Gyo Fujikawa Compilations

Recently, Dora has really become interested in fairy tales, Mother Goose rhymes, and poetry. I’m really excited about this, as none of my other children enjoyed any of these much. I’ve been a bit frustrated, however, by many of the more modern versions of fairy tales. I’m pretty darn liberal and try really hard to be PC (politically correct), but some of the modern versions of fairy tales have gotten so PC that they no longer make sense. One version of the Gingerbread Boy that we purchased, ended with the gingerbread boy jumping off the fox before the fox could eat him and running away into the sunset. I’m not even sure what the moral of that story was supposed to be!

In my quest for good compilations of fairy tales, Mother Goose rhymes, and poetry,  I somehow stumbled on Gyo Fujikawa’s books. At first I was just happy to find the books, but eventually I found myself compelled to learn more about Gyo Fujikawa, herself. She was born to Japanese parents in 1908. She was working for the Walt Disney Company in California, but moved to NY in 1941. Whether this was just luck on her part, or she saw the writing on the wall as far as how Japanese-Americans would eventually be treated in California, I do not know. Her first children’s book was published in 1957. I think it is important to reflect on this accomplishment, she was a Japanese-American WOMAN, who managed to become a famous author/illustrator in 1957! In addition,

Fujikawa is recognized for being the earliest mainstream illustrator of picture books to include children of many races in her work, before it was politically correct to do so. (Wikipedia)

So here I was trying to get books that were less PC and I stumbled upon the mother of PC-dom. You know what, though? I absolutely LOVE her books. I love that the children in her books come in all sorts of colors. I also love that she maintains the storyline of the original fairy tales. Most importantly, however, Dora loves these books!

The three Fujikawa books that I have purchased and highly recommend are A Child’s Book of Poems, Mother Goose, and Fairy Tales and Fables. Between the three, I feel that I can safely say that Dora is getting a good, solid grounding in poetry, rhymes, and fairy tales. Eventually I hope to add a collection of Aesop’s Fables and myths, neither of which Fujikawa published, but I think Dora is a bit young to fully understand at this point in time anyway.

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Labels: Literature
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff