Take What You Can Carry

Take What You Can Carry
By Kevin C. Pyle

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(6 customer reviews)

Product Description

In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle runs wild with his friends and learns to shoplift from the local convenience store. In 1941 Berkeley, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, and their teenage son must decide how to deal with his new life. But though these boys are growing up in wildly different places and times, their lives intersect in more ways than one, as they discover compassion, learn loyalty, and find renewal in the most surprising of places.

Kevin C. Pyle's evocative images bring to life a story of unlikely ties across space and generations.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #96897 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-03-13
  • Released on: 2012-03-13
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.96" h x .52" w x 6.35" l, .85 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 176 pages

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-In 1978, Kyle, a rebellious kid in a new town, gets in over his head trying to impress his friends by shoplifting. Decades earlier, young Ken Himitsu is angry about being incarcerated in Manzanar, an internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were forced to relocate during World War II. The two plots intertwine in a surprising way as the boys experience parallel feelings of frustration in coping with unwanted circumstances, and both ultimately gain wisdom from an elder. Pyle's expressive artwork draws a visual distinction between the stories: the 1978 sections are illustrated with solid lines and shades of blue, while the World War II story line is rendered in sepia tones and soft brushstrokes, evocative of vintage photographs and Japanese ink wash paintings. Though Ken's story, told only in images, presents a well-researched picture of life in Manzanar, wordless storytelling might not be the ideal way to introduce this complex topic. An excellent historical note at the end of the book provides necessary context, but readers unfamiliar with the period are unlikely to have the patience to stick with a story they don't understand. Still, even if the specifics elude some teens, the essential emotions shine through. This graphic novel makes a powerful statement about respect, gratitude, and forgiveness. Readers may be compelled to learn more about the events that inspired the story, making it a good companion for nonfiction works such as Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's Farewell to Manzanar (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) or Heather C. Lindquist's Children of Manzanar (Heyday Bks., 2012).-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


“. . . speaks [to the] metaphorical journey of forgiveness and redemption.” ―Horn Book

“...offers an expressive view of the past that is both nostalgic and harshly realistic.” ―Booklist

“Pyle has created a quiet, contemplative, and effective glimpse into two distant in time yet similar lives.” ―Publishers Weekly

“With this graphic novel, Kevin Pyle has eloquently mapped out the line between youth and adulthood. He captures pivotal moments of transformation through pitch-perfect dialogue and surprising graphic inventions. Blindspot is everything that is great and unique about this art form.” ―Peter Kuper, author/artist of Sticks and Stones on Blindspot

“This perfectly captures a shining moment of boyhood . . .” ―Booklist on Blindspot

“Pyle uses the graphic novel format to powerful effect. . . . This is a very smart and humane graphic novel that. . .resonates with a broad emotional range.” ―Publishers Weekly on Blindspot

“The actions of these characters will make thoughtful readers reexamine their ideas about friendship, loyalty, and heroism.” ―School Library Journal on Katman

“Inventive . . . an entertaining humanist parable.” ―Booklist on Katman

About the Author

Kevin C. Pyle is the author and illustrator of Blindspot and Katman, and his work has appeared in the Village Voice, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. He lives in New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
1I have decided I do notebooks graphic novels.
By Amazon Customer
I have decided I do notebooks graphic novels. There were complicated themes and messages that were difficult to decipher

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
3Take What You Can Carry
By Live Outside
What were we comparing here; I had to wonder as I read this graphic novel. It wasn’t until the final pages did I finally see the connection as these two stories were running simultaneously throughout the novel. I was grasping for how they could be related, how a story from an internment camp in 1942 could be linked to the Chicago suburbs of 1978. How a boy who seemed to be taking in his surrounding so quietly, trying to survive and make the best of his situation could be compared to two punk-ass kids causing trouble just for the thrill of it, just pushing the limits until the day they would finally get caught. When the stories finally showed the connection that they held, I hoped in the end that Kyle understood the true impact of Ken, the shopkeeper’s story; for I felt that his story had importance and strength if only Kyle was listening.

I came upon this novel while volunteering at the library. I have chosen to straighten up the children’s graphic novel section as one of my responsibilities at the library and this cover grabbed my eye. Reading the synopsis on the back: history and current events, it sounded like a winner to me. The story inside is told in two different shades. The story of Ken, the shopkeeper, his past is told in brown and white tones and the story of the two teens, their tale is portrayed in baby blue and white hues. I thought this was interesting and added to the effect of the novel. There isn’t much printed text to read especially in Ken’s portion of the story. I especially liked the author’s Historical Notes that we included in the back of the novel. These were very informative and helped to explain what was occurring in Ken’s portion of the novel. I understand the moral of this novel but I feel that the stories portrayed here were so different and to pull together, didn’t work for me. I can’t elaborate any further for I feel that to do so might spoil the novel but I feel to me, it had to do with how the stories were connected. I did enjoy the author’s work and I would like to read more of his offerings.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
4You May Carry It A Long Time
By John M. Burt
There are many ironies bundled into the title of this story:

In 1942, a native-born American teenager from a middle-class family {who happens to be of Japanese descent) is commanded to report to a concentration camp, taking only what he can carry.

At the camp, the boy learns to steal things which are not available any other way, such as fresh fruit and meat, small luxuries like radios, scrap wood which his elders can build into furniture or carve into decorative objects.

In 1978, a native-born American teenager from a middle-class family is bored, and begins shoplifting from a small store to amuse himself. Of necessity, he takes only what he can carry, although he and his friends get pretty good at stealing larger and larger quantities.

Eventually the first boy, now the middle-aged owner of the corner store, catches the second boy, and arranges to have the shoplifter work for him rather than go to jail.

Both carry away from the time they spend together lessons which are far subtler than "Don't steal" or "Hard work has its rewards" or even "Forgiveness uplifts both parties". They also carry away the memory of having done things they are not proud of, but which weigh on them less for their each having performed an act of atonement.

The author makes good use of a spare and nuanced style in both pictures and text which ties both stories together, allowing the reader to carry away the memory of an enjoyable experience and possibly some questions to ponder which may be carried a long way.

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