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Grandfather's Journey

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  14,488 Ratings  ·  1,249 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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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 has for both the U. S. and Japan, depending on which country he is 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 paint
...more
Tisha
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
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Bonnie
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
...more
Manybooks
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
Kathryn
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
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’
...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
...more
Cheryl
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.
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
...more
Dolly
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
...more
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
Judy
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott
This is only the second book by Say that I've read, but I will be watching for others. After the kids have read some of his stories about children and Japan, I think they'll appreciate this story more than if we were to read it first.

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 autobiogra
...more
Carolynne
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.
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.
Cam Duong
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peyton Stevens
Jun 26, 2017 added it
Shelves: rdg
Grandfather’s Journey is about a grandfather who left Japan to explore the world. He went on a ship and arrived to North America. He explored North America. He saw many things all over. He met many people while traveling. He did not want to return home because he loved traveling, but he finally returned to Japan. He married in Japan and then went back to North America. They lived in California. They had a daughter. When she was grown up they moved back to Japan. The daughter married and gave bir ...more
NebraskaIcebergs
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say, the narrator described the conflict one feels by being from two countries. The story started out being about his grandfather, who left his home in Japan to see the world. He explored North America by train, riverboat, and foot. Deserts amazed him, and endless farm fields reminded him of the ocean he had crossed. Factories and skyscrapers bewildered and excited him. He marveled at mountains and rivers. For a long time, the grandfather longed to see new place ...more
Jessa Magbanua
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say was a really good read. I don’t think you read many books about Asian American children so it was nice to read this one. I also liked how Say narrated this story as a young boy telling his grandfather’s story, and at the end being able to experience the same emotions his grandfather felt about California and where they are originally from. It was beautifully written and the illustrations were amazing on their own. Say did a tremendous job portraying the essen ...more
Sabrina
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary: Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say, depicts the story of a man from Japan journeying to America. He explores America, through different means of transportation and dress. While he falls in love with this new place, he longs for his home. The man eventually journeys back home.

Evaluation: Say did a beautiful job portraying all of the emotions that a person might feel after immigrating to a different country. The illustrations look like photographs and it feels as if you are sitting on t
...more
Karin
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
I don't think I am especially weepy right now, but this book brought me to tears. Maybe it is because my mother is an immigrant. I felt like it connected me to her. I know she has similar feelings for her country of adulthood and her country of birth/childhood. The pictures were simple and stunning. Lovely read.
Thomas Hagood
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
The longing for other places and other people is a part of modern life. Unless you spend your whole life in one place, you will experience it. If attachment is at the root of human suffering, then understanding that suffering is perhaps a good way to understand your elders. Grandfather's Journey is a kid's book that may have more to offer older readers.
Pamela
A grandson recounts the life of his grandfather in Japan and America, and how the grandfather would miss one country when in the other. The grandson grows up in Japan but goes to visit America and stays. Yet he, too, now misses Japan just as his grandfather had, but goes back to visit from time to time.
Beautifully illustrated, this story is one in which many of us can relate to in our transient society. It can be used in a classroom of 1st or 2nd graders to teach about heritage and how missing h
...more
Malia Gaddis
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary: "Grandfather's Journey" is a heartfelt story about the love of two countries. He is originally from Japan, but travels around the world to see the beauty of the mountains and sunset. He finally sees the importance of his homeland and traveling when he goes to America.

Evaluation: This book has good illustrations and I think it has a great meaning for readers. The students may struggle with understanding it from a different point of view, but the story is very heartfelt.

Teaching: I woul
...more
Guineth Ruiz
Oct 13, 2017 is currently reading it
Grandfather's Journey is about a man who was born and raised in Japan but eventually moved on to explore the world. On the many trips he was on he came to love California. But, being there made him miss his hometown eventually leading him to go back and marrying his sweetheart. He took her to California were they grew their family and he then to his family back to Japan. The story then goes off by saying there was war that left them with nothing and had to move to a small village.

I like how in
...more
Kylo Ren
Apr 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really should stop buying books based on their titles.
N_amandascholz
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
Christi
Nov 22, 2016 added it
Shelves: rdg-291
The story recounts the journey of the narrator's, in this case the author, grandfather. He left his home country to travel the world. He was introduced to new cultural dress, western style dress, and saw the Pacific Ocean. His ocean journey took three weeks, and when he landed he was in "the new world." He explored North America by different means of transportation, steam boats and trains. He was in awe of the natural beauty, the natural rock formations of the deserts, the seemingly endless fiel ...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
...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