Monday, October 17, 2011

Rediscovering Childhood Favorites: Books by Gyo Fujikawa

Today I am happy to share a guest post from a close friend of mine, Erin, who actually introduced me to the blogging world and encouraged me to begin writing Land of Once Upon a Time. 

Erin is mom to a 1-year old daughter, and also a holds a BA in Mathematics and an MA in Education.  She has taught at Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, PA and at The Dalton School on New York City's Upper East Side.  Erin is enjoying rediscovering some of her favorite children's books with her baby girl. 


Throughout high school and college, one of my favorite things to do was to go into the attic in my parent's house.  It was a time capsule of special memories from my childhood, filled with Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, old Halloween costumes and, most importantly, books.  I hadn't been in the attic for several years when, after the birth of my daughter last fall, I realized that my parents had saved ALL of my books.  They arrived at my house one day with two large bins full of hardbacks and paperbacks, large and small.  I pored over the stacks, taking time to smell many of them, as the scent transported me back to the early 1980's.  I loved those books and it was the most special gift to be able to touch them again.  It is an even better gift to be able to read these same books to my daughter.  Just the other day, my parents arrived with yet another box of dusty books (perhaps the last?) that are perfect for my one-year old. 

One popular author in my childhood library is Gyo (pronounced "ghee-o") Fujikawa.  Ms. Fujikawa was an American illustrator and author who wrote more than 50 children's books over the course of four decades.  Fujikawa is frequently 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.  Babies, the first book both written AND illustrated by Fujikawa, was one of the earliest children's books to use multi-racial characters, a consistent feature in much of her work.  Oh!, What A Busy Day! is one of my personal favorites, but we will stick with her board books while my little one is still in her destructive stage.  Our Best Friends, Millie's Secret, and Sleepy Time, to name just a few.

Stay tuned for future guest posts as my daughter and I rediscover my childhood library!

PS  Fun Fact?  You might recognize Fujikawa's work when you begin to unwrap an Eskimo Pie, as the company was one of her commercial clients. 


So, I ask you: What books from your childhood are you enjoying all over again with your own baby bookworm?

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