With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi.
If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all.
How can they be so heavy?
Would they float if they had no weight?
Winner of the Theordor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi.
Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist . . .but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones.
Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees.
Miniature, toy-like images by Geisel Medalist Yang (Stop! Bot!) follow a solitary boy who's drawn to nature's elemental forms. He's based on the sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), but readers needn't have that context to take pleasure in this story. In a second-person telling that places readers right in the moment, Isamu is at the market in Japan with his mother, off at the edge of the action: "Maybe there is a quiet space that feels more like you," the text reads. Wandering beyond a group of children who play loudly, Isamu walks, asking questions: "Why does cloth feel soft? Who made the path with stone?... How can light feel so welcoming?" In the forest, he sees leaves, grass, and more stones ("If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all"), then finds his way to the quiet rumble of the ocean. "Isamu! There you are!" his mother cries, reaching for an embrace--when she asks about his day, "You think about how you were/ alone but not lonely." Less a biography than an attentive, balanced study of an artist's sensibility, this story ends with an author's note about Noguchi, who believed that "when an artist stopped being a child, he would stop being an artist." Ages 3-7. (June)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.