Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Hena Khan, Author of Amina’s Voice & More to the Story; On Writing Young Muslim Characters and… A Sequel in the Works!

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Hena Khan. Author of Amina's Voice and More to the Story; on writing young muslim characters... and a sequel in the works! illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms spread out wide as if she is showing off something, with hena as a blue penguin holding a book, wearing glasses, and waving at you!

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’.)

Back in 2017 when I was only just discovering the beauty of diverse young adult literature, I never knew that there was an age category called ‘middle grade’. Though I had read middle grade as a younger reader, it never crossed my mind that I would enjoy middle grade as an adult — that is, until I read Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, which was the book that ignited my love for diverse literature for younger readers.

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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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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – Christina Li, Author of Clues to the Universe, On The Book that Helped Her See Herself

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month. A discussion with Christina Li! author of clues to the universe; the book that helped me see myself. illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, holding her arms out wide as if showing off something, with christina as a hedgehog wearing a flower crown and doing the victory hand gesture and holding a cup.

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’.)

There have been discussions about ‘windows,’ ‘mirrors’, and ‘sliding glass doors’ in literature; ‘windows’ provide a view to another world – whether real or imagined, and ‘sliding doors’ allows readers to walk through and enter another world, and another experience, which can shape the way we see ourselves and others. For a lot of marginalised readers, windows and sliding doors are abundant, but mirrors – a book or text that reflects an experience back at us, allowing us to see ourselves in a story – are a little more difficult to find — or may not even exist at all.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – Katie Zhao, Author of The Dragon Warrior, On Embracing Our Inner Dragons

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month. A discussion with Katie Zhao! author of the dragon warrior, on embracing our inner dragons. illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, holding her arms out wide as if showing off something, with katie as a red chinese dragon holding a staff.

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 think one of the most powerful things about children’s literature is being told that, no matter how small you may be, you hold immense power to do good and amazing things. Growing up, the books I read were very formative to me. Whenever I wasn’t sure on what to do or how I wanted to navigate social situations – intermediate (middle) school is no joke! – I turned to literary characters and wondered what they would have done.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Lyla Lee, Author of the Mindy Kim Series; On the Inspiration Behind Mindy Kim and Writing Korean Culture

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Lyla Lee, author of the Mindy Kim series; on the inspiration behind mindy kim and writing in korean culture. illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms out wide as if she is showing off something, with lyla lee as a pink corgi, standing on her hindlegs, and holding a book.

Our Friend is Here! is 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’.)

When I read middle grade and young adult literature, something that I’m always on the look out for – and that I’m reflecting on – is the sort of books that I want to give to the young children in my life one day. Whether it is my own or family or children of friends, I often find myself asking: ‘what books do I want the young children in my life to grow up with, what books do I think they will find interesting, and what books do I want to shape them into empowered and thoughtful people?’

When I read Lyla Lee’s Mindy Kim series, I knew immediately: I’m going to give the younger children in my life the Mindy Kim series one day.

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