Top 10 Lists – JadeLuckClub http://jadeluckclub.com Celebrating Asian American Creativity! Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:53:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Top 10: Best Asian American Fashion Designers. Who Will be Next? UPDATED http://jadeluckclub.com/asian-american-fashion-designers-rise-to-the-top-who-are-the-top-8-and-who-will-be-next/ http://jadeluckclub.com/asian-american-fashion-designers-rise-to-the-top-who-are-the-top-8-and-who-will-be-next/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2011 08:31:14 +0000 http://jadeluckclub.com/?p=757

Joseph Altazarra Lily Kwong JadeLuckClub Best Asian American fashion designers

The newest Asian American Fashion Wunderkind is Joseph Altazarra. His ethnicity is a bit under the radar but he’s half French-Basque (father) and half Chinese American (mother). It’s a good looking combination! He studied art history at Swarthmore College then interned for Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Givenchy despite not having a formal fashion education. It helps that he runs with NYC It Girls like his cousin and model Lily Kwong, “Lauren Santo Domingo, the Vogue editor, and Vanessa Traina, who walked in his spring show.” NY Times Blog

Joseph Altuzarra JadeLuckClub Top 10 Asian American Fashion DesignersJoseph Altazarra Lily Kwong JadeLuckClub Best Asian American fashion designers

His clothes are known for Body-Con chic with an edgy twist.

altuzarra collections jadeluckclub asian american fashion designer best up and comingJoseph Altazurra collection Asian American Fashion Designer JadeLuck

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The first eight designers are from the U.S. Embassy site and I added two more favorites. Thank you to my friend Ginny for sending me this link!

“Asian-American designers are a major force in the global fashion industry, as the New York Times recently noted. In this group are Vera Wang, Anna Sui and other established figures, plus relative newcomers such as Jason Wu and Thakoon Panichgul (both of whom are favorites of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama). Each designer has a distinctive aesthetic, reflecting the deep Asian-American talent pool in fashion and other fields. Here, models show off evening wear by Monique Lhuillier, a Filippina-turned-Californian.”

Asian American designers are rocking it. Who will be the next Big Thing? Can you suggest some under-the-radar Asian designers? Let’s discover them together!

 

1. Thakoon Panichgul

Known for gorgeous prints and COLOR, Thakoon is a line that says “happy!”

Thakoon Panichgul JadeLuckClub Top Asian Fashion Designers Best Fall Fashion

2. Monique Lhuillier

Her gowns grace red carpets and A Listers and her bridal collection is sought after by socialites.

Monique Lhuillier JadeLuckClub best asian american fashion designers top designers

3. Jason Wu

Dressing Michelle Obama put him firmly on the fashion map, but his flowy, feminine and flattering creations are what makes his line go supernova. His studded-on-the-bottom handbags are also the newest It Bag.

Jasso Wu Michelle Obama JadeLuckClub best asian american fashion designerMichelle obama jason wu gown inagural ball JadeLuckClub

4. Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is Downtown NY cool. I love his looks but I am not cool enough to pull them off. Working on it!

Alexander Wang top best asian american designer jadeluckclub http://JadeLuckClub.com Celebrating Asian American Creativity

5. Anna Sui

With a funky boho vibe, Anna Sui is pure fun. I bought a dress from her capsule Target collection that gets a lot of compliments. No one can believe I bought it for $4o! Her own line is even nicer.

Anna Sui target lookbook top fashion designer asian american best fashion designer jade luck club

6. Phillip Lim

He started his own company at only age 31 (hence the 3.1) and he’s a runaway wunderkind commercial success. He hits all the right notes, season after season.

Philip Lim top asian american fashion designer jadeluckclub http://JadeLuckClub.com Jade Luck Club

7. Vera Wang

Her dad is a gazillionaire industrialist and her mom is a Tiger Mom. Known for her prodigious work ethic, Vera Wang is a runway and “for the masses” big-time success. Her Tiger Mom should be proud!

