Lisa Yee: Ethnic Diversity in Literature...
During the SCBWI conference, I got a copy of Lisa Yee's Millicent Min, Girl Genius, but I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. If the book is as enjoyable and funny as Lisa's conference speech, I can't wait to start it! (Here's a sample chapter if you're curious.)
Here are a few tidbits from Lisa Yee's talk:
- "I'm Chinese, but I just became Chinese recently."She considers herself typically American.
- She said when she was young and read children's books, she didn't think about the under-representation of Asians in children's literature--she worried about whether or not she was going to get taller.
- Her first book was plucked out of the slush pile by Arthur Levine.
- She was shocked when she got a copy of Millicent Min and there was an Asian girl on the cover--she'd never seen a contemporary novel with an Asian on the cover.
- A Hollywood producer contacted her and asked about using her book as the basis of a series, but he wanted to make Millicent white. (She said no.)
- Race and nationality shouldn't limit what you write any more than it should dictate what you read. But you have to get it right--it must ring true.