The Favorite Daughter

A father helps his daughter find pride and inspiration in this masterful picture book.Yuriko hates her name when the children make fun of it and call her “Eureka!” Though she is half Japanese, the teasing makes her want to hide, to retreat even from the art projects she used to love. Fortunately she has a patient, kind father who finds gentle ways of drawing her out and reminding Yuriko of the traditions they share that have always brought her joy: walks in lovely Golden Gate Park, lunch at their favorite sushi restaurant, watching the fog blow in off the bay. It’s enough… it’s more than enough to face down her challenges with confidence.From the incomparable Allen Say comes another moving story taken from his personal experience and translated to the universal. This tale, dedicated with love to Say’s daughter, is one for all parents who want their children to feel pride in their heritage, and to know their own greatest sources of strength and inspiration.THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER will be a favorite for years to come.

One thought on “The Favorite Daughter

  1. Marilyn Carpenter & Holly Johnson says:

    I read The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say through the lens of the other books we have been reading for this month, Marilyn. This is a picture book about Say’s blonde daughter who is named Yuriko, who feels alienated in her elementary classroom because she does not fit the stereotypical image of either the “blonde American” nor the “dark haired Japanese.” Falling in-between, is a great vantage point in which to see the world, to be “both/and” or, “dual” (as I read in one of the six-word stories of the project called “The Race Card.” To be “both/and” or, “dual” is often a place where young people are uncomfortable. I think there is an adage that says being yourself is the last thing you want to do as a young person. And Yuriko is entirely herself, but does not understand that until her father helps her see her uniqueness as a gift. It is a lovely book, which should probably be read AND DISCUSSED in classrooms across the country. It makes a great connection to the other books we have read for this month, where life is different, very different from the typical. What do you think?
    The Favorite Daughter appealed to me on several different levels. First, is the one you described, how Yuriko comes to understand her uniqueness is a gift. She achieves that understanding through her Father’s gentle guidance. He provides the experiences that allow Yuriko to gain that new insight.
    Second, the book appeals to me because it is a great book to not only read and discuss in the classroom it is also a great choice for parents to read-aloud with their children. There are so many familiar incidents in the story that will inspire family discussions. For example, my own children have also come home fussing about an art assignment they have to complete. They have almost said the same words in Yuriko’s complaint, “Art isn’t fun anymore. It’s all projects now. Teachers tell us what to do.” In trying to support my children in completing such an assignment I have struggled to find the inspiration that would spark their creativity. This story is a wonderful example of how a parent can create experiences that inspires the child to see the assignment in a new way. That’s a wonderful benefit to reading aloud to your children – good books will also be enjoyable to the parent.
    Finally, there is a third aspect that I appreciate about this book. It is another autobiographical book by Say that gives the reader a fuller understanding of his life. Two of the other titles are: Grandfather’s Journey and Drawing from Memory.
    And when thinking about this book in conjunction with the others this month, Favorite Daughter also brings to mind the love that parents have for their children and how that connection remains even when it can become distant for a time, or feel alien when young people are learning to stretch their wings, or the world becomes a hard place to be a family. It is a lovely book to end our discussions for this month. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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