Best Asian American Fashion Designer Vera Wang Tiger Mom JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

8. Derek Lam

To me, he’s the Asian Michael Kors known for lux casual. I can’t afford him but I have been coveting his clothes for more than a decade.

derek lam michael kors jadeluckclub top asian american fashion designer

9. Prabal Gurung

He strikes the right balance of flouncy and tailored. If you can’t afford him, he did a nice capsule collection for J. Crew. There is still a little bit left.

Prabal Gurung Best Asian American Fashion Designer JadeLuckClub

10. Doo Ri

She understands drape more than any other designer, except, maybe for Donna Karan who famously failed that class in design school. Her clothes are lux, louche and gorgeous. I want!

Doo Ri top asian american fashion designers jadeluckclub jade luck club

Honorable Mention

Vivienne Tam

She creates very wearable clothes for real women, particularly those in the workforce.

Vivienne Tam Top Best Asian American Fashion Designers JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

Peter Som

 

Peter Som describes his aesthetic as one of “effortless elegance and refined sexiness”, and aspires to provide a fresh perspective to modern American fashion.

Peter Som best Asian American Fashion Designer JadeLuckClub

 

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Top 10: From Harvard to Prison; Crooks, Embezzlers, Murderers and More! UPDATED http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-from-harvard-to-prison-infamous-students-and-alums-invited-to-reunion/ http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-from-harvard-to-prison-infamous-students-and-alums-invited-to-reunion/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2011 08:56:06 +0000 http://jadeluckclub.com/?p=921

Harvard murder suicide student coed co-ed students from harvard to murder jail indicted prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubThere is this story that I love that dates back the philosophy of ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang-Zhu that is retold in one of my favorite picture books, Zen Shorts by Jon Muth. It goes roughly like this, a farmer’s horse escapes and his neighbors say, “Bad luck!” But then the horse returns with a wild horse. “Good luck!”, the neighbors cry out. The farmer’s son tries to tame the horse and breaks his leg. “Bad luck, the neighbors say. But then the army comes through recruiting and skips the boy because of his broken leg. “Good luck!,” they say. And so it goes.

Your child gets into Harvard and it’s a dream come true. Well… not for these parents, particularly of the Vietnamese American girl who was murdered by her psychotic Harvard room mate who went on to kill herself. These folks all distinguish themselves by getting themselves into Harvard and then into jail. This list was harder to pull together than one would think. It’s not like Harvard goes around bragging about its distinguished prison inmate alums!

Honorable Mention

Oded Aboodi, Insider Trading

He didn’t go to jail but “Oded Aboodi agrees to $931,000 penalty in insider trading case. He was an architect of the firm’s 1990 merger.”

Thank you to Karen Bergreen for this one. We are all the same class of ’87.

10. Ester Reed, fraud and identity theft

Ester Reed Harvard student alum convict jail JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club slammer infamous

9. Eugene N. Plotkin, Insider Trading

Insider Trading convict Eugene Plotkin Harvard alum JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

8. Andre Shliefer, International Insider Trading

andrei shleifer harvard educated affiliated criminals jail indicted jadeluckclub jade luckclub

7. Jeffrey K. Skilling, former President of Enron convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron’s financial collapse

Jeffrey Skilling Harvard Crooks Infamous Jail Time Criminals JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club from Harvard to Jail Indicted Prison

6. Adam Wheeler, faked way into Harvard including winning $45,000 in grants, scholarships, financial aid and other funds that he didn’t deserve

Adam Wheeler From Harvard to Jail Prison Faked Way into Harvard Criminal JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Celebrating Asian Americans Diversity Creativity

5. Britney Smith, accessory to murder at Kirkland House ( Harvard Dorm)

Britney Smith accessory to Harvard Kirkland House Murder from Harvard to Jail Prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

4. Alexander Pring-Wilson, involuntary manslaughter for stabbing to death a teenager who made fun of him

Alex Pring Wilson Alexander Pring-Wilson From Harvard to Prison Jail murder JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club Asian American culture blog

