Children’s Book Illustrators: Gyo Fujikawa

I found the cutest little children’s book ever at a garage sale for 50 cents. It’s titled Let’s Eat by Gyo Fujikawa. The illustrations made me feel very nostalgic for my childhood. And the first thing I noticed was how racially diverse the characters were, there was even a little Chinese girl feeding baby chicks.

gyo

The book was first published in 1975 by Sunny Books and reprinted in 1989. I didn’t know too much about the illustrator, so I thought I find out more. Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1998) is of Japanese descent born in Berkeley, California. She’s illustrated over 40 children’s books. Her illustrations show a happy version of childhood. Some of her illustrations of kids feeding farm animal seem so familiar, even though I’ve never lived in a farm. Her paintings of children have the same round happy face, rosy cheeks and simple dot for eyes. When asked about her drawings, Fujikawa said:

“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.”

She is so humble and lived to be 90 years old! I would consider her a pioneer in the world of female children’s illustrator. I just wish I could draw half as good as her. Well, I can’t seem to find any images on the net of my book. But I did find others, Bonne Nuit, a French version of Good Night from lucychan80s flickr.

The illustration os so nice, I may want to scan it and maybe print some to frame. I also found out that the books have been out of print, but Amazon.com has many used book dealers selling the same book from $20 to $160. I guess I now have a collectible in my hands.

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