gyo fujikawa’s picture book life (+ giveaway!)


“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!





41 Responses to gyo fujikawa’s picture book life (+ giveaway!)

  1. Corinna says:

    So fun to see Gyo Fujikawa on your blog today!!!!! Thank you.

  2. Robin Hall says:

    Gyo fujikawa has long been my favorite. My mom and siblings read Babies over and over to me until I could “read” it myself. What a wonderful giveaway!

  3. Amanda SV says:

    She was not on my radar! Would love this set! I work hard to build a bilingual diverse library for my kids and we clearly need these!

  4. yogibrarian says:

    I had never heard of her before, but I love her already! Thanks for the introduction. 🙂

  5. Wendy Wahman says:

    Really enjoyed learning about Gyo Fujikawa. What sweet worlds she created. Looking forward to exploring the links here too. Thank you.

  6. Her work is wonderful! She really did a great job drawing toddlers. The beach image is the perfect example… the collection of gestures and movements feels so real!

  7. We love Gyo! My half-Japanese 1 year old daughter enjoys her books so much, but we don’t have any of these adorable sounding titles in your giveaway. She would be over the moon and would read them til they fell apart like our copy of Baby Animals!

  8. Rachel says:

    Such beautiful work! Love I Can Fly!

  9. michelle gajda says:

    I would love a copy of her book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Florence says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! Haven’t heard of Gyo Fujikawa but luv her work already! I would luv to give these books to the two little girls whom I teach and care for! They luv to read and would be thrilled!

  11. Monica Gould says:

    I own an original copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses that my mother read to our family in the 1960’s. I shared it with my children and their classmates as a volunteer reader when they were younger. I love Gyo’s work; it is so unique and when you see it, you know it is hers. I work in a library in youth services and love your blog – I get many ideas from it for storytimes and books to share with our patrons. Thank you!!

    • Monica, that’s so neat that you have a childhood copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses! I love Gyo Fujikawa’s work too though I’ve only recently come to know it. I’m delighted to hear that this blog is of use to you as a liberian. That’s music to my ears and I wish you all the best in your work.

  12. Sarah Mast says:

    I love love love Gyo Fujikawa’s work. I have (too many, ahem) of them, and I am in love with the illustrations. I often buy this book for new parents ( 🙂

  13. Ell MacKay says:

    Her picture of children enchanted by the fireflies is one of my all time favourites.

  14. nancy armo says:

    Thank you for putting Gyo Fujikawa’s beautiful work on my radar. Her illustrations are fresh and love seeing the diversity of children interacting with each other.

  15. Jill Jeffries says:

    Exquisite illustrations!

  16. Laura says:

    We adore Gyo’s book Let’s Eat! In our house.

  17. So much goodness in Gyo’s books and this post! Thank you for the smiles this morning. =)

  18. Cathy Ogren says:

    Such talent! Seeing the illustrations brings back fond memories of my youth! Beautiful!

  19. Cheryl Kim says:

    Wow, I’d never heard of her until today. Thank you for sharing her important story!

  20. Marian Ocampo says:

    I am pretty sure I had a copy of that Mother Goose book when I was a child!

  21. maurine Egan says:

    I have loved these illustrations since my son was little. Now I’m reading them to my granddaughters. Gyo illustrations are irresistible.

  22. Katrina Emery says:

    So sweet! I love that international cast of characters–you don’t generally see that in older books especially.

  23. Gee says:

    The beach scene and cherry blossom stamp illustrations are so lovely!

  24. Congratulations to our winner, Monica!

  25. Chris says:

    I remember getting a headache from Fantasia. But I adored those ballerina hippos!

  26. Cynthia says:

    Hello, What a lovely giveaway. I know it’s over but these illustrations are beautiful! I remember having a book with the beach scene. Do you know what book that is from? Thanks 🙂

  27. Pingback: to make...a cover! + interview with illustrator Mags DeRoma - This Picture Book Life

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