It’s Asian American Heritage Week. Last fall, I received a copy of Shining Star, the Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo.
Quick. What are some terrific books about discrimination? Did you think immediately about one with Asian Americans? If not, be sure to add Yoo’s book to the consideration list.
As child, Anna May Wong, re-acted movie scenes as well as created ones from her imaginiation. This helped her get through the day as she worked in her family’s laundry in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. Much to the consternation of her parents, she pursued her acting career in the 1930’s. There she discovered that most roles depicted Asian Americans in demeaning and steroeotypical ways. The books tells about Lon Chaney’s face getting “yellowface” make-up and the using of tape to make his eyes even more slanted.
Wong became a champion of better roles for herself and others. She is know as the first Chinese American movie star. This book does a terrific job sharing her story of determination and dedication to makes life better. Lin Wang’s acrylic and watercolor illustratrations complement the text. Yoo has included an author’s note.
Nonfiction Monday is at Bookends. Head over there to see what else awaits you.