It’s no secret that Asians are seriously underrepresented in American pop culture, including children’s media. Growing up as an ABC (American-born Chinese), it didn’t really bother me that, for the most part, the main characters in the children’s (or any) books I read were pretty much everything but Asian. But at the same time, I never really developed a true love of reading the way other kids did, perhaps in part because I never felt that I could fully relate to the main characters.
Once in a while, it would have been nice to read a children’s book in which the main character was Chinese-American, like me, and looked like me. It would have been nice to read a book in which the characters’ experiences mirrored parts of my own life. And it would have been nice if the storylines were about things that I could relate to.
So, I was really excited when I recently found out about the following books written and beautifully illustrated by Grace Lin:
- Bringing in the New Year
- Dim Sum for Everyone!
- Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
The family featured in Lin’s books is a Chinese-American family and the stories focus on a number of different Chinese celebrations, customs, and traditions. How refreshing to see an Asian family featured in children’s literature for a change! I’m also totally in love with the artwork in these books – vibrant colors and really fun designs and details.
In honor of Chinese New Year on January 23rd, we’re putting these books on heavy rotation in our household and will be reading them to CJ everyday from now until the 15th day of the CNY celebration!
Are there other great multicultural children’s books out there that you love?