Shapes, Lines and Light: My Grandfather’s American Journey

Norton. Oct. 2022. 56p. retold by . Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781324017011.
Gr 1-3–“A lot of the world happened to him. And he happened to a lot of the world,” Yamasaki writes in this joyful tribute to her famed architect-grandfather; she opens with his childhood in Seattle’s immigrant community and moves through his life, where he sought the comfort of open, light spaces that eventually informed his design. Yamasaki touches on the anti-Asian sentiment of World War II and post-war America and how Yama, as he was known, overcame each hurdle to rise to the top of his field, taking care of his family the entire time. Yamasaki’s illustration conveys her grandfather’s influence here as she creates bright, welcoming spreads with touches of Yama: arches and swirls dance through a piano’s music; Yama’s geometric patterns are noticeable as his father stocks shelves and mops floors. Back matter includes a more in-depth biography on the elder Yamasaki, with sketches of his more famous works, including New York’s original World Trade Center and Princeton University’s Robertson Hall. Yamasaki creates a loving portrait of her grandfather that emphasizes family and perseverance in equal measure.
VERDICT An excellent purchase for picture book biography collections.

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