3. Jose Luis Razo, multi-tasked baseball team away games with robbing convenience stores

* I actually met Jose when I was at Harvard. My roommate  set up our other roommate with his roommate for a formal dance (confused?) and he came over with two of his friends to meet our roommate. He seemed like a nice guy and he had attended Servite (a Catholic school that was the brother school to the roommate we were setting up). His family later said they gave him spending money. It turns out that being a dark skinned Latino made him uncomfortable at Harvard … it was as if everyone expected him to be a criminal. It was never about the money. Tragic story!

harvard baseball team player bank robber jade luck club Jose Luis Razo

2. Sinedu Tadesse, murdered her Harvard roommate then killed herself

Harvard murder suicide student coed co-ed students from harvard to murder jail indicted prison JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

1. Theodore Kaczynski, Unabomber

Ted Theodore Kacynski Unabomber Unibomber Harvard Graduate Alum Alumni Criminal Killer Murderer JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club from harvard to jail prison indicted

Honorable Mention

Richard Whitney, Embezzler from Great Depression Era

Richard Whitney Harvard to Jail Great Depression Crash JadeLuckClub

And, if they are lucky, they can spend time with fellow Harvard alum, Avi Steinberg,  who is a prison librarian.

Avi Steinberg: From Harvard to Prison Librarian

Avi Steinberg from Harvard to Prison Librarian Jail JadeLuckClub Indicted Criminal Murderer

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Top 10: Best Chinese American Children’s Books (ages 2-14) http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-chinese-american-childrens-books-ages-2-14/ http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-chinese-american-childrens-books-ages-2-14/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2011 08:40:23 +0000 http://jadeluckclub.com/?p=712

best top 10 chinese american children's book literature jadeluckclub jade luck club kids china summer reading for early childhood education preschool kindergarten The Chinese immigrant experience is one with a long history in America resulting in becoming the largest Asian population in America today.  There is a great one-page overview on Chinese immigration that details this history.  Interestingly, this article says that the earliest Chinese immigrants during the 1700’s were well received and became wealthy but attitudes changes negatively during the mid-1800’s when less skilled Chinese “Coolies” came during the gold rush.

As I think about the Chinese immigrant experience — my father immigrated from China to pursue a Ph.d program at U.C.L.A. a few years before the Communist Revolution — my own experience is probably similar to most second generation immigrants in the quest to balance American culture while honoring an Asian past.  Of course, my background is dissimilar to most Chinese immigrant stories as my mother is of Japanese descent and 2nd generation at that.  And did I mention that I married a Korean?

And so each of us carries an immigrant story that is unique.  I chose these books because there was something special about each of them that helps me to connect to my Chinese roots and I hope that you enjoy them to, even if your ancestry isn’t Asian.

For my own children, a “mixed-plate” to quote a Hawaiian term,  they are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Asian.  And at 1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Japanese and 1/2 Korean, they are an unusual mix in that these three countries have traditionally hated each other for centuries.  And so in reading these stories, they may or may not relate to any of these stories, but I hope that it will help them to honor and take pride in their ancestry even if it’s as varied as a patchwork quilt.

Honorable Mention

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Shang [chapter book, ages 9-12]

If there is one chapter book that I would single out as THE seminal Asian American coming of age story, it would be The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. What is unique about this story compared to all others is that the Chinese American family is an assimilated 3rd generation family without the usual Asian stereotyping. It’s not about characters that are super smart geniuses or that play the violin/piano like a child prodigy … these are characters that Asian kids living in suburban communities across the United States can actually relate to. Fitting in while retaining your Asian culture. Living up to high family expectations and standards. Being your own person versus who your parents want  you to be. Good stuff! And it’s so well written that I think it will be up for many, many children’s lit awards. Wendy Shang is the Amy Tan of children’s literature. Try her for yourself!

Historical Tales (A Story of Ancient China) series by Jessica Gunderson

I found these great beginning chapter books at the library.  They are a very interesting and accurate historical fiction series that brings Ancient China to life.  Great if you are also combining any museums of, say, Terracotta Warriors.  The Terracotta Girl would be a perfect fit!  The Jade Dragon is a more general story combining ancient sports (horned helmet wrestling jiao di, rowing and archery) with dragon symbolism.

