for children, providing a story of the immigrant experience.

Based on the true story of the author's grandfather, the book is a loving memory of his wise, brave relative.

When a young man, leaving Japan to venture to the United States, Allen Say's grandfather eventually lived in California.

When he returned to Japan, he married his childhood sweetheart and brought her to the United States. Living in San Francisco, they had a beautiful baby
Ashley Martin
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say is more about the pictures than the actual words themselves. The pictures account for about ninety percentage of the pages with words generally being the length of a sentence or two below the pictures. The pictures are museum quality and appear to be done with paints, perhaps watercolors. The book describes a young Japanese man’s journey to North America and his eventual journey back to Japan; it explains all the wonderful sights he witnessed along the way. How ...more
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Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (written by Dianne Snyder). Many of Allen’s stories are derived from his own experiences as a child. His other books include THE BICYCLE MAN, TEA WITH MILK, and TREE OF ...more

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