(born James Allen Koichi Moriwaki Seii
in 1937) is an Asian American
author and illustrator best known for his book Grandfather's Journey
, a picture book detailing his grandfather's voyage from Japan
to the United States
and back again, which won the 1994 Caldecott Medal
. This story is autobiographical, and relates to Say's constant moving during his childhood. His work mainly focuses on Japanese
and Japanese American
characters and their stories, and several works have autobiographical elements.
Allen Say was born in Yokohama
, to a Japanese family: a Japanese American mother and a Korean father who was adopted by British parents and raised in Shanghai. At age 12, four years after his parents' divorce, Say went to live with his grandmother, but received her permission a short time later to live alone. The boy apprenticed himself for many years to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei
, an experience detailed in his autobiographical novel The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice
. In time Say came to think of Shinpei as his "spiritual father," as well as a mentor.
When his father decided to move to the United States with his new family, Allan Say was invited to come along. He attended military school for a short time, an experience that was decidedly negative: "I learned bad English from rich juvenile delinquents and developed a... Read More