Meet the Author/Illustrator

Allen Say

Portrait of Allen Say

During Allen Say's childhood, he and his family moved over and over again. Always changing homes and going to new schools made him feel uncomfortable wherever he lived. "So I escaped into reading and drawing," he recalls. "The marvelous thing that happened to me was that during recess I would draw. Students would stand behind me and watch. That's probably the first time I discovered that I had this power — it was the only power I had."

When Say creates a book, he wants his pictures to tell the story. Sometimes he paints half the pictures for a book before he knows for sure what the story will be about. And he says some of his best ideas could only come to him through pictures, not words. "You react physically to a work of art," Say remarks. "When you break out in goose pimples, then you know you have something."

Read the following quote from Allen Say. What do you think it means?

"Most people seem to be interested in turning their dreams into reality. Then there are those who turn reality into dreams. I belong to the latter group."

Photography Credit


Other Books Written and Illustrated by Allen Say

  • The Sign Painter
  • El Chino
  • Stranger in the Mirror
  • The Bicycle Man
  • Tea with Milk
  • Allison
  • Under the Cherry Blossom Tree
  • Emma's Rug
  • A River Dream
  • The Lost Lake
  • Tree of Cranes
  • The Bicycle Man

Other Books Illustrated by Allen Say

  • The Boy of the Three-Year Nap
    (written Dianne Snyder)