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The Making of “A Boy Named Isamu”: A Conversation with Illustrator & Author James Yang

June 23, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi.

If you are Isamu, stones are the most special of all.
How can they be so heavy?
Would they float if they had no weight?

Winner of the Theordor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist . . .but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones. Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees.

About the Artists: 

James Yang was born in Oklahoma and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Arts and Design. Within a few years of entering illustration, his work appeared in prestigious trade publications such as Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, Graphis, Print, and The Art Directors Club of New York. James has won over 250 awards for design and illustration including best of show  from 3×3 Magazine. He has taught and lectured at a variety of institutions including SVA, Parsons, FIT, SCAD and was an executive board member for ICON, a biennial illustration conference. His book, Bus! Stop! was selected as an outstanding picture book by The New York Times and the follow up Stop! Bot! is the 2020 Geisel award winner for the most distinguished American book for beginning readers. His latest book, “A Boy Named Isamu” has been called by Kirkus Reviews “A marvel of prose, illustration, and design.” His subway wallpaper can be seen on trains in the Metropolitan Transit system.  James currently lives in Brooklyn where he happily works for a variety of clients and books.

Jim Hoover is an Art Director at Viking Children’s Books. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Illustration, Jim has been in publishing now for over twenty years. He speaks regularly at SCBWI and has designed and art directed hundreds of books ranging from picture books, nonfiction, to middle grade including James Yang’s Geisel Award Winning Stop! Bot, Max Brallier’s New York Times best-selling series The Last Kids On Earth, and Amanda Gorman’s upcoming Change Sings. Jim lives in the Bronx with his wife and son.

Tracy J. Gates has Midwestern roots, a New England childhood, and a Brooklyn mailing address. Armed with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a graduate degree in Journalism, she of course edits children’s books. Her favorite authors and illustrators are always the ones she currently is working with, but over the years she’s been fortunate to create books with Anna Dewdney, Divya Srinivasan, David Covell, Gianna Marino, and many, many wonderful others. Her favorite non-work activities include cycling to the local ice-cream shop and hanging out at the dairy farm down the road from her home.


June 23, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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