An interesting thing happened over the past two years. And it’s an occurrence our Taiwanese American community hasn’t seen before. Since 2005, five emerging Taiwanese American authors have garnered attention in many facets of the literary mainstream with their wonderfully reviewed books!
The writers creatively use diverse narrative structures, from fictional short stories to first-person accounts, and target a wide range of audiences, from children and young adults to a general adult literary audience. Interestingly, one thing arguably unifies them: their voices reflect with varying degree their personal experiences as 2nd generation Taiwanese Americans.
Support the works of writers in our community. Consider buying one of their books for yourself or for friends and family. Another idea? Buy several books and donate them to your local library! It’s been an amazing year for Taiwanese Americans in the world of literature, and this is a great way of telling their publishers that we want more texts to reflect Asian America!
Below, we share brief synopses of the books by these five breakout stars:
Pauline Chen’s Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality
Justina Chen Headley’s Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies)
Brenda Lin’s Wealth Ribbon: Taiwan Bound, America Bound
When Lin was a girl, she loved the Betsy books by Carolyn Hayward, a series about a quintessentially American girl whose days centered around friends and school. But Lin, a child of Taiwanese immigrants, didn’t see herself in the pages. Now she has written the book she wished she had as a child. Told in a simple, direct voice, her story follows young Grace through the Year of the Dog, one that Grace hopes will prove lucky for her. And what a year it is! Grace meets a new friend, another Asian girl, and together they enter a science fair, share a crush on the same boy, and enjoy special aspects (food!) of their heritage. Grace even wins fourth place in a national book-writing contest and finds her true purpose in life. Lin, who is known for her picture books, dots the text with charming ink drawings, some priceless, such as one picturing Grace dressed as a munchkin. Most of the chapters are bolstered by anecdotes from Grace’s parents, which connect Grace (and the reader) to her Taiwanese heritage. Lin does a remarkable job capturing the soul and the spirit of books like those of Hayward or Maud Hart Lovelace, reimagining them through the lens of her own story, and transforming their special qualities into something new for today’s young readers. – From Booklist – More info at GraceLin.com
Charles Yu’s Third Class Superhero
Did you make it this far? If so, you’ve been rewarded with the opportunity to win an autographed copy of Charles Yu’s book, Third Class Superhero. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “superhero”, and I’ll drop the entries into a bucket, pick one randomly on April 30, and send it to you courtesy of TaiwaneseAmerican.org!
*EDIT* Congratulations Alice H. of Berkeley, CA and Reynalyn C. of San Diego, CA, our two winners of the book drawing!