“I am flattered when people ask me how I know so much about how children think and feel. Although I have never had children of my own, and cannot say I had a particularly marvelous childhood, perhaps I can say I am still like a child myself. Part of me, I guess, never grew up.”
—Gyo Fujikawa, found here
Gyo Fujikawa created over forty children’s books (wrote 46 and illustrated 9) and they have sold well over a million copies. She was born in 1909 in Berkeley, California. Fujikawa attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and also taught there. During World War II, she was able to avoid being forced into an internment camp because she was living on the east coast. Her family in the west was sent to camps.
She worked for Disney. She designed six postage stamps. Her initial foray into children’s books was illustrating A Child’s Garden of Verses in 1957. She was a pioneer in terms of being paid royalties rather than a flat fee for her artwork. She died in 1998 at the age of 90.
And, notably, she was one of the first children’s book creators to illustrate children of a variety of races in her work:
“She is often credited as the first children’s author to depict a multiethnic cast of characters.”
(From her LA Times obituary.)
You can see her influence in many picture book illustrations today.
Utterly appealing to children, Fujikawa’s books feature playfulness, friendship, lots of adorable animals, and the joys of daily life.
You can see a whole list of her timeless books over on goodreads.
I’m giving away one copy of Gyo Fujikawa’s Little Library, a delightful set of four mini board books: Hug Time, Animal Time, Play Time, and Friend Time. They’re ever so sweet.
Simply leave a comment below to be entered to win!
(Ends March 20 at midnight PST.)
You might also be interested in Mary Blair’s picture book life!