Asians in YA Literature - Petitmas 09

by - 6:45 PM

I missed another day (aka yesterday's post) but I wasn't going to fail my ten day goal that easily so here we are with Petitmas 09. I should probably have planned this post out a lot better instead of just typing things that come to mind, but I guess that makes it a more authentic discussion? 

Image result for to all the boys i loved before book2018 was such a great year in the realm of diversity. There were so many great releases and discussions popping up all over the place that opened the conversation for readers to delve into. Personally, 2018 was the year where I saw Asian representation truly begin to flourish in YA. I'm sure that sentence brings to mind a couple of obvious reasons: The Netflix adaptation of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Crazy Rich Asians (not YA but still), amazing Asian debut authors like Emily X.R. Pan, Gloria Chao, and R.F. Kuang - the list can go on.

Image result for the astonishing color of afterFor an Asian American myself, this was the year where I felt like I was connecting with characters in YA books on more than just experience from reading their stories, but on a cultural level as well. I've never been one to really point out the lack of Asian representation in any forms of media ever so the feeling of familiarity that came with all the amazing representation stated above caught me by surprise.

It wasn't until I actually experienced watching an Asian female protagonist in a widely popular movie adaptation or seeing more Asian faces on movie posters and book covers that I understood what representation felt like. I spoke a bit about this in my 2019 Anticipated Releases where I highlighted all the new Asian inspired fantasy stories that were coming out and how that idea just absolutely blew my mind. 

Image result for crazy rich asiansActually experiencing representation, no matter how small sparked excitement in me that just expanded throughout the year. My personal biggest takeaway from this Asian explosion is an understanding that representation is truly important. Genuine representation is something that connects everyone beyond words and brings a community together of shared experiences. It wasn't just me seeing and reading about Asian characters, it was the thought that others out there can experience a culture that was so dear and familiar to me. 

I would love to hear your thoughts in regards to Asian representation in literature and this is definitely a discussion topic that I'd want to update on as the years go on. How did the various expansions of representation this year connect with you and what do you hope to see more of in YA literature in 2019?

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