Asian Lit Bingo 2019 Reading Challenge Announcement and Master Post

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We are back in 2019 for #AsianLitBingo – a month-long reading challenge during May! This is the master post with all the information for the reading challenge.

Background

Inspiration and Purpose: In the U.S., the month of May is Asian American Heritage Month*, so we thought, what better way to celebrate than to do a reading challenge that spotlights books with Asian characters and centers Asian voices? In publishing, there are power dynamics in play that marginalize Asian authors, especially those who write Asian characters and draw from their heritage for their writing. In the context of publishing in countries where white people are the majority/dominant group, diaspora Asians in those countries have a hard time breaking into publishing.

In a more global context, Asian writers in Asia have a hard to reaching a wider market beyond regional publishing due to their perceived foreignness, plus a general lack of infrastructure for translations for those that don’t write in English (and many do write in English). There are also double standards in the industry that facilitate publication for white authors writing Asian[-inspired] characters/settings/stories while Asian writers who write from the place of a cultural insider are often told their stories are “too Asian” or “not Asian enough.” For this reason, we feel it is especially important to highlight #ownvoices Asian stories, where the authors share the heritage of the characters they write about.

*May is technically designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. However, a number of Pasifika activists and friends have stated that lumping together Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders results in the erasure and co-opting of PIs and that they want to have their own spaces to discuss their issues. We are respecting that and keeping the two separate for this challenge.

We encourage readers to also support Pasifika spaces via Our Stories – Tala mai le Moana compiled by Lani Wendt Young, Pasifika Tales and the updated resources below.

Update: Back in 2017, Alec Te Pohe collected these useful Pasifika lit resources:

Māori and Pasifika Month Reads via Ruru Reads

Tina Makereti: five Māori and Pasifika favourites

Māori (and Pasifika) writing in 2017: Thalia Kehoe Rowden recommends 22 picture books that feature Pasifika and Māori children

Ministry of Education Pasifika and ESOL resources

HUIA Publishers

Pacific Island Books

Kōmako: A Bibliography of Māori writing in English

Asian Lit Bingo Scope:

Aside from the reading challenge, we have planned a few social media events to complement the challenge and celebrate Asian literature in other ways.  If you are an Asian blogger/vlogger/bookstagrammer/etc. and have your own idea for a post/video you want to make about Asian lit, go for it, and feel free to leave a comment here with the link so we can add it to the list. You can use this template for your blog header if you’d like.

The Hosts 

Meet the Lit CelebrAsian team at our team page. Some team members are taking a short break to focus on work commitments but our active #AsianLitBingo hosts for 2019 include:

Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA (#AsianLitBingo Creator)

Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer

Janani @ The Shrinkette

Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

Stephanie @ Igniting Pages

Wendy @ Written in Wonder

Kate @ Snarky Yet Satisfying

Reading Challenge Information

The reading challenge is a general challenge and also a contest with prizes!

The Hashtag

Use the hashtag #AsianLitBingo when posting on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr about the challenge. Check out what other people are reading and find posts and reviews related to the challenge by searching the hashtag.

The Setup

Similar to the Diversity Bingo challenge, the Asian Lit Bingo challenge takes the form of a bingo board, a 5 by 5 grid with 25 total prompts for books to read. The baseline goal is to read prompts for a single line, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the board, for a total of 5 books. Post your progress on Twitter with the hashtag #AsianLitBingo.

Eligible Books:

  • Fiction books should have an Asian main character (can be one of several main characters) and be by an Asian author to qualify. It does not have to be #ownvoices, but reading #ownvoices books is strongly encouraged!
  • Nonfiction books should be by an Asian author with a focus on Asian people, whether it’s a[n] [auto]biography, history book, essay collection, etc. A nonfiction book can count for prompts other than the nonfiction square provided that it that focuses on a person/group that corresponds to that prompt (e.g. an autobiography of a Asian trans woman could count for either the nonfiction category or the LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC category).
  • The free space is for any book with an Asian main character by an Asian author.

Below is the bingo board, designed by Aentee. Note: “MC” stands for “main character” (though as specified above, it can be a book about a real person).

 

Asian Lit Bingo 2019

Book SuggestionsRead More »

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Join our Twitter Q&A Chat with Fonda Lee – Author of Jade City!

Hi all,

We’re excited to invite you to our Twitter Q&A #AsianLitChat with Fonda Lee, author of Jade City!

Friday, March 28 – 7pm PST / 10pm EST

Saturday, March 29 – 2pm AEDT / 4pm NZDT

Or add your city to the timezone converter to join in!

Have you started reading Jade City_ What other books by Asian authors are you reading_(2)

All the best,

The LitCelebrAsian team

On The Importance of Difficult Themes in Picture Books – A Guest Post by Meera Sriram

asian lit bingo interview_guest post(1)

Picture books are an influential medium, they have the ability to make children ponder, imagine, and question. There’s so much beauty and power in their brevity and visual appeal. Growing up in India, I did not have access to this category of books. I was introduced to them as an adult. And as a parent raising kids in the U.S, I’ve relied on them for everything – from potty training and early learning to first-times and friendship woes. I fell in love with them so much that I followed my heart and began writing them. However, I often wonder about themes that are not commonly seen in mainstream picture books (while I find them more accessible in books that cater to older children). If you think about events, people, places, and experiences that young kids are exposed to on a daily basis through social interactions or via media, we don’t really include most of them in our stories.

Many families are caught up in all sorts of struggles, small and big, everyday or long term. And children are great observers and sensors – they notice, listen, and particularly pick up on the mildest disruptions. Why then do we shy away from centering stories around topics like poverty or terminal illness, alcoholism, disability, guns, divorce, adoption or death? These things happen to us, around us. All the time. When my kids lost their first grandparent in India, they were confused, their grief compounded by immigrant-life challenges. My daughter was 6.Read More »

Feb/Mar 2019 Readalong: Jade City by Fonda Lee!

Early happy lunar new year! We’re excited to share that we’re hosting a more casual readalong structure in 2019 for the book club.

To kick off the February + March readalong, join us for Jade City by Fonda Lee!

As it’s a flexible book club, feel free to join in whenever during the two months.

Update:

We’re excited to invite you to our Twitter Q&A #AsianLitChat with Fonda Lee, author of Jade City!

Friday, March 28 – 7pm PST / 10pm EST

Saturday, March 29 – 2pm AEDT / 4pm NZDT

Or add your city to the timezone converter to join in!

Have you started reading Jade City_ What other books by Asian authors are you reading_(2)

We hope to see you there!

New Releases: December Books by Asian Authors!

We are excited to share a few new books in December!

A mix of kid-lit, young adult, and adult books are listed below.

Thanks to our Lit CelebrAsian team members: Glaiza and Shenwei for taking the time to research and compile this list.

Note: This is a just a small sample of releases out in December, so let us know what books you’re excited for.


~ Young Adult ~

4079809229 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz

Young adult contemporary
Release date: 
1st of December, 2018
“Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Jisu finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Jisu into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn’t parent and matchmaker approved?”Read More »

Defeating Self-Defeat in Asian Representation – A Guest Post by Mike Chen

asian lit bingo interviewguest post

I’ve always considered myself an accepting person. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I always knew when certain things felt right or wrong, when it was important to push for progress.

But all of that always pointed outward. As a Chinese-American and a child of immigrants, internal acceptance came much harder; in fact, on the cusp of 40, it’s still a struggle. No matter how much I fought for others, it was difficult to fight for myself — even in the face of explicit racism towards my parents. In those situations, a lot of internalized victim-blaming happened. “If only my parents weren’t so Chinese” or “if only they weren’t so frugal” or “if only their accents weren’t so thick.”

Because I hated being Chinese. The constant messages from culture were obvious: Asians of any type weren’t cool or sexy or heroic. And even if Asians made it on screen, we were all lumped together into one generic Asian bucket, regardless of South Asian, South-East Asian, West Asian and Central Asian identities.Read More »