Fa Mulan by Robert D. San Souci
I always find it interesting to read the picture book a movie is based on.  San Souci retells this legend that comes from a ballad composed around 420-589 A.D.   about the battles found between the Chinese and Tatars (what is now Mongolia and Manchuria).  This retelling shows that the Disney movie is faithful to the ballad with one big exception, Mulan did have permission from her parents to join the army.  Filial piety is pretty important in Asian culture!  [picture book, ages 6-10)

Nim and the War Effort by Milly Lee

Nim wants to win the paper drive but her grandfather won’t let her miss Chinese school.  She has to venture out of Chinatown in order to prove to a Caucasian kid that she’s an American.  [picture book, ages 7-12]

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges

Thank you to reader Kristen Marie for this suggestion!

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage. [picture book, ages 4-8]

 

10. The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

I chose this picture book as much for gorgeous traditional Chinese paintings as for the story which is about the life of painter Han Gan, who lived in China 1,200 ears ago.  The myth is that he is a such a great painter of horses that one of his paintings comes to life.   [picture book, ages 5-8]

9. Beautiful Warrior:  The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu by Emily Arnold McCully

This is a Great Books for Girls by Kathleen Odean selection about a nun who is a master of Kung Fu and helps a village girl avoid a unwanted marriage.  A great book about girl empowerment through the martial art of Kung Fu.  Think The Karate Kid for girls!  [picture book, ages 5-9]

8. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

This is the story of Shirley Temple Wong as she immigrates to America at age 8 and discovers that American is the land of opportunity by learning about baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great Jackie Robinson.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

7. Coolies by Yin

When one thinks of Chinese immigrants, the image of “Coolies” comes to mind and this period marks the period of when new Chinese immigrants were viewed negatively.  The Coolie story is an important story about the Chinese immigrants during the 1800’s and underscores why “Coolies” were an important part of building the great railroads across the Western United States. [picture book, ages 5-8]

6. The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

It’s the Year of the Dog, and Pacy learns that this is the year to “find herself” which means trying to find her special talents and how she fits in with family, friends and classmates.  There is a little bonus gift in that Pacy enters a book writing contest and that book is The Ugly Vegetables!  Grace Lin is the “Amy Tan” of children’s literature and this is a gentle story for anyone who struggles with finding themselves.  In real life, Grace Lin said that she actually won the science fair and you can check her website to find out more about what really happened in real life versus Year of the Dog.    [chapter book, ages 8-12]

5. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

Millicent Min is an 11-year-old girl genius with no social skills or friends except for her Grandmother Maddie.  While Millicent can rationalize her solitude, her parents and grandmother co-conspire to socialize her.  They force her to play volleyball and to tutor an annoying Chinese American kid, Stanford Wong, who is the polar opposite of her.  Things look up for Millicent when she makes her first friend, Emily, at volleyball.  But things come to a head when Emily finds out that Millicent and Stanford are lying to her as they both try to hide their tutoring arrangement from her.  And to make matters worse, Maddie decides to move to England.  Millicent is a genius, but can she figure out how to repair her friendship?  [chapter book, ages 9-14)

4. The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

One of my favorite picture books about a little Chinese girl who objects to the “ugly vegetables” her family grows compared to her non-Asian neighbors who grow beautiful flowers.  But when her mother makes a delicious soup from the Chinese vegetables, all the neighbors want to trade flowers for soup. What I like about this story is that “fitting in” is something internal that the little girl feels; not as  result of overt prejudice.  And in the end, her differences enrich the entire neighborhood. [picture book, ages 4-7]

3. Apple Pie on 4th of July by Janet S. Wong

When her parents cook Chinese food to sell at their store on the 4th of July, the little 2nd generation Chinese American girl thinks that her parents “don’t get it.”  No one wants Chinese food on the 4th of July, right?  A simple story that depicts perfectly the straddling of two worlds that 2nd generation children feel.  [picture book, ages 2-6]

2. Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

Jon Muth manages to take Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu anddistill it into three stories that both children and adults can relate to.  A wonderful book for everyone’s bookshelf.   The artwork is gorgeous too! [picture book, ages 4 – adult]

1. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

My oldest has always loved Asian folk tales.  In this NewberyAward winning book, Grace Lin’s finest work to date weaves Chinese Folk tales into a story that is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  With Asian themes of filial respect and sacrifice, she writes a novel that is the “Asian Percy Jackson.”   [chapter book, ages 8-12]

 

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

 

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Top 10: Best Japanese American Children’s Books (ages 2-16) http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-best-japanese-american-childrens-books-ages-2-16/ http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-best-japanese-american-childrens-books-ages-2-16/#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2011 08:38:55 +0000 http://jadeluckclub.com/?p=597

best japanese american children's books kidlit pragmaticmom jadeluckclub jade luck club japanese american picture books best summer reading lists The story of Japanese immigration is also true for my own family history.  Changes in Japan during the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to 1912 wrought great changes in Japan as the country tried to modernize.  The old feudal system of titled landowners was abruptly stripped away, and the daimyo domains of titled landowners were turned into prefectures.   For those families including my own, they were forced to buy back their own lands as some of their lost lands included sacred family burial grounds.  To earn the money, large numbers of Japanese men found work in Hawaii in the pineapple and sugar cane plantations and from there, migrated to the mainland.

Following in the wake of the Chinese immigrants marked the Japanese immigrants as a part of that group, and resulted in a negative attitude towards the Japanese immigrants almost immediately and this negative attitude lasted for more than 50 years.  At war with Japan during WWII brought prejudice and fear of Japanese Americans to new heights and resulted in forced internment camps, a low point for American history.

Throughout it all, Japanese Americans perserved, pushing their children into lucrative careers in the sciences and trying to assimilate post WWII so that they would encounter less prejudice.  I think this is the reason for a relative dearth of well known Japanese-American children’s authors, which the  one exception being Cynthia Kadohata.  It was strange to me that many important Japanese stories were not told by Japanese Americans.  I tried, therefore, to focus my list on lesser known authors telling important stories.  I hope this list will inspire more authors in this genre!

For a brief history of Japanese immigration, please see this link:  http://library.thinkquest.org/20619/Japanese.html

Honorable Mentions

Umbrella by Taro Yashima

With Japanese words throughout, this is a sweet and gentle story of a little girl, Momo (peach in Japanese),  who is excited to use her new present of an umbrella and new rain boots. [picture book, ages 4-8]

The Inn-Keepers Apprentice by Allen Say

I tire a little of all the WWII internment story lines.  I do think it’s important, but there is more to the Japanese American experience that just that period of time. When I found this book at the library, I was surprised that Allen Say wrote middle grade fiction. I always thought of him as a picture book illustrator and author. I read the book, expecting not to like it and was pleasantly surprised to find that it kept my interest. First of all, though the book is set in post WWII Japan, the book focuses on a coming-of-age story of a middle grade boy who is unusual for many reasons.  His mother comes from a Samurai aristocratic background but married a Korean.  Then got divorced! That is very unusual for this time. And the boy is determined to apprentice with a famous cartoonist. I wondered if the story rang so true because it was Say’s own story. I finished the book, satisfied by a good read and then researched it.  Yes, it is his own story and what a fascinating person he is! [chapter book, ages 9-14]

The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida

I read this story a long time ago and remembered that it was a particularly sad story of internment that I couldn’t bring myself to read to my girls. The little Japanese girl is given a bracelet by her American friend that she brings to internment camp that gets lost.   [picture book, ages 8-12]

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

A story about post bombing Hiroshima where Sadako, who loves to run, becomes ill due to the radiation from the bomb.  It is believed in Japan that folding a thousand paper cranes brings girls good luckand good health.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

[chapter book, ages 10-14]

An Illustrated History of Japan by Shigeo Nishimura

A gorgeously illustrated history of Japan.  It would be a great reference book, particularly to look through for the artwork.  Each period of history is briefly detailed.   [picture book, ages 8-12]


10. Suki’s Kimonoby Chieri Uegaki

Even though Suki’s sisters teaser her, she wears her beloved kimono (yukata) to the first day of school.  It was a gift from her obachan, grandmother, and she has especially fond memories of spending time at a (obon) street festival dancing with her.  But is it a good idea to look so different?  [picture book, ages 4-7]

