Publication Date: October 08, 2019
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Ages 4 to 8, Grades P to 3
An elegant picture book biography of groundbreaking Japanese American picture book illustrator Gyo Fujikawa, one of the first in the field to show a diverse set of children together on a page, from the creators of Julia, Child and Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
“A book can be anything that anyone imagines it to be.” —Gyo Fujikawa
From beloved team Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad comes It Began with a Page, a picture book biography that portrays the most moving moments in the life of Gyo Fujikawa, a groundbreaking Japanese American hero in the fight for racial diversity in picture books.
Growing up in California, Gyo Fujikawa always knew that she wanted to be an artist. She was raised among strong women, including her mother and her teachers, who encouraged her to fight for what she believed in.
During World War II, Gyo’s family was forced to abandon everything and were taken to an internment camp in Arkansas. Far away from home and from her family, Gyo worked as an illustrator in New York while her innocent family was imprisoned.
Seeing the diversity around her and feeling pangs from her own childhood, Gyo became determined to show all types of children—white, black, Asian, girl, boy, immigrant—in her books for children. There had to be a world where they saw themselves represented.
Gyo’s book Babies was initially rejected by her publisher at Grosset & Dunlap. But after Gyo insisted, they finally relented, and Babies went on to sell almost two million copies.
Gyo’s books paved the way for publishers, teachers, and readers to see what we can be when we welcome others into our world.
Equal parts picture book biography, inspiring story, and a look at racial diversity in America, It Began with a Page is a gem for any book lover, librarian, or child who dares to dream big.
The book includes extensive back matter, including a note from the creators, a timeline, archival photos, and further information on Gyo Fujikawa.
“It Began with a Page... tells [Gyo Fujikawa’s] story beautifully, in picture-book form.” –The New Yorker
“Often mimicking Fujikawa’s style, Morstad layers engaging details and deep emotional resonance onto Maclear’s spare, poetic text…A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist.” –Kirkus Reviews *(starred review)*