A Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu Noguchi

Listening Library. Jul. 2023. 6p. $5. ISBN 9780593793077.
Gr 1-3–Yang’s award-winning printed book pubbed two years ago, but it undoubtedly offers timeless resonance and inspiration for the youngest generation of would-be artists. Yang reveals in his ending author’s note, “[Isamu] Noguchi has always been a hero of mine.” Repeating the refrain, “If you are Isamu,” Yang imagines the artist’s childhood explorations of his immediate world. Renowned and revered for his sculptures of stone and wood, in this empathetic portrayal Isamu eschews crowded places and loud playmates to experience colors, textures, nature, and environments on his own.
VERDICT Actor/filmmaker Hanami—whose mixed-race Japanese/white ancestry reflects Noguchi’s own heritage—provides an unhurried, crisp narration perfect for a read-along. “Alone time can be the most special time of all,” Yang reminds, and Hanami underscores—a valuable antidote, indeed, to the constant overstimulation too many children face today.

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