 

9. Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

Rosemary Well’s has incorporated traditional Japanese art themes into her luscious illustrations about Yoko communicating with her grandparents back in Japan.  A sweet and endearing story.  [picture book, ages 2-6]

8. A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

A bi-lingual (Japanese/English) story about the author’s grandmother who was interned at Topaz and really did grow 8 foot sunflowers in the desert.  A stoic story about coping with internment.  This is the author’s first book.  [picture book, ages 7-11]

 

7. A Jar of Dreams by Yoshiko Uchida

11-year-old Rinko lives in Berkeley, California during the Great Depression and life isn’t easy, especially when you are Japanese American because she encounters prejudice almost daily. When her family opens a small laundry, their local competitor, a well known bigot and bully, threatens them.  Things change when her Aunt Waka comes to visit from Japan,  and she helps to convince them to chase their dreams, even if it seems improbable that they will be given the same opportunities as non-Asians.  Despite the prejudice that her family faces, Rinko learns to take pride in her Japanese self.

A Jar of Dreams is an accurate protrait of what life was like for Japanese immigrants pre- WWII, but it also details the determination, hard-work, and strong familial bonds that propelled them to succeed.  [chapter book, ages 10-14]

 

6. Tokyo Friends by Betty Reynolds

Katie is a young American girl living in modern-day Tokyo.  Spend time with Katie and her Japanese friends learning about Japanese culture, holidays and the Japanese language. And the story rhymes! [picture book, ages 2-12]

5. Tea With Milk by Alan Say

May’s parents return to Japan and it’s a tough adjustment for her to make.  She prefers her tea with milk and sugar but in Japan, she must drink green tea, go to high school all over again to learn to be a proper Japanese lady, and assume her Japanese name, Masako.  Finally, she rebels and  moves to Osaka where she gets a job and meets a man that prefers his tea with milk and sugar.  This is the love story of Alan Say’s parents. [picture book, ages 6-9]

4. Kira-Kiraby Cynthia Kadohata

This Newbery Award winning novel is a Japanese Grapes of Wrath story about the Takashima family as they move  from Iowa to Georgia in the 1950’s and work menial, grueling jobs at a non-unionized poultry farm.  The three kids, Lynn, Katie and Sammy,  manage to have fun and dream of better times ahead despite their difficult conditions until Lynn comes down with a fatal illness.  The book manages to portray life for post-WWII Japanese Americans  in an insightful and realistic way.  [chapter book, ages 10-14]

3. Weedflowerby Cynthia Kadohata

From Starred Review, School Library Journal. Grade 5-8–When Pearl Harbor is attacked, the lives of a Japanese-American girl and her family are thrown into chaos. Sumiko, 12, and her younger brother, Tak-Tak, live with their aunt and uncle, grandfather Jiichan, and adult cousins on a flower farm in Southern California. Though often busy with chores, Sumiko enjoys working with the blossoms, particularly stock, or weedflowers (fragrant plants grown in a field). In the difficult days that follow the bombing, the family members fear for their safety and destroy many of their belongings. Then Uncle and Jiichan are taken to a prison camp, and the others are eventually sent to an assembly center at a racetrack, where they live in a horse stable. When they’re moved to the Arizona desert, Sumiko misses the routine of her old life and struggles with despair. New friends help; she grows a garden with her neighbor and develops a tender relationship with a Mohave boy. She learns from him that the camp is on land taken from the Mohave reservation and finds that the tribe’s plight parallels that of the incarcerated Japanese Americans. Kadohata brings into play some complex issues, but they realistically dovetail with Sumiko’s growth from child to young woman. She is a sympathetic heroine, surrounded by well-crafted, fascinating people. The concise yet lyrical prose conveys her story in a compelling narrative that will resonate with a wide audience.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA .  [chapter book, ages 12-16]

