Title: Shapes, Lines, and Light
Author: Katie Yamasaki
Major Themes: Minoru Yamasaki, Architect, Japan
Synopsis: A Japanese-American man designed buildings to help people feel the way he wanted to feel—free and light.
My little girls love it when I read them a new picture book. I sat down in the middle of our living room tonight and started reading them Shapes, Lines, and Light, and they were quite interested. Pretty soon, my oldest daughter got annoyed. She was trying to talk to one of my older sons, and he was distracted by the story I was reading to the little girls!
Katie Yamasaki wrote this book about her grandfather’s life. As a young man, living in a crowded, low-income neighborhood in Seattle, he noticed that he felt differently about different places. Some places made him feel closed in, and unwanted; other places felt safe and he felt seen. In the forest, he felt light and free. He decided that he would make the life he wanted for himself—but how?
Yama studied hard, and he worked hard to pay for his studies. He learned to design buildings, to be an innovative architect. However, between the Great Depression and the fact that he was Japanese American, life was difficult. Yama had to face discrimination, but he did not let that stop him from designing buildings that made him feel the way he felt when he was out in nature.
I liked Yama’s family values. He built his house to accommodate his family, and the book says that he filled his house with his children and grandchildren. I also appreciated that he did not become bitter when he was discriminated against. That is lightly touched on in the main part of the book, but the historical note at the end goes into a lot more detail.
The pictures throughout this book are beautiful! I have read a lot of picture book biographies, and the artwork in Shapes, Lines, and Light is something special. They glow with color, but at the same time, there is a lot of white space on most of the pages. Reading this book makes me feel the way Yama wanted people to feel about his buildings. This is a special book!
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Links to buy this book:
Amazon: Hardcover | Audible Audiobook (unabridged) | Audio CD (unabridged)
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Hardcover | Audio CD (unabridged)
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