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About The Book

Get to know Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist known for her extensive use of polka dots and for her infinity installations, in this fascinating nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a series of biographies about people “you should meet!”

Meet Yayoi Kusama. When Yayoi Kusama was a little girl, she told her parents she wanted to be an artist. Her parents forbade her and tore up her drawings. But that didn’t stop her. When she couldn’t afford art supplies, she used old paper sacks and mud to create her art. Eventually, she convinced her parents to let her go to art school and study painting. In 2006, she became the first Japanese woman to receive the Praemium Imperiale. It is one of the highest honors given by the Japanese imperial family. Ten years later, she received the Order of Culture, another prestigious award given to people who make important contributions to Japanese culture. Today, she is one of the most famous artists in the world.

About The Author

May Nakamura writes and edits books for children. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area but now lives in New York City. She really likes eating maple donuts and playing hide and seek (but not at the same time)!

About The Illustrator

Alexandra S. Badiu is a Romanian children’s book illustrator and visual developer for animation. She participated in collaborative projects with the Harlem Globetrotters, Adult Swim, Hallmark Cards, and Kwippit app as a student. Her love of animation and books drove her decision to becoming a children’s book illustrator. Creating visual worlds and the ability to share it with children is her ultimate passion. Alexandra enjoys illustrating nature, fantasy, and science stories for children. She works digitally but practices and sketches traditionally to keep the natural aspect of her brush strokes intact. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon Spotlight (August 31, 2021)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534495661
  • Grades: 1 - 3
  • Ages: 6 - 8
  • Lexile ® 870L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

PreS-Gr 2–Emerging readers are introduced to world-renowned Japanese pop artist Kusama, who creates in a variety of media—painting, writing, sculpting, film, and even fashion design. Kusama’s work typically includes repetitive patterns inspired by hallucinations the artist began experiencing during childhood. Her family-owned land was ripe with flowers and vegetables in Japan prior to World War II, which inspired her to spend hours outside drawing. When the war began, Kusama was required by the government to work in a parachute factory, despite being only 10 years old. She never lost sight of her dream to live and work as a professional artist, even with her mother’s disapproval. The artist made plans to study art in Kyoto after the war. Kusama moved to the United States in the 1950s and experienced success as an artist, inspiring many of her peers who, in some cases, copied her ideas and took credit for them. Today she enjoys worldwide popularity, critical acclaim, and a celebrity status that allows her art exhibitions to sell out within hours. Back matter consists of short bios on famous female artists and a list of fine arts degrees that will help young people in career awareness and exploration. This fresh offering features artwork inspired by Kusama, with text aimed at newly independent readers. VERDICT An exciting addition to school and public library biography collections.–Samantha Lumetta, P.L. of Cincinnati and Hamilton Cty., OH

– School Library Journal

The Japanese artist, fashion designer, and writer Yayoi Kusama "never stopped follwing her dreams." Readers learn about Kusama's childhood and career, from Japan to New York City and back; the focus is on her creativity and determination in the face of obstacles.This cleanly designed early reader features illustrations bursting with color, many pages featuring Kusama's signature polka dots.

– Horn Book Magazine: Book Bundle: Art Appreciation

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Award Honor Title (CA)

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