Archive | June 2013

Why I Write: The Importance of Mirrors in What We Read

According to a report by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, although Latino children make up 25% of all public school children in the United States, only 3% of children’s books are by or about Latinos.  With half of today’s children under 5 years old being non-white and only 8% of children’s books being about people of color, there is a severe disparity.

One Latina mother in this NPR article on “As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White,” said it best when she said, “I think children today are told, ‘You can be anything.’ But if they don’t see themselves in the story, I think, as they get older, they’re going to question, ‘Can I really?’ ”

These statistics and what this mother said are the very reason why I will continue to press forward with finding an agent and a publisher for my tween coming of age novel featuring Southeast Asian American protagonists growing up in a predominantly black urban environment.  Our young people who are underrepresented in children’s books, tween and young adult literature need us!

Check out this video by author Meg Medina who talks about this issue:



African American Teen Girls Take on Avon

Brea, 19, and Halle Holmes, 13, are co-founders of Sweet Dream Girlz, a business specializing in all natural fragrances that they started when they couldn’t find anything on the market for their sensitive skin.  They have also expanded into apparel, sneakers and accessories!  Their parents started them up with $6,000 and in 2011, they earned $25,000 in revenues and in 2012, $42,000.  They seem poised for a breakthrough with news media coverage on yahoo and USA Today.  Their website is here.

Check them out in this video:

Surprising Facts about Asian Americans and Why Data Needs to be Disaggregated

Two reports out in the last week describe the picture of Asian American experiences as diverse and that when data is not disaggregated, groups within the Asian American category are obscured, specifically those of Southeast Asian Americans.  These two images from the iCount: A Data Quality Movement for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Higher Education show how stark the differences are:


Another report called Widening the Lens on Boys and Men of Color published by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy describes other surprising facts including:

  • Racial profiling is a routine part of life for Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander boys.
  • Asian-American, Pacific Islander and AMEMSA youth are the most frequent targets of school bullying. More than half of Asian-American teens are bullied in school. At 54 percent, the rate far exceeds the rates reported by white teens (31 percent), Latino teens (34 percent) and black teens (38 pecent). And yet, youth rarely report the incidents of harassment, fearing retaliation or because they lack the linguistic capability to voice their needs.

Boston Urban Teens Transform Vacant Lots into Community Gardens

Teens from a youth-led environmental justice organization called REEP (Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project) in Boston are taking over vacant lots abandoned for many years and turning them into community gardens!  Check out this video to see what they’re doing.

Now, if you’re inspired by them like I am, consider donating to their crowdrise fundraiser through this link so they can fund future projects and transform the city of Boston: