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Great resource for classrooms

Online Author Visits is a terrific resource for teachers and school librarians looking for authors to visit classrooms, both in person and via skype. OAVIcon

A group of published, experienced authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults began this website in 2015, and it has quickly become a go-to site for teachers around the United States and Canada. I had the pleasure of joining them earlier this year and was invited to do an "Author of the Month" blogpost for June 2016. In it, I explained how I became interested in writing books for children and why I think it's important to write books whose main characters are Asian.

It shocked me to learn that, until recent years, only 10% of published children's books feature children of color--despite the fact that 37% of Americans are either Hispanic or people of color. That seems out of whack to me. That's why I strongly support the movement We Need Diverse Books.  

Check out my blogpost here

Great High School Book Club

One of the joys of being an author is a chance to interact with readers. On January 12, I had such an opportunity--at Eastlake High School on "the plateau" in Sammamish, Washington. With the encouragement of librarian Kathleen Dunbar, a group of avid high school readers gathers on Tuesday mornings to discuss books they have recently read. They are reading Daughter of Xanadu now, and I showed them some images of Mongolia with my PowerPoint pictures.

I met Kathleen four years ago, when she was librarian at Cleveland High School in Seattle, which serves students of a rich variety of ethnicities and cultures. It's great to keep in touch with librarians, whether they stay at one school or move. And it's terrific to talk to students who love reading! 

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet

 

After_the_Bitter_cover.jpgDori Jones Yang is pleased to announce the publication of After the Bitter Comes the Sweet: How One Woman Weathered the Storms of China’s Recent History, by Yulin Wang Rittenberg, published by East West Insights in May 2015. Dori spent many months revising and polished this fascinating memoir of Yulin, wife of Sidney Rittenberg, a couple she knows and admires.

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet is the tumultuous life story of a Chinese woman whose loyalty to the Communist Party was shattered when her American husband, Sidney Rittenberg, was arrested on false charges and jailed for years.

Born into dire poverty during wartime China, as a young girl, Yulin found opportunity, education, and hope in the Communist Party. After foraging for weeds and scrounging for warm cinders spewed from passing trains, she was given the opportunity to learn radio technology and assigned to Beijing, where she rose to responsible positions within China’s Broadcast Administration. There she met and married Sidney Rittenberg, one of the first foreigners permitted to join the Communist Party of China. He had befriended Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and the other founders and leaders of the Party in its early days before their victory in 1949.

Together, she and Sidney built a life full of promise, with four children.  But in 1968, their dreams were shattered when Sidney was thrown into prison, accused of spying for America. Reviled as a "dog-spy's wife," Yulin was confined, persecuted, sent to labor camp, and separated from her young children. 

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet is a tale of determination, resilience, and struggle, with lessons for any reader who faces what seems to be insurmountable troubles. As her difficulties worsened and her colleagues attacked her and even her parents, Yulin had to rely on her own resources. She learned how hard times bring out meanness in some people and kindness in others, how to focus her strength and resources on survival, and how to use her rational mind to face injustice.

This book casts a new light on the well-known story of Sidney Rittenberg, whose own memoir, The Man Who Stayed Behind, written with journalist Amanda Bennett, was published by Simon and Schuster in 1993. The remarkable and unique story of Sidney and Yulin was also told in an award-winning documentary, The Revolutionary, released in 2011.

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet, written with the assistance of Dori Jones Yang, is now available in paperback for $12.95 and Kindle e-book for $3.99.  

Beijing Bookworm bookstore talk

Dori Jones Yang gave a talk at The Bookworm bookstore and cafe in Beijing, China, oDori talking 2 for webn Dori with poster for webNovember 3. She showed  images and told stories about how she created a lover for Marco Polo in her historical novel, Daughter of Xanadu, as well as how she collaborated with Howard Schultz to write Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. The audience asked many interesting questions for a lively discussion. 

 The Bookworm is a charming bookstore/bar/cafe in Beijing's Sanlitun District, and it specializes in English-language books. Highly recommended!

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Bookworm poster

Celebrating the Chinese version of Voices of the Second Wave

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On January 27, Seattle's Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office held a celebration for the publication of the Chinese version of Voices of the Second Wave: Chinese Americans in Seattle. TECO Director General Andy Chin introduced us to National Chengchi University Press, which published the book. This picture shows Andy Chin presenting a letter of congratulation from NCCU to Maria Koh, who had the original vision for this book. Dori Jones Yang conducted the original interviews in English, compiled the book, and coordinated the Chinese translation.

Our celebration and press conference attracted more than 50 people from the greater Seattle area and even Portland, Oregon. Many Chinese Americans are now interested in oral history projects, and this book paved the way, in both English and Chinese. 

The Chinese version contains 28 of the original 35 life stories of Chinese Americans in the Seattle area who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. They are called the "second wave" because they differ from the "first wave" of Cantonese-speaking immigrants who came to the West Coast as laborers. The "second wave" immigrants are mostly Mandarin speakers from all parts of China, and they came to study at universities and stayed to take professional jobs.  The Chinese version also includes a Preface by Chen Shyh-Kwei, Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, a very high level government official in Taiwan. 

The Chinese version is available for sale only in Taiwan, but if you are in the U.S. and would like to purchase a copy from Dori Jones Yang, please contact her directly. 

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