I'm at the Texas Library Association and for the first time in what feels like forever, I reunited with my Hi-YAH! sisters, Justina Chen and Janet Wong:
|Justina Chen, me and Janet Wong|
I call them my Hi-YAH! sisters because a million years ago (in 2006) the three of went on what we called the Hi-YAH! tour; a nationwide tour to bring attention to Asian YA and Children's Literature in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month:
|the three of us in 2006|
During that tour we talked about the lack of diversity in children's literature, the problems books with minority characters had breaking the stereotype of being niche and unmarketable and how to make readers see that multicultural literature was literature for everyone.
Well, it's been eight years since we that tour and, ironically, we're still having the same conversation, over and over again.
It's tempting to think that nothing has changed, but they have. Not huge, big steps but there have been steps. I know I have been going on and on about the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon play and the other performances of my book that have and will occur, but, honestly, it isn't solely about me. Eight years ago, perhaps a theater wouldn't have taken a chance with such an "ethnic" play. But now places like Wheelock are producing it and I truly want it to be a success. Because if it does really well it's another step that shows that a story like Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, an "Asian, multicultural, ethnic story," is a story everyone can enjoy.
And would be a great way to continue an eight year conversation.