2. So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

Laura Iwaski and her family visit her grandfather’s grave at the Manzanar War Relocation center where he died during internment.  Both her parents were relocated though at different camps.  Her father was a little boy when this happened and this marks the last time they will visit before moving to Boston.  Their final visit sums up the attitude of most Japanese-Americans who were forced to relocate:  a terrible thing that happened to them.   But , as the Dad says, “Sometimes in the end thre is no right or wrong.  It is just a thing that happened long years ago.  A thing that cannot be changed.”  [picture book, ages 8-12]

1. Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki

Ken Mochizuki’s were interned at Minidoka Internment camp in Idaho, and this is the story based on true events, of how they used baseball to cope.  The little boy in the story is small for his age, but perserves to become an excellent player.  The story continues post-internment and things are not better.  Luckily, the boy’s skill in baseball helps to bring everyone together.  This is the author’s first picture book. [picture book, ages 8-12]

To examine any book more closely, please click on image of book.

 

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Top 10: Best Korean American Children’s Books (ages 2-16) http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-best-korean-american-childrens-books-ages-2-16/ http://jadeluckclub.com/top-10-best-korean-american-childrens-books-ages-2-16/#comments Mon, 30 May 2011 08:37:16 +0000 http://jadeluckclub.com/?p=595

Best Korean American Children's Books Literature KidLit Young Adult Books Fiction JadeLuckClub, Jade Luck Club, Pragmatic Mom http://JadeLuckClub.com My husband is Korean and I joke that the Koreans are nicknamed “The Irish of Asia.”   Like the Irish, they have a strong culture despite a long history of invasion and occupation.  Like the Irish, they have a penchant for drinking and fighting.  And like the Irish, there is a vein of melancholy than runs through their DNA.   Or at least, this is my take on it.

When my 4th grader did a unit on immigration, they covered many nationalities — she did Japan — but not Korea.  I think it’s because the Korean immigration story to the United States is a fairly new one that began in earnest after the Korean War [think M.A.S.H.!].  And the Korean immigrants, more so than other Asian nationalities, have made it to the United States in pursuit of higher education, and thus, when they stayed, they were able to land squarely in the middle  class.

The Korean American authors have a unique stories to tell.  Their collective memories of the old country are still fresh, as is their immigrant experience.  And if you use food to tell the story of a culture as I do, Korean cuisine is becoming the Next Big Thing.  Or at least in New York City that seems to mark the beginning of every big food trend.  My husband and I found it amusing when we visited NYC a few years ago that the big trend was upscale, fancy Korean restaurants.  We lived near Korea Town in Los Angeles for many years so we equate good Korean food with small, but clean “dive.”

In any case, ride the trend and enjoy these 10 Korean American children’s books with your children.


Honorable Mentions

Dear Juno by Soyung Pak

Juno is a little boy who receives a letter from his grandmother in Korea. He can’t read Korean and his parents are busy with the usual household chores.  Despite the language barrier, he is able to understand the letter though his mother eventually translates it for him. The letter is special as are the enclosures — a dried flower and a photo of his grandmother and her new cat. And Juno decides to write a letter back. One that will also transcend their language barrier. He makes several drawings and encloses a very large leaf. And so they write each other back and forth … at least until she comes to visit! [picture book, ages 4-9]

The Korean Frogs: A Korean Folktale Retold by Yumi Heo

This is a cute picture book that tells the story of naughty frogs who don’t listen to their mother. A fun and funny story to remind the kiddos to listen to mom! [picture book, ages 3-8]

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

When Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, she is a little embarrassed by her name so she tells her new classmates that she doesn’t have one.  They all help to choose a new one for her by putting choices into a jar but in the end, Unhei decides that her Korean name is just perfect.  This is the perfect book for anyone with an “ethic first or middle name” that they are a little embarrassed about.  [picture book, ages 5-9]

F is for Fabuloso by Marie G. Lee

I happened upon this Korea-American author for grades 4-6th and wanted to share it because it’s a fabuloso book!  It’s unclear why her book didn’t make a bigger splash when it came out about 10 years ago.  She’s a really vibrant voice for Asian American children’s literature so I wanted to let you know about her.  The author is a second generation Korean American and grew up in Minnesota much like her lead character, Jin-Ha, in F is for Fabuloso.   It’s a tender and gentle story about straddling two worlds especially as the go-between for her mother who is shy to speak English.  [chapter book, ages 8-12]

