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