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It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
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It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  635 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Gyo Fujikawa's iconic children's books are beloved all over the world. Now it's time for Gyo's story to be told -- a story of artistic talent that refused to be constrained by rules or expectations.

Growing up quiet and lonely at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her te
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Tundra Books
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Average rating 4.44  · 
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La Coccinelle
That cover isn't exactly enticing, and I might not have requested this book had it not been for the subject matter, and the author and illustrator involved.

The illustrations on the inside are much more engaging, and even downright beautiful in spots. I sometimes have a hard time with picture-book biographies of artists, especially when they seem to be used as a vehicle to showcase the work of yet another artist. But in this case, Julie Morstad's illustrations really work. She depicts Gyo and her
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Lovers / Young Artists
Recommended to Abigail by: Kathryn
Canadian author/illustrator team Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad, whose previous collaborations include Julia, Child and Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli , turn to the story of Japanese-American artist and picture-book creator Gyo Fujikawa in this biographical story for young children. Born in 1903, Fujikawa was the daughter of first generation Japanese immigrants. She grew up and attended school in California, and in the 1920s she became one of the first Japanese-Americ ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A short/children biography book about following your dream. I like the minimalistic illustrations style and the inspiring story. Not sure how children would enjoy it, myself find it a bit long, because it was really slow and not much happen in term of «action». It was good, but very slow...
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely outstanding picture book biography of one of my favorite children's book author/illustrators, Gyo Fujikawa (Gyo pronounced "ghee-o"). I've delighted in her illustrations since I was a child but, since I was fortunate enough to grow-up in a time and place where it was not unusual for children of all colors to play together, I did not fully appreciate the groundbreaking nature of her work until I was older. Before reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about Fujikawa as a person, ...more
Shaye Miller
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From a very young age, Gyo Fujikawa loved to fill pages with her artwork. One of her teachers in high school found a way to get her through art school and she was eventually hired by the Walt Disney’s studio in New York (to work on promotional work for the movie Fantasia). This picture book biography shares one of her lowest points in life, when Roosevelt signed an Executive Order sending all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to internment camps, including Fujikawa’s family. 😦 But we a ...more
Abby Johnson
Do you know Gyo Fujikawa? You might, even if you don't think so. She was a children's book artist and author, the first to publish illustrations of multicultural children in an American book. I recognized her art from a volume of poetry that we had at my grandparents' house when I was growing up. This delicate picture book biography celebrates this book creator in just the way she'd love being commemorated: in a children's book. Pair with Planting Stories for another picture book biography of an ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous illustrations and introduced me to a really cool woman!
May 28, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, picture-books
IT BEGAN WITH A PAGE sheds brilliant light on one of America's most forward-thinking artists and children's book makers, showing a woman who used her art to create a more inclusive and bright world. Morstad, whose illustrations often evoke the soft vibrancy of Fujikawa's, is a perfect fit in visualizing her story. Maclear's engaging paean conjures an image of Fujikawa that fits solidly in the present, making her work all the more relevant to readers today. This is an exquisite, immersive biograp ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent picture book biography about a Japanese American children's book author and illustrator. Accompanied by wonderful liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayon artwork. Includes additional information about Fujikawa and a bibliography of sources.
A fine art biography with plenty of American history thrown in. I love the connection made from her art and the changing culture in the 1960s.
An inspiring biography of Gyo Fujikawa, artist and early advocate for diverse books, features beautiful and detailed illustrations in its own right
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Art and illustrator requests
Recommended to June by: Goodreads
A biography of a Japanese artist who worked to make children's books more inclusive. While she wasn't interned in American camps during WWII, her parents were.
Holy Cow. Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad knocked this book out of the water with their biography of Gyo Fujikawa, a pioneering Japanese American artist, muralist, and illustrator who published one of the first picture books in America to feature multicultural and multiracial children interacting with each other. Everything about this book was wonderful, including the subject herself, a fiercely strong and independent woman who was not only an accomplished artist, but also an advocate for equal pa ...more
I loved the sparse, stylistic artwork that alternated between color and black and white, depending on story events. There was a depth and seriousness to this story about a not-very-well-known artist that covered a broad range of social justice issues. The timeline at the end added also to the story itself, rounding out some of the details that seemed necessary given how little known Fujikawa is today, honoring her accomplishments and legacy in kid lit.