If It Hadn’t Been for Yoon Jun is another book, also by Maria G. Lee,  that I was trying to locate at the library which I wasn’t able to find yet, but I suspect it is also very good.  I will find it and update you! [chapter book, ages 8-12]

Count Your Way through Korea by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Dennis Hockerman

This seems like a basic counting book on the outside, but it’s actually packed with interesting factoids about Korean culture.  AND the text is really advanced; it’s actually too hard for a toddler or preschooler learning how to count to 10.  I’d just this to teach older kids, say in elementary school or learning a Korean version of Karate, how to count to 1o in Korean. [picture book, ages 6-9]

Count Your Way through Korea, learn korean numbers, pragmatic mom

The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Ruth Heller

This is the Korean version of Cinderella set in olden-times Korea.  [folk tale picture book, ages 4-8]

Korean Cinderella story set in olden times, pragmatic mom, pragmaticmom.com

Chi-Hoon, A Korean Girl by Patricia McMahon with photographs by Michael F. O’Brien

This is a day-in-the-life glimpse of an elementary school aged girl, Chi-Hoon.  My oldest found it fascinating to learn about life in modern day Korea.  The reading level is perfect for grades 3-5.  [non-fiction, ages 8-12]

Chi-Hoon, life in modern day Korea pragmaticmom.com

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10. Sumi’s First Day of School Everby Soyung Pak.

Sumi doesn’t speak English and today is her very first day of school ever.  Will it go well?  [picture book for ages 2-7]

9. Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park.

A light-hearted rhyming picture book on a favorite Korean national dish.  It’s popular in restaurants but it evolved as a way to use up all the leftovers.  In this book, a family spends all day preparing this little girl’s favorite meal.  With a recipe at the end!  [picture book for ages 2-5]

8. Where on Earth is My Bagel? by Frances and Ginger Park.

A whimsical story about a little Korean boy who dreams of a New York bagel and, with the help of his friends, is able to make one.  [picture book for ages 3-7]

7. Halmoni and the Picnicby Sook Nyul Choi.

An advanced picture book about a girl and her Korean grandmother and how they both learn to bridge the cultural gap with food.   [picture book for ages 5-8]

6. Yunmi and Halmoni’s Tripby Sook Nyul Choi.

Halmoni takes her granddaughter on a trip back to Korea to meet the family, but Yunmi worries that her grandmother might not want to come back.  [picture book for ages 5-8]

5. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent.

14-year-old Joseph Caldararo has a loving family and is a well-adjusted popular kid at school.  But when his social studies teacher assigns a paper on Your Cultural heritage, his world gets turned upside down.  He knows he’s adopted from Korea when he was just an infant and it’s never really bothered him before, but now it does.  It doesn’t help that the new dry cleaners are taken over by a Korean family who are off-out by his adoption.  And it makes his parents upset when he wants to learn more about his own cultural heritage.  His best friend assists him in conducting an internet search to try to trace his parents but that’s a long shot at best!  But what to write for this paper?  His confusion about who he is leads him down a path of deceit and now everything is a mess.  On top of this, he’s trying to get a date for the school dance.  Whoever said that middle school is tough is right!  [chapter book, ages 9-12]

4. The Year of Impossible Goodbyesby Sook Nyul Choi.

A haunting but ultimately uplifting story of author Sook Nyul Choi’s experience living in war-torn North Korea.  [chapter book for middle schoolers]

3. The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park.

Set in 15th century Korea, Korea’s Golden Age, two brothers — one  skilled in kite making and the other skilled in  kite flying — combine their skills to compete in a kite flying contest on behalf of the king.  [ages 7-12]

2. Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park.

A glimpse into the lives of the  nobility during the Golden Age of Korea and the restrictions placed on women.  [chapter book for ages 8-12]

1. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.

Newbery award winning book about a famous potter during the Golden Age of Korea.  [chapter book for ages 8-12]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

 

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