As a parent of a Hapa kid, I’ve found a representation desert…even more than I thought I would, I think.
Kids in Chinese books don’t look like ÀiShī. Kids in American books don’t look like ÀiShī.
There’s an embarrassing lack of books with children of multiracial families. And the few books there are, the multiracial family seems to be the plot of the book.
My husband and I were (and are) looking for books with a kid who looks just like ÀiShī, doing something freakin awesome.
White males (and, for the most part, White females) can find books and movies about someone like themselves. Many other races find characters with stories like their own, even though they often have less choice than they should. But where are the Hapa books, folks? Where are those Hapa hero/heroine movies??
My husband and I have gone to an extreme (and bitten off a little more than we can chew, maybe), and started writing a book for ÀiShī. The main character is a kid who looks just like her. Her sidekick is a Lion Dance lion. She gets into little situations that ÀiShī gets into.
I’m excited to give ÀiShī this book, but I’m also sad that we found such a paltry selection of mixed-race characters that we felt it necessary to create something.
Friends who have found some awesome Hapa books, please share below! I’m always looking to beef up ÀiShī’s book selection.
*I can’t say often enough that I have not had the experiences of a POC or a mixed-race child. What I do know is that lack of representation in literature, advertisements, and in media, has been proven in multiple studies to cause a decrease in self-esteem. (A good one to check out is the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.)*