Asian Americans have long had a presence in northern California. San Francisco has well-established communities of both Chinese and Japanese immigrants, not to mention those that have made their way from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, and other Asian parts of the world. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, Asian Americans are now the United States fastest growing racial group. Guess which state has the largest population of Asian Americans? Yep; it’s California with 5.6 million Asian Americans calling the state home.
Libraries and bookstores are filled with books written for children by Asian Americans. Authors like Allen Say (who went to the University of Berkeley),Yoshiko Uchida, Jiang Hong Chen, Laurence Yep, T. V. Padma, Manjula Padmanabhan, and more have all made long-lasting contributions to children’s literature. Are any of your favorites on the list?
Yoshiko Uchida – author of titles such as The Bracelet, A Jar of Dreams, The Magic Purse and The Dancing Kettle
Allen Say – has written and illustrated several picture books including Grandfather’s Journey (a Caldecott Medal winner), Tree of Cranes, and Drawing From Memory
T. V. Padma – author of Mathematwist: Number Tales From Around the World, Farida the Fish, and Prakash the Peacock
Jiang Hong Chen – writer and illustrator of Mao and Me, Lian, and Little Eagle
Laurence Yep – Pacific Grove resident and winner of the Newbery Honor twice for Dragonwings and Dragon’s Gate. Also the co-author of The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island.
Manjula Padmanabhan – author and illustrator of Mouse Attack, Where’s That Cat, and I Am Different! Can You Find Me?
Yumi Heo – author/illustrator of The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale, The Not-So Itsty Bitsy Spider, and Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story
Grace Lin – author of books for young readers and tweens and Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, as well as Dim Sum for Everyone and The Year of the Rat
Mitali Perkins – young adult fiction author of titles like Bamboo People, Rickshaw Girl, and Monsoon Summer
This is just a small sampling of the work that has been contributed to the world of children’s literature by Asian American authors. If you know of other authors and would like to share their names or book titles, feel free to do so in the comments section.