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Chronicle Books

The Snail

$19

Award-winning illustrator Emily Hughes offers a luminous picture book about the life of renowned Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi.

Isamu Noguchi is one of the most important sculptors of all time. His Akari lamps changed the way modern buildings light their space. But before he was important, he was a kid. This is his story.

Noguchi was a Japanese American artist who gave the world light. The world, however, was not always so giving in return. Growing up mixed-race, born in the United States but raised in Japan, Noguchi found himself perceived as an outsider who did not belong in either country. Unable to identify fully as either Japanese or American, he conceived of himself as a snail, capable of retreating into his creative shell when the world did not embrace him. Through his art, the Snail could shape, hold, and create light—to conquer the darkness without.

Poetic and searing, heart-wrenching and exquisite, Emily Hughes's paean to creativity explores emotions ravaged by a history of Japanese incarceration, the effects of personal isolation, and the power of art to heal those wounds.