Children's Book Analysis the Book Grandfather's Journey Book Review

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Children's Book Analysis

The book Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say is a wonderfully illustrated and easy to understand publication written for children in the early grades. The book won "The Caldecott Medal" and the narrative is simple and direct, and yet there is powerful symbolism and meaning behind the short, straightforward style.

The book tells the story of a grandfather's trip to America from Japan -- and back to Japan from America. One of the salient themes of this book is how interesting and beautiful it is to travel and see new places in this world.

The gender role is implied from the start, as it is not likely that a grandmother from Japan would have set out to cross the Pacific Ocean in a steamship. On page 5 the grandfather, a fairly young man, is wearing "European clothes for the first time," so Say is bringing culture into the book quickly. Grandfather doesn't see land for three weeks, but when he finally sees land it is "the New World" (as though grandfather is an ancient explorer).

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Grandfather, out there alone in America, a Japanese man in a foreign country, travels the United States by riverboat, by train, and he "…often walked for days on end," Say explains. It would be difficult to imagine a Japanese woman coming alone to American and walking "for days on end" in order to discover this vast country. In the process of exploring the United States, the book's illustrations show Bryce Canyon National Park, they show the rugged California coastline, mountains and a steamship chugging down a wide river.

Book Review on Children's Book Analysis the Book Grandfather's Journey Assignment

Grandfather discovered that America is a place where there are many cultures represented. Readers know that because the narrative explains that "…He shook hands with black men and white men, with yellow men and red men" (Say, 12). However, the more he traveled the more he longed to see more places and "…never thought of returning home." On page 15 a gender issue appears: "After a time he returned to his village in Japan to marry his childhood sweetheart. Then he brought his bride to the new country." Clearly grandfather was doing his homework about this big nation, and checking it out to see if it would be suitable for his wife. The photo on page 15 shows grandfather rowing a boat in European… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Children's Book Analysis the Book Grandfather's Journey.  (2011, September 29).  Retrieved October 20, 2020, from

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"Children's Book Analysis the Book Grandfather's Journey."  29 September 2011.  Web.  20 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Children's Book Analysis the Book Grandfather's Journey."  September 29, 2011.  Accessed October 20, 2020.