This past summer, we were honored that Pragmaticmom.com asked us to guest blog for the site about the Top 10 best Asian-American books for kids. You would think this was an easy task, but it wasn't. First, sis and I couldn't agree on the list. Then we got side tracked into wanting to read those favorite books again. So it took a while, but we think it is a good blog.
We wrote about some of our favorites: Dance, Dance, Amy Chan, by Lucy Ozone Hawkinson, Lon Po Po, by Ed Young Crow Boy, by TaroYashima, Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear, by Lensey Namioka, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee, American Born Chinese,
by Gene Yang, and a few others. A couple of them were featured in our other blogs. For example, Dance, Dance, Amy Chan was mentioned in a blog we wrote about the Obon Festival, and American Born Chinese was featured in a blog we wrote about Legend of Korra and Comic Books by Gene Yang.
Finally, since I'm in high school, there are a few other books by Asian writers that I enjoyed, but they probably don't belong on a list of books for kids and were eliminated from the final list for Pragmaticmom.com. Here they are:
1. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese/British Man Book Prize award winner of 1988 for his other book, The Remains of the Day. This is a haunting book about a society where human clones are raised and bred for their body parts and trained to accept their fate. Told from the quiet point of view of a clone, at first we think of her as a normal young woman, until the novel slowly reveals the devastating world that is her reality, an the truth that is her destiny. The book's scenario is science fiction, yet one can imagine that with all our modern day scientific advancements, it could become real. The book was made into a movie this year starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly, and Andrew Garfield.
2. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. This book is about four Chinese immigrant women who play mah jong together regularly, and about their now grown up daughters. The daughters narrate portions of the book about their upbringing as Asian Americans, conflicts about their self identities, feelings of inferiority, and heritage. The mothers narrate portions of the book about their lives in China, political turmoil, and what they lost and gained in leaving China and coming to America. Ultimately, the rich portrayal of these women's past and present, and their embracing of their lives and heritage is quite satisfying. This book was also made into a move directed by Wayne Wang, who also directed the movie of another one of our favorite books Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.
3. The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever, by Dave Yoo. This autobiographical novel about a Korean American guy growing up in a white neighborhood and trying hard to hide his Asian-ness is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The main character's pathological tendency to lie about himself is painfully and cringe-inducingly familiar to me. His decision to finally be truthful about who and what he is comes as a relief and revelation. For an Asian American teen, who is constantly struggling with the model minority standard, (check out my blog www.belowtheasianstandards.xanga.com) this book is very insightful.
Also, check out Asian/Australian Shaun Tan's Tales From Outer Suburbia, a collection of short stories are are incredibly and beautifully illustrated by himself. We especially like the illustrated stamps of imaginary places in the Chapter Contents page. Reminds us of an incredible artist, Donald Evans. Donald Evan's World of Stamps.
are plenty of other cool posts and information about books on the
pragmaticmom site too. Check it out. We got good ideas from the site about what books
we'd like to read in the future.