The Favorite Daughter

Allen Say. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-17662-0
Yuriko’s classroom is an uncomfortable place to be a biracial child. “The new art teacher called me ‘Eureka,’ ” Yuriko tells her father. “I want an American name, Daddy.” Fortunately, Yuriko’s father adores her—hence the book’s title, Say’s nickname for his only child. His ability to mediate between Japanese culture and American reality helps turn a frustrating class art assignment into triumph; Yuriko uses a collection of chopsticks and some fluffy cotton to construct a replica of the Golden Gate bridge blanketed in fog. Caldecott-winner Say’s (Grandfather’s Journey) meticulous draftsmanship and openhearted honesty make this a memorable piece of autobiography. Family photographs of Yuriko dressed in Japanese kimono add to the story’s intimacy; she’s pictured first as a toddler, and then, on the last page, as a young woman, a bit self-conscious in her finery. As a bonus, Say offers an affirming portrait of a divorced father savoring every minute of his shared custody, and of an artist coaching his child through cookie-cutter art assignments: “They’re fun if you think of them as puzzles,” he tells her. Ages 4–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Paperback - 978-0-545-17663-7
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