We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
Yayoi Kusama: From Here To Infinity
Written by Sarah Suzuki Illustrated by Ellen Weinstein
Published by Puffin (2018)
ISBN: 0241346878 (ISBN13: 9780241346877)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I did not know about Yayoi Kusama until Fats shared this same picturebook a year ago, for our Breathing Beauty, Tasting Art reading theme along with some photos of Kusama’s exhibition in Ohio, where Fats is based. I was intrigued by the concept of dots stretching out to infinity as part of one’s art, that I immediately borrowed this book from the library the minute that I saw it was available.
Since our current theme has to do with reinvention, I would like to zero in on the fact that Kusama – prior to being the visionary, hip, funky artist that she is now known to be – was a quiet country girl who spent her days dreaming beyond what she can see.
Yayoi’s mother wanted her to stay home and learn old-fashioned manners – how to dress elegantly, walk demurely, eat politely – and find a proper husband…
… She wanted to go where she could live without rules.
In the Author’s Note, it says that Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Japan in 1929. How things were different back then. Her persistence and irrepressible spirit were more than enough to transcend family and societal expectations. I liked reading how this country girl traveled in her very first airplane trip from Japan to the United States with only four other passengers when she was twenty-eight years old. The expansiveness of New York must have mirrored the infinity in Yayoi’s soul stretching beyond the universe.
This is a beautifully designed picturebook biography that pays tribute to this woman who was able to capture forever through her mirrored dots, and quiet certitude that we are, all of us, “one dot among millions of others.”
#WomenReadWomen2019: Sarah Suzuki and Ellen Weinstein are from the United States of America.