As a girl, Alice loved to dance, but the rhythms of her life offered little opportunity for a foxtrot, let alone a waltz. World War II erupted soon after she was married. Alice and her husband, along with many other Japanese Americans, were forced to leave their homes and report to assembly centers around the country. Undaunted, Alice and her ...
As a girl, Alice loved to dance, but the rhythms of her life offered little opportunity for a foxtrot, let alone a waltz. World War II erupted soon after she was married. Alice and her husband, along with many other Japanese Americans, were forced to leave their homes and report to assembly centers around the country. Undaunted, Alice and her husband learned to make the most of every circumstance, from their stall in the old stockyard in Portland to the decrepit farm in the Oregon desert, with its field of stones. Like a pair of skilled dancers, they sidestepped adversity to land gracefully amid golden opportunity. Together they turned a barren wasteland into a field of endless flowers. Such achievements did not come without effort and sacrifice, though, and Alice often thought her dancing days were long behind her. But as her story testifies, life is full of changes . . . In this striking book, Allen Say introduces readers to the remarkable story of the life of a woman whose perseverance and resilience serve as an inspirational reminder that dreams can be fulfilled, even when least expected.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-26 Once again, Say (Home of the Brave) practically takes one's breath away with the understated beauty of his watercolors. With a photo-like realism, he depicts Alice, an elderly Japanese-American woman, capturing every age spot and laugh line and making her radiant skin almost tactile. Her portrait telegraphs an inner peace and elegant beauty. Alice's story begins in California where, as a girl, she "loved dancing more than anything else." But after marrying, she embarks on a life of farming that allows little time for dancing. Say traces her uprooting during WWII, her ups and downs in the fields and the death of her husband. The narrative ends abruptly as the widowed, grieving Alice finds closure when she visits the farm she and her husband left 30 years before, finding it neglected and dilapidated. She declares, "Now I can dance!" The last image shows her dancing with a younger man, a scene that could profit from a bit more fleshing out ("And dance I do-all that I can"). Adults may respond best to this documentary-style life story. For example, the meaning of Alice's comment about their bustling farm ("What good is success if we can't enjoy ourselves?") may escape the picture-book audience. Nevertheless, fans of Say's artwork should relish these paintings. He accentuates the historical milieu with a palette of faded, often sepia tones and still, composed subjects who stare frankly at the audience-as though fully aware of the camera turned on their ordinary but eventful lives. All ages. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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