August 26, 2010

The Reading Corner.. Gyo Fujikawa

Silly Jingles, fun rhymes, imaginative ideas for games, things for a day dreaming child to think about and gentle lessons of kindness and friendship..I'm up...I'm up..It's Going to be a Busy Day!
Author and illustrator, Gyo Fujikawa
Born: November 3, 1908
Place of Birth: Berkley, California
Parents: Hikozo and Yu Fujikawa
Died: November 26/1998... Ms. Fujikawa was 90 years old and lived in Manhattan at the time of her death.

Busy Day was one of my children's favorite books. Out of four children, we went through two "Busy Day's"...they were THAT read and THAT used....of course, my grandson, LVM, has this book now and loves it as much as his Mama did!

Miss Fujikawa's father borrowed her first name from a Chinese emperor and her name rhymes with Leo.The  daughter of a Japanese farmer and an aspiring Japanese social worker, Miss Fujikawa was among the first illustrators to command royalties rather than a flat fee.

 Miss Fujikawa studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles before and after spending 1932 in Japan, where she developed a love of Japanese art and a stronger appreciation of her heritage. Back home, she did promotional work on the movie ''Fantasia'' for Disney Studios, which later sent her to its advertising department in New York, where she designed many 25-cent Disney books. "In illustrating for children, what I relish most is trying to satisfy the constant question in the back of my mind--will this picture capture a child's imagination? What can I do to enhance it further? Does it help to tell a story? I am far from being successful (whatever that means), but I am ever so grateful to small readers who find 'something' in any book of mine."

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, Mrs. Fujikawa's family was interned in Arkansas in a relocation camp. During the war Miss Fujikawa did movie and pharmaceutical advertising layouts and magazine illustrations.

''If you notice,'' Miss Fujikawa wrote a few years ago, ''in all my books (except for the fairy-tale books) there are very few grown-ups. I try to draw children in such a way that they convey the emotion or the action or whatever it is that I'm talking about.''

In 1951 Fujikawa became a full-time freelancer and about five years later was approached by juvenile editor Debra Dorfman at Grosset & Dunlap to illustrate Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses". This was her first published children's book in 1957. Babies, the first book both written and illustrated by Fujikawa in 1963, was also one of the earliest children's books to use multi-racial characters, a consistent feature across her body of work.

She illustrated five books, including ''Mother Goose'' and ''The Night Before Christmas,'' and wrote and illustrated 45 others. She also designed six United States postage stamps, including the 32-cent yellow rose self-adhesive stamp issued last year and the United States-Japan Treaty centenary stamp of 1960.

Although she was engaged for a few years beginning at the age of 19, Miss Fujikawa never married.

In her later years, she said, ''I am flattered when people ask me how I know so much about how children think and feel. Although I have never had children of my own, and cannot say I had a particularly marvelous childhood, perhaps I can say I am still like a child myself. Part of me, I guess, never grew up.'' 

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