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1507-0For the past several years my students and I have been compiling lists of Asian American children’s and YA literature for the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALATalk Story website (specifically, the APA booklist). This year, one of my students went to town and found hundreds of titles. (Our lists may be comparable to what the CCBC compiles – we need to double check).

A quick glance at our updated lists (not yet published to Talk Story) reveal the following:

  1. We could not find a single YA text with a Taiwanese or Laotian protagonist.
  2. White people love writing about Japan.
  3. Hold the folktales – unless you’re Asian. Then keep ’em coming.
  4. Non-adopted people still love writing about adopted Asians.
  5. We get it, we get it. Asian immigrant children struggle to speak English and are fantastic ambassadors of our cultures.
  6. We need a LOT more books with Thai, Mongolian, Malaysian, Burma/Myanmar, Filipino, and Tibetan characters.
  7. We also need a LOT more books set in Asian-inspired fantasy worlds. Let’s thank our lucky stars for Ellen Oh.

This is not an invitation to merely insert an Asian character into your text (see here and here). This is a CALL TO ACTION for Asian American authors and illustrators, and for all agents and editors and publishers and librarians and teachers and parents and caregivers and readers and scholars.

#WeNeedDiverseBooks AND #WeNeedDiverseAuthors
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