Having just read The Queens of Animation not too long ago, I jumped at the chance to read this short bio about Gyo Fujikawa. It's beautifully done and the illustrations are lovely. I also ordered two of her children's books to share with my son.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
World's Magazine Children's Book of the Year Recommendation. Beautiful story about the life of artist Gyo Fujikawa, including child-appropriate depiction of Japanese-Americans' treatment in the US during World War II.
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I know that we had the Babies book! This is a way to introduce examples of discrimination that many children might not be aware of. It has an interesting use of black & white, contrasted with color that seems to indicate more positive things. I would like to see more examples of her creative work! ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm biased because I've adored Fujikawa's art my entire life and am slowly adding her books to my personal collection (since I don't have access to the ones I grew up with).
Annalise Nakoneczny
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Gorgeous, inspiring, bold. I admire this artist so much-- her courage, her strength, and her desire for equality and social justice. Wow.
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I have always loved Gyo Fujikawa's chubby cheeked toddlers that tumble across the pages of her children's books. And now I know why. This inspirational picture book biography brings to light Fujikawa's struggle to represent all kinds of kids, from everywhere, in her books. As a Japanese American woman, in the mid 20th century, it wasn't a simple suggestion. Now I love her work (and her) even more than I did before.
Kris Patrick
Years ago I would have purchased most any picture book biography for my school library without much thought ... today, I don’t know. Maybe if I had a really, really good budget.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-stuff
I adored this book. Gyo Fujikawa was the first author/illustrator I was introduced to as a child and so this book is also personal for me. Hearing the story of what her family went through brought me to tears. The story is inspirational while also educational, working well as a picture book with its timeless illustrations and also as an excellent resource for children looking to do a report on someone. There is a history included in the end that brings this already wonderful book to another leve ...more
A beautiful book! I have always loved Gyo Fujikawa's illustrations. I own copies of several of her books but never knew her story. In fact, I didn't know she was a she for a long time! I'm thankful to the author and illustrator for their diligent research and their dedication and love for Gyo that drew them to create the book. It's an important story!
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning! An excellent example of the picture book biography!!!
Brooklyn Cribdon (The Wild Library)
I LOVE this book. Kyo Maclear is a children's-book-writing goddess. Both Maclear & Morstad share Gyo's biography in the most beautiful way. I didn't realize that Gyo Fujikawa was such a trailblazer and I am so thankful that her story is being shared in what I must assume is a medium she would approve and be proud of :) ...more
Kate Buechler
Peak under the book jacket for a delightful surprise
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A body of work long cherished worldwide is the timeless legacy of Gyo Fujikawa, a Japanese illustrator gifted. She made babydom come alive with her fresh-faced, cherub likenesses of children, 50 books she wrote that remain cherished favorites today. “It Began With a Page, How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way,” details the life of this artist in a stellar book by Kyo Maclear.
Born in the United States to Japanese parents, Gyo had a passion for drawing. She attended college, studied Japanese masters, but
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Filled with engaging illustrations, the story of a strong willed, open minded woman should encourage children to follow their dreams. Born in 1906, Gyo Fujikawa worked for Disney, witnessed the injustices Japanese-Americans faced during the Second World War, and created books showing diversity amongst children at a time when segregation was being challenged. The book might be lengthy for some children, but it is worth investigating
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad are together again to bring us the beautiful non-fiction picture book It Began with a Page, a story about authorstrator Gyo Fujikawa, a Japanese-American writer and illustrator who broke barriers in the publishing world standing up for equal pay and her belief that all children, regardless of gender or race, should see themselves reflected in picture books.

Maclear and Morstad take us through Gyo Fujikawa’s life starting as a small child and with a blank page. Gyo Fu
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love biographies, especially when they are about talented creative activists that make positive changes in our world. Japanese American Gyo Fujikawa is one of those women.

As a little girl she felt comfort and 'rightness' within her to draw and create. When in high school Gyo's teachers recognize her talent and encourage her to pursue her beautiful art. She attends college in 1926 when it isn't popular for women to do so and she studies abroad in Japan to deepen her artistic skills.

Sadly back
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Kyo Maclear is a children’s author, novelist and essayist. She was born in London, England and moved to Toronto at the age of four.

Kyo is the author of several critically-acclaimed children’s books including: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012), both illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; Mr. Flux (2013), illustrated by Matte Stephens; Julia, Child (2014), illustrated by Julie Morstad; The Specific

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