Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Naomi Hirahara, Author of Iced in Paradise; On Being a WOC Mystery Author, Lovable Curmudgeons, and Mystery Recs by PoC!

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Naomi Hirahara, author of iced in paradise, on being a woman of colour mystery author, lovable curmudgeons, and mystery recs by people of colour! Illustration of Cuddle the otter, her arms stretched out wide, showing off Naomi as a beaver wearing grey running shoes.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

I have always been a reader of mysteries and thrillers. It was the first genre I fell in love with for its page-turning, edge of your seat, nail-biting qualities and rhythms. I was a regular ol’ Nancy Drew. However, over time I realized that the genre as a whole didn’t showcase people of color, let alone Asian-American women. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I have been searching my whole life for mysteries that reflect my experience.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Yao Xiao, Author of Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid; On Being a Queer Chinese Immigrant and Bridging Different Worlds

Author Interview with Yao Xiao: author of everything is beautiful and i'm not afraid, on being a queer chinese immigrant and bridging different worlds. illustration is of cuddle the otter, her arms out wide, showing off a pink horse wearing a leaf hat.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

For Asian Heritage Month, I strove to connect with creators and authors who identify intersectionally because intersectional identities are real, complex, and nuanced. In today’s American political landscape, being an immigrant is difficult and, frankly, scary at times.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with I.W. Gregorio, Author of This is My Brain in Love; On Being a Badass Teen Businesswoman, and Pretty Awesome Asian-Americans named Joce ;)

Our Friend is Here, Asian Heritage edition. author interview with i.w. gregorio author of this is my brain in love; on being a badass teen businesswoman, and pretty awesome asian americans named joce. illustration of cuddle the otter, holding her arms out wide like she is showing off something, with ilene w gregoria as a seal with a stethoscope around her neck and holding a dumpling

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

While we are experiencing the effects of a worldwide pandemic, I have personally been reaching for books that feel hopeful and relatable while also speaking to my experience. Because Asians and Asian-Americans have more frequently become the target of hate crimes and discrimination in this climate, I have been leaning on safe areas and books that feature characters that share that part of my identity.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Henry Lien, Author of Peasprout Chen; On Immigrant Stories, Asian Speculative Fiction, and Celebrating Enthusiasm

Our Friend is Here, Asian Heritage edition. author interview with Henry Lien, author of the peasprout chen series, on immigrant stories, asian speculative fiction, and celebrating enthusiasm. illustration of cuddle the otter, holding her arms out wide like she is showing off something, with henry lien as an unimpressed monkey, pointing at the reader while holding a cleaver.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

With the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, I have been leaning on my love for figure skating and gymnastics to fill the void. I realized that both of these sports celebrate (as Henry says later on) girl power and kid power, in that they favor skill sets and centers of gravity more privy to both. They also both emphasize an artistic quality, which is the perfect backdrop on which to craft an Asian speculative fiction story based on figure skating and martial arts.

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The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar – A Soft Yet Powerful YA Contemporary Featuring an F/F Romance that Battles Discrimination and Celebrates the Art of Henna

The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar. Reviewed by Joce, (at) The Quiet Pond.

Summary:

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.

Joce’s review:

When CW told me that we were going to have Adiba Jaigirdar visiting the Pond, I was overjoyed because I am just so… moved by The Henna Wars. It is a young adult contemporary novel featuring an F/F romance, and also has its roots firmly planted in destroying homophobia, racism, bullying, and cultural appropriation. After I was done reading, I sat on the couch filled with warm, fuzzy feelings, but also feeling empowered to get this book in the hands of younger readers everywhere.

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