The Sign Painter by Allen Say

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Synopsis

In his Caldecott acceptance speech for GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, Allen Say told of his difficulty in separating his dreams from reality. For him this separation was not as important as finding a meaning behind the contradictions and choices we all must make in life and their consequences.
Early one morning a boy comes into town, hungry, and looking for work. He meets a sign painter who takes him on as a helper. The boy yearns to be a painter. The man offers him security.
The two are commissioned to paint a series of billboards in the desert. Each billboard has one word, Arrowstar. They do not know its meaning. As they are about to paint the last sign, the boy looks up and sees in the distance a magnificent structure. Is it real? They go to find out.
Through a simple text and extraordinary paintings, the reader learns of the temptation of safe choices and the uncertainties of following a personal dream. Here Allen Say tells a haunting and provocative story of dreams and choices for readers of all ages.   This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Read-Aloud Story)
 

About Allen Say

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Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.
 
Published October 30, 2000 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 32 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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No sooner does the young wanderer step off a bus in a small town to take a job with a commercial artist than a new commission comes along: to paint a dozen huge desert billboards with a woman’s face and the single word “ArrowStar.” He finds out what it all means when the work is nearly done;

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Publishers Weekly

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Like a 1930s cinematographer, Say (Grandfather's Journey), in perhaps his best work to date, pays tribute to a bygone era with a brief slice-of-life story about a boy's encounter with a sign painter.

Oct 30 2000 | Read Full Review of The Sign Painter

Publishers Weekly

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Like a 1930s cinematographer, Say (Grandfather's Journey), in perhaps his best work to date, pays tribute to a bygone era with a brief slice-of-life story about a boy's encounter with a sign painter.

| Read Full Review of The Sign Painter

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