“Raising the Next Generation” aims to feature and connect stories of Taiwanese American parenthood, caretaking, and community-building across generations. We want to hear from our community on the unique challenges they navigate, the resources and tools they can share with each other, and the triumphs they want to celebrate with us all.
I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) of California, and was blessed to have spent summers in Taiwan visiting my grandparents. The Taiwanese community of SGV was flourishing in the 1980s and ‘90s. We had the unique privilege of being exposed to delicious Taiwanese food, having access to Chinese pop music, and being immersed in the language and culture of Taiwanese (American) people. I bought Jacky Cheung 張學友or A-Mei 張惠妹 CDs from Chinese bookstores. It’s through Chinese pop songs that I learned a lot of my Mandarin Chinese. When I visited Taiwan, I noticed the other diners at restaurants and food stalls who would sharpen their disposable wooden chopsticks to remove the splinters were also Taiwanese Americans. It was an idiosyncrasy that I would use to distinguish Taiwanese Americans but now I think the local Taiwanese do this, too. This is just a small example of how we all influence one another as our global connections increase.
Now here in SGV, when I hear elders talking in Taiwanese, whether in church or the supermarket, I just want to be near them and absorb the language and their essence. It takes me across space and back in time to Taiwan with my late beloved grandparents. Taiwanese is my first language and it reminds me of home.
Q: What resources, if any, have you found helpful for navigating Taiwanese American or Asian American parenthood?
As I was dreaming about writing my first bilingual children’s book, I found Katrina Liu– author of many children’s books including I Love Boba. She coached me and provided me with invaluable resources in the children book industry. I started meeting wonderful moms who are creating resources for children to learn Chinese and raise them to be global citizens who are kind and respectful.
Here’s the info for Katrina Liu and other creative Taiwanese American moms who I recommend following:
Katrina Liu (IG: @minalearnschinese) is a children’s book author who wrote many bilingual kids books and is a book coach. She coached me and now I’m a published author of a bilingual English/Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin kids’ easy chapter book! Her website is https://lycheepress.com
Jeanne (IG: @mamababymandarin) and Sunny (IG: @spotofsunshinechinese) are both Taiwanese American creative moms who offer great content for raising bilingual, multicultural children.
Mr. and Mrs. Books (IG: @mandmbooks) curates Chinese children’s books many with Zhuyin in a subscription delivered directly to your home. Their website is https://www.mrandmrsbooks.com
Music & Tales (IG: @musicandtales) creates multilingual resources for families, teachers and therapists. The founder, who is a music therapist, Isabelle Engler, and I held a book event (hosted by @talkinganimalsbooks) where we shared bilingual stories and music. It was wonderful to be with Isabelle who has a like-minded mission to empower families through music and stories.
Q: What are you looking for in a Taiwanese American parenting or family community?
It would be great to have in-person events with other Taiwanese American across generations young and old. I’d love to gather in a place where we can all practice speaking in Mandarin Chinese or Taiwanese, and discuss our cultural similarities and differences without any judgment. I long for a community that appreciates our own culture but also seeks understanding across cultures and generations. Events can be centered around stories or music, or playing fun games or activities. Of course, delicious Taiwanese food and boba has to be in the picture!
Q: How can our community connect with you?
Through Taosheng (IG: @taosheng_book)， I’m a published author of a bilingual English and Traditional Chinese kids’ early chapter book entitled 【AhMa Loves You! 阿媽愛你!】. The Chinese comes with Zhuyin fuhao. I’ve never found a bilingual chapter book that contains the phonetic Zhuyin or Pinyin, so I decided to create one. I wanted to share a story about how multigenerational love can be expressed differently in each person. My book contains heartfelt full page and spot illustrations by the talented Eunice Chen (IG: @eunicesketches).
To find and order your copy of 【AhMa Loves You! 阿媽愛你!】visit Christina’s website of stockists: https://www.authorchristinawu.com/post/how-to-order-my-book-~-ahma-loves-you-1
Please connect with me!
Christina C. Wu 張玉蒓
Facebook page: Christina C. Wu
If you would like to be featured in the “Raising the Next Generation” series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Next Gen Parenting.”