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Comment: Former library book. Pages are smooth and clear, with minimal folds or creases. Minor page curl. No markings or labels other than on covers, title pages and book edges. Minor to moderate surface and edge wear to cover. ***Fast Amazon shipping, delivery tracking number, no-hassle return policy - your satisfaction is guaranteed!
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The East-West House: Noguchi's Childhood in Japan Hardcover – August 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Isamu Noguchi was a prolific and influential artist whose creative interests ranged beyond sculpture and into scenic and landscape design, architecture, furniture, and art education. This book uses spare writing and textured collage to depict his life as a boy of mixed Japanese and American heritage living in Japan. Hale includes the fact that his mother was abandoned by his father before Noguchi was even born and makes the case that his isolation and difference as a child contributed to his appreciation of the natural world, which in turn informed his work throughout his long career. 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.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD END

From Booklist

As a child, the famous Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi moved “from East to West and back again.” This picture-book biography, with handsome double-page pictures in mixed media and collage, shows and tells how his mixed heritage and diverse experience enriched his work, even though he suffered from loneliness and rejection. Hale’s spare, eloquent poetry and clear, dynamic pictures focus on Noguchi as a child. Born in the U.S., the future artist was an outsider when he moved to Japan. Rejected by his Japanese father, he was also teased and ostracized at school, but he was nurtured by his American mother, who read him Greek myths “while outside their window Mount Fuji swelled.” At age eight, he designed a house for his family, which they built, and he grew up to become a groundbreaking artist and designer. 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. Grades 3-6. --Hazel Rochman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600603637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600603631
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,706,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Glenn Ralston on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
now, THAT'S what I'm Talking About --
This is a wonderful tribute to the artist as child. Christy Hale's illustrations and words:
"He walked watching shadows shift.
Light on stone revealed secret colors.
Water mirrored shapes above---
a kaleidoscope in motion."

This loving presentation for children is followed by a 3-page, detailed postscript that provides the authoritative context of his life. This includes a short but suitable segway into continuing his little known adolescence as a typical High School teenager for the four highly important years in LaPorte, Indiana. --Glenn Ralston
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Format: Hardcover
Isamu was only a little two-year-old boy when his mother Leonie took him on a long journey to Japan to reunite them with his father, Yonejiro. Yonejiro had convinced them to come to Tokyo, but his mother had little idea of the pain that a biracial child would experience. This "stranger-father" had chosen his name which, in Japanese, meant "Mr. Courageous." He would have to have a lot of courage to face what lay before him and so would his mother. His father had another family and would not stay in their home. They remained in Japan, but "never long in any place" because they were "gaijin, foreigners, shunned by everyone."

He and his mother stayed together and she introduced him to the wonders of nature. "Earth, rock, flowers, trees--these were Isamu's trusted friends." He had no friends in school because he was teased and shunned. The joy that he did not find in other children, he found in his art. His mother bought a piece of land and Isamu, at the tender age of eight, drew up the plans for the construction of an east-west house. The boy was becoming a man as he supervised the workers and "watched each detail with care. What was going to happen to this little boy who didn't seem to be welcome in either the east or the west?

This is a soft and gentle biography of Isamu Noguchi, a boy who whose parentage bridged two worlds, and left him belonging to neither one. Both the beautiful artwork and the text will make both the adult and child understand what it is like to feel alienated from two worlds he came from. This type of children's book is a perfect way to introduce young children to the world of art and could easily provide a stepping stone into more research for a report. In the back of the book are several photographs and a more in depth biography of Isamu. This is one beautiful, touching book that will be hard to pass up!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect balance of visual inventiveness and verbal simplicity. The illustrations are outstanding, using just enough texture and variety to make each page lively and subtle, without detracting from the very sensitively told story of a boy, his mother, and an unusual cultural challenge. There is plenty of information here, but it never feels ponderous or politically correct, simply a surprising story of life and its unexpected shaping.
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