Gyo Fujikawa

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Gyo Fujikawa
藤川堯[1]
Born November 3, 1908
Berkeley, California, USA
Died November 26, 1998
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation artist, illustrator, writer
Nationality American
Genres Children's literature

Gyo Fujikawa (November 3, 1908– November 26, 1998) was an American illustrator and children's book author. A prolific creator of more than 50 books for children, her work is regularly in reprint and has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7 million copies in the U.S.[2] 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.[3][4][5]

Biography[edit]

Page from Babies, Grosset & Dunlap, 1963.

Gyo Fujikawa was born in Berkeley, California, to Japanese parents, Hikozō and Yūko Fujikawa (藤川幽子).[1] The masculine name, Gyo (pronounced "ghee-o"), is after a Chinese emperor her father admired.

After visiting Japan in 1933, Gyo Fujikawa received a scholarship to attend Chouinard Art Institute and was on the faculty from 1933-39.[6][7] She worked for the Walt Disney Company in California as a promotional artist, before moving to New York in 1941. From 1943-51 she worked for pharmaceutical advertising agency William Douglas McAdams.

In 1951 Fujikawa became a full-time freelancer, producing a dozen front-cover illustrations for Children's Digest and other periodicals, and about five years later was approached by juvenile editor Debra Dorfman at Grosset & Dunlap to illustrate Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses". This was her first published children's book in 1957. Babies, the first book both written and illustrated by Fujikawa in 1963, was also one of the earliest children's books to use multi-racial characters, a consistent feature across her body of work.

Fujikawa's books have been reprinted for mass-market and published worldwide. Her most popular books, Babies, Baby Animals, A to Z Picture Book and Oh!, What A Busy Day!, unfailingly represent a happy, detailed version of childhood. Her joyous illustrations remain sweet and nostalgic, without ever becoming overly saccharine. Her paintings of children are recognizable for round happy faces, rosy cheeks and simple dot eyes. Discussing her respect for her audience, she said:

"In illustrating for children, what I relish most is trying to satisfy the constant question in the back of my mind--will this picture capture a child's imagination? What can I do to enhance it further? Does it help to tell a story? I am far from being successful (whatever that means), but I am ever so grateful to small readers who find 'something' in any book of mine."

Fujikawa died on November 26, 1998, in New York Hospital. Although she had been engaged at the age of 19, she never married.[8]

Other work[edit]

Fujikawa's notable commercial clients included Upjohn Company vitamins, Beech-Nut baby food and Eskimo Pie, creating the round-faced child icon for the ice cream treat. She created six stamps for the United States Post Office, including the 1997 32¢ "yellow rose" self-adhesive stamp and the United States-Japan Treaty ratification centenary stamp of 1960.[8] Fujikawa was a life member of the Society of Illustrators.[9]

Bibliography[edit]

Written and illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa[edit]

  • Babies, 1963
  • Baby Animals, 1963
  • A to Z Picture Book, 1974
  • Let's Eat, 1975
  • Let's Play, 1975
  • Puppies, Pussycats, and Other Friends, 1975
  • Sleepy Time, 1975
  • Oh, What a Busy Day!, 1976
  • Babies of the Wild, 1977
  • Betty Bear's Birthday, 1977
  • Can You Count? New York, 1977
  • Our Best Friends, 1977
  • Millie's Secret, 1978
  • Let's Grow A Garden, 1978
  • My Favorite Thing, 1978
  • Surprise! Surprise!, 1978
  • Come Follow Me to the Secret World of Elves and Fairies and Gnomes and Trolls, 1979
  • Jenny Learns A Lesson, 1980
  • Welcome Is a Wonderful Word, 1980
  • Come Out and Play, 1981
  • Dreamland, 1981
  • Fairyland, 1981
  • Faraway Friends, 1981
  • The Flyaway Kite, 1981
  • Good Morning!, 1981
  • Here I Am, 1981
  • Jenny and Jupie, 1981
  • The Magic Show, 1981
  • Make-Believe, 1981
  • My Animal Friends, 1981
  • One, Two, Three, A Counting Book, 1981
  • Shags Has a Dream, 1981
  • Mother Goose, 1981
  • A Tiny Word Book, 1981
  • Year In, Year Out, 1981
  • Jenny and Jupie to the Rescue, 1982
  • Fraidy Cat, 1982
  • Me Too! New York, 1982
  • Sam's All-Wrong Day, 1982
  • Shags Finds a Kitten, 1983
  • That's Not Fair, 1983
  • Are You My Friend Today?, 1988
  • Sunny Books: Four Favorite Tales, 1989
  • Ten Little Babies, 1989
  • See What I Can Be!, 1990
  • Good Night, Sleep Tight, Shh, 1990

Fariy Tales And Fables"

Illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://1000ya.isis.ne.jp/0292.html
  2. ^ Publishers Weekly URL accessed 23 April 2007.
  3. ^ Gyo Fujikawa, a Children's Illustrator Forging the Way, Dr. Andrea Wyman. Versed, Sept. 2005. URL accessed 21 July 2009.
  4. ^ Penguin Group Diversity. URL accessed 23 April 2007.
  5. ^ Ask Art:Gyo Fujikawa. URL accessed 23 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Gyo Fujikawa." St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th ed. St. James Press, 1999.
  7. ^ CalArts Alumni. URL accessed 23 April 2007.
  8. ^ a b McDowell, Edwin (1998-12-08). "Gyo Fujikawa, 90, Creator of Children's Books". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Deaths: Fujikawa, Gyo". New York Times. 1998-12-10. Retrieved 2009-07-21.