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Allen Say

Illustrator / Writer

Born: 1937
Birthplace: Yokohama, Japan
Best known as: Illustrator of The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
Allen Say is the author and illustrator of more than a dozen books for children, including the Caldecott Medal winner Grandfather's Journey (1993) and the Caldecott Honor winner The Boy of the Three-Year Nap (1988). Born in Yokohama, Say spent his childhood in Japan during World War II. When he was 12 his parents divorced and he went to live in Tokyo with his grandmother; there he spent four years as an apprentice to cartoonist Noro Shinpei before moving with his father to California at the age of 16. As a young man he went to a military academy, studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, spent two years in the U.S. Army and eventually settled into a career in advertising photography. In the mid-1980s Say's success as the illustrator of Dianne Snyder's The Boy of the Three-Year Nap helped him decide to write and illustrate children's books full-time. Since then he has written and illustrated his own books and occasionally done illustrations for other authors. He is known for his technical skill and varied style, and his books pay tribute to Japanese culture and folk tales as well as his own personal experiences. His other books include Tree of Cranes (1991), The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice (1994), Under the Cherry Blossom Tree (1997) and Tea With Milk (1999).

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