Content warning - hate crimes mentioned
In the aftermath of the March 16th shooting in Atlanta where a white gunman killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, celebrated Asian-American author Lisa Ko tweeted, “White supremacy is not going to be dismantled through diverse reading lists.”
She’s absolutely right. Librarians and booksellers from all over the country scrambled to curate impeccable Black Lives Matter reading lists last summer amid the chaos following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and many other Black Americans. And has white supremacy been dismantled? You see my point.
Kelly Yang—an award-winning Chinese-American author—has been teaching young people to stand up against hate for her entire career. In a recent newsletter, she said, “We need stories that uplift, that give hope, that help others SEE US as individuals, that give kids the tools, windows, and mirrors to understand, process, and ultimately create change.”
It is past time for us to be reading books by Asian authors. And while I acknowledge that this is not the solution that will end racism and white supremacy, I do think it’s a necessary, teeny-tiny first step.
Asian staffers of TIME magazine recently put together a wonderful reading list to celebrate Asian authors. While most of the titles are meant for adults, there are a few books for young people in there as well. I replicated the list in Bibliocommons, so you can browse it with ease.
Finally, LPL’s own Youth Services staff put together a list of middle grade books by Asian-American authors, which I’ll include below.
- Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano is a Youth Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library