Told in haiku-based American Sentences and pictures, Yugen is the story of a boy and his mother, inspired by the profound concept of "yugen," a Japanese word for the mystery and beauty of the universe and of human experience. The second collaboration between Caldecott-winning illustrator Ed Young and Mark Reibstein after their award-winning 2008 debut, Wabi Sabi, Yugen is a book of longing and remembrance that is unequaled in its beauty and poetic simplicity.
About the Author
Mark Reibstein is an English teacher and writer who has lived in New York, California, Hawaii, Japan, and Thailand. While living in Kyoto, he met a cat named Wabi Sabi, and they remained very close friends for ten years. The result was a book written by Reibstein and illustrated by Ed Young, called Wabi Sabi, that has amazed readers everywhere since its publication in 2008, when it was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book.
Ed Young is a renowned illustrator and writer of children's picture books. Born on November 28, 1931, in Tientsin, China, he moved to the US as a young man, where he worked at an advertising agency before illustrating his first book, The Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories by Janice May Urdry, in 1962. Since then he has illustrated over eighty children's books, seventeen of which he has also written. Throughout his long career he has received over fifty awards and honors, including the Caldecott Medal in 1990 for Lon Po Po, his retelling of a Chinese version of "Little Red Riding Hood," and Caldecott Honors for The Emperor and the Kite (1967) and Seven Blind Mice (1992). He has been nominated twice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition given to children's book authors and illustrators for their contribution to children's literature. His books frequently draw on folklore from Chinese, Native American, Indian, Persian, and other cultures, and he uses a variety of media, including pencil, pastel, ink, collage, cut paper, photographs, and found materials. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his two daughters and two cats.
"'Yugen,' as the child narrator of this haunting story is called by his mother, is a Japanese term that means 'subtle and profound.' In their second collaboration, Young and Reibstein (Wabi Sabi) embody that concept through haiku and quiet images that reflect on presence and absence ... The collaborators offer a stirring and graceful expression of love, loss, and quiet longing." —Publishers Weekly
"Text and pictures skillfully combine to portray the emotions of a small boy who is left to wonder if his absent mother will ever return. The Author’s Note defines the Japanese word yugen as 'subtle and profound,' which will be how readers describe their feelings about this second author/illustrator collaboration." —Booklist, starred review
"Step into a dream of a story by the team that created Wabi Sabi (2008). Reibstein and Young reunite in this sophisticated, dreamy, lyrical tribute to maternal love and loss, the eternity of memories, and the power of nature to depict human emotions ... This unconventional picture book offers opportunities to discuss poetic form, Japanese culture and customs, artistic style, and storytelling—making this book perfect for older readers as well. Beauty is ever present in this book, amid loss and mystery." —Kirkus Reviews
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