Thursday, July 11, 2019

"It All Began With A Page" - a bookwrap

Gyo Fujikawa

About Gyo Fujikawa

Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1999) made a career in the advertising world and also enjoyed a lengthy stint at the Walt Disney Studios where she designed the large book version of Fantasia. In 1957, she illustrated her first picture book, A Child's Garden of Verses (9781402750625). Many others followed, some of which she also wrote. Babies (9781402756993), first published in 1963, stands as a landmark: it was the first children's book to depict infants of all races and nations sharing growing experiences. Fujikawa's books have been translated into 17 languages and are read in more than 22 countries.


It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way

by Kyo Maclear

illustrated by Julie Morstad

Age Range:  4-8

* Grade Level: PS-3

* Hardcover:  48 pages

* Publisher:  HarperCollins

* Pub. Date:  Oct. 8, 2019
* Language:  English 

Editorial Reviews

“Often mimicking Fujikawa’s style, Morstad layers engaging details and deep emotional resonance onto Maclear’s spare, poetic text…A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

It Began with a Page... tells [Gyo Fujikawa’s] story beautifully, in picture-book form.” (The New Yorker)

Unwrapping some great illustrations for you

About the book

I love biographies, especially when they are about talented creative activists that make positive changes in our world.  Japanese American Gyo Fujikawa is one of those women. 

As a little girl she felt comfort and 'rightness' within her to draw and create.  When in high school Gyo's teachers recognize her talent and encourage her to pursue her beautiful art. She attends college in 1926 when it isn't popular for women to do so and she studies abroad in Japan to deepen her artistic skills.  

Sadly back in the US her family is sent to an internment camp as World War II is blazing, and because of Gyo's working location, she is spared that terrible atrocity.  However it affects her heart deeply and she loses her will to draw and create.  

She does drawings for magazines and store window displays and then is asked to illustrate picture books.  She sees her chance to fight injustice through her first book "Babies".  She designs babies of all colours and ethnicities... little black babies, Asian babies, all kinds of babies... an international parade of sweet adorable babies.   This has never been done before and at first it is rejected by her publisher.  Finally the book is published in 1963.  It is revolutionary at the time and opens up the way for those in the book world to become more imaginative and inclusive leaving no one invisible.  It proves to be very popular and goes on to sell almost two million copies. 

"From the beloved team of Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad comes a story that poignantly portrays the life of Gyo Fujikawa, a groundbreaking hero in the fight for racial diversity in picture books." 

The author includes a timeline with photos and quotes, notes from the creators, and a selected biography and sources list for those who want to learn more.   The book contains gorgeous illustrations and is an inspiring story about a brave and strong woman who left her artistic mark on the world and changes it for the good, forever.  I love it.  

Storywraps Rating - 5 +++ HUGS !!!!!

Meet the Author

Kyo Maclear is the author of many books for children, including Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and some for adults. When she was a little girl, she wanted very badly to be a fashion designer. She spent countless hours drawing odd dresses, including a very special cloud dress. Her style muses include her mother, Patti Smith, the residents of Moominvalley, and anyone with a sense of casual and androgynous flair. Though she loved writing about Schiaparelli’s signature color, shocking pink, Kyo’s own favourite color is blue. She plants her garden with flowers in all shades of blue, and in spring when they bloom, it’s a blue extravaganza. Kyo makes her home in Toronto, where she lives with her two sons and husband, a musician. You can find her at

About the Illustrator

Julie Morstad is the author and illustrator of Today and How To. She has illustrated many books for children, including Swan, The Dress and the Girl, This Is Sadie, and Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Julie makes her home in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she lives with her family. You can find her at

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