spotlight: author/illustrator allen say

“Most people seem to be interested in turning their dreams into reality. Then there are those who turn reality into dreams. I belong to the latter group.” ~ Allen Say

Open any one of Allen Say’s picture books, and chances are good you will see lots of windows and doors.

Some of these are the wood and paper shoji doors found in Japan, while others are flat panel doors or double-hung windows commonly found in homes across America.


For Say, these may be portals to a dream state, concrete symbols of conflict and exclusion, or simply the way an outsider views the world — looking at the lighted windows in a cozy home and wishing he belonged inside, or sitting inside viewing the rest of the world through panes of glass.

I’ve been a big Allen Say fan since the late 80’s, traveling back and forth between Japan and America with him via his books, keenly identifying with his dilemma of a dual identity, walking the tightrope between cultures.

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