Say, Allen, 1937–, Japanese-American writer and illustrator of children's books, b. Yokohama, Japan, as James Allen Koichi Moriwaki Seii. After an apprentceship with a well-known cartoonist, the basis for his semi-autobiographical novel The Ink-keeper's Apprentice (1979, 2d ed. 1994), Say moved to California, where he studied art and worked as a sign painter and photographer. After serving in the army, he returned to California and began writing children's books based on Japanese folk tales and on the immigrant experience. His books, which are filled with glowing watercolor illustrations, include The Bicycle Man (1982), Dianne Snyder's retelling of The Boy of the Three Year Nap (1988), Tree of Cranes (1991), Grandfather's Journey (1993; Caldecott), Tea With Milk (1999), The Sign Painter (2000), and Kamishibai Man (2005).
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