Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I'm early. I'm just eager. I was reminded of the month-to-come by Susan at Color Online, who's chosen an interactive way to honor Asian heritage peeps this month. She's asking you to:
1) List favorite Asian, South Asian or Asian American writers and their works.
2) Share a little history or geography about a particular country.
3) Be creative. Share a quote, passage from a work or write a brief bio sketch of a favorite writer.
4) How about writing about nonfiction? A cookbook- include a recipe. A history book or memoir.
5) Don't know much about Asian writers? Explore and then report on what you discovered.
6) If you are familiar with writers, please share a few recommendations. Please cite country/ethnicity. Asia is a lot of ground to cover.
If you're willing to participate, please create a post on your blog and leave a link at ColorOnline with Mr. Linky, and make sure you check out other people's posts and leave comments.
I'm excited because for once, I'm at the forefront of a movement, instead of laggin'! And it's not even May, but I'm going to throw down my Asian Pacific American Heritage knowledge, scanty as it might be. Here I go with my list of authors and my recommendations to you:
1. Favorite Asian, South Asian or Asian American writers and their works:
* Maxine Hong Kingston, Chinese-American Woman Warrior
* Amy Tan, Chinese-American, Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, and others,
* Jhumpa Lahiri, Bengali American, The Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies,
* Merlinda Bobis, Filipino, The Kissing,
* Kao Kalia Yang, Hmong/Laotian The Latehomecomer.
* An Na, Korean-American, A Step from Heaven, Wait for Me,
* Marie G. Lee, Korean-American If It Hadn't Been for Yoon Jun, Finding My Voice, Saying Goodbye, Necessary Roughness
* Yoshiko Uchida, Japanese-American Journey to Topaz, Picture Bride, Jar of Dreams, etc.
* Lawrence Yep, Chinese-American Dragonwings, Child of the Owl, The Star Fisher, Dragon War, Dragon Kate and many, many, MANY more...
* Justina Chen-Headley, Taiwanese-American, Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), Girl Overboard, North of Beautiful,
* Mitali Perkins, Bengali-American, The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen, Monsoon Summer, Rickshaw Girl, First Daughter I&II, Secret Keeper
* Tanuja Desai Hidier, South Asian-American, Born Confused,
* Cynthia Kadohata, Japanese-American Kira-Kira
* Lensey Namioka, Chinese-American, Half and Half
* Derek Kirk Kim, Korean-American, Good as Lily
* Gene Luen Yang, Chinese-American, American Born Chinese,
Whew! And there are probably some I've forgotten, but these are the authors whose books I've read that I can think of off the top of my head.
2. A little history or geography: My historical links to an Asian country come from my interest in my sister and in a handful of students I had when I taught for the State of California's juvenile system. I've learned all I can about Laos and Hmong people -- which isn't much, sadly. The most succinct knowledge I have is from The Latehomecomer (which is nonfiction, taking care of #4), which tells about the CIA's bad deal with the people of that country, and how, when the Vietnam war was declared... over-ish, and the Americans left, the Laotians had to bear the brunt of the anger from the Vietcong. It decimated a people, and brought many of them stumbling to America, some to succeed, some to fail.
3. Be creative: My creative bit of information about an Asian American is about Tanuja Desai Hidier, whose book was a serious hit. I expected -- tons more books, tons of interviews - for her to really rock the whole Indian-American Spotlight thing. Nope. She retired after one book, to become lead vocalist in a London rock band. Seriously. The only reason she even pitched her book was a mix-up; she was going to Scholastic to interview for a copy-editing job; the editor thought she was there to discuss a book pitch. Ms. Hidier was fast enough to get a foot in the door and shove it open when opportunity knocked, and she got better than a copy editing job!
4. Asian-American Nonfiction Picks: I already hit nonfiction, but I have to also give props to my very favorite, seriously best-food-ever Asian cookbook in the world -- Mai Pham's The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking. This book has childhood reminiscences in it, as well as pictures -- the recipes are awesome, but almost incidental (almost, I said -- not quite, the food is darned good), after her story is told in these pages. She owns a restaurant in Sacramento, and let me tell you: Yum.
Looking back over this, I actually read a few Asian and Asian American authors and I kind of feel good about that. To the Asians, South Asians, and Pacific American peoples in the blogosphere - happy month. To ColorOnline, thanks for the challenge. To the rest of you, check your knowledge -- this is a good exercise to help you expand your reading and knowledge of quality multicultural literature.