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Honors for Daughter of Xanadu

- Daughter of Xanadu has been published in both Mongolian  and Turkish.

- "Outstanding Merit," Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year, 2012.

- National Council for the Social Studies has selected Daughter of Xanadu for its 2012 master list of Notable Tradebooks for Young People.

- The American Library Association has chosen Daughter of Xanadu as a 2012 Recommended Title for the Amelia Bloomer project, which celebrates feminist books for children and young adults.

- The paperback version of Daughter of Xanadu was published on in January 2012. It's available through your favorite bookstore and online from and The publisher is Ember, a new imprint established in May 2011 by Random House for paperback versions of "bestsellers and award winners."

I've done several readings and school visits recently. Last fall, I was busy on book tour, with seven appearances in October, ranging from Mercer Island to New Canaan, from Silverdale to Shaker Heights, from Portland, Oregon, to Youngstown, Ohio - from 'Bookfest' to 'Fall at the Mall,' from schools to skype.

Still getting great reactions from readers!

Second Wave makes waves

My book of oral histories, Voices of the Second Wave: Chinese Americans in Seattle, is starting to attract attention in the press.

Doug Chin, widely recognized as the "unofficial historian" of Seattle's Chinatown/International District, recently wrote a thoughtful review in The International Examiner, a well-respected Asian-American community newspaper. The current issue of The Examiner is chock-full of book reviews, and Doug "applauds" the publication of this book and said it "deserves a lot of credit" for telling untold stories of the ever-increasing Mandarin-speaking immigrant population.

Gabrielle Nomura, a rising star at The Bellevue Reporter who covers the arts, wrote a long article in The Scene, which is a monthly magazine for readers of several "Reporter" newspapers across the Eastside. She interviewed not only me but also Dr. Peter Ku, retired chancellor of Seattle's three community colleges, and she quotes Bellevue Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee and Maria L. Koh, who envisioned and commissioned this book.

Northwest Asian Weekly also ran an article announcing the publication of Voices of the Second Wave.

The book is now available at the University of Washington Libraries and at Seattle Public Library and has been ordered by King County Library System.  It is also for sale at the museum stores of Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, in Marketplace @ The Wing. It will also soon be available at Island Books, Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books, and the bookstores of Seattle's community colleges.

I'd love to hear your comments about this book.

Press and blog appearances

Daughter of Xanadu's visibility has continued strong since publication.  Here are the latest reviews, blog interviews and guest blogs:

May 3:  Article based on interview, Norelle Done on Seattle Wrote blog.

April 8: 5-star review on The Bookaholics by Aik Chien of Malaysia.

March 23: Amber of Squeaky Clean Reads wrote a review saying: "Daughter of Xanadu is not squeaky clean, but mostly clean."

March 21: Damsels in Regress: Bringing history back to life (review and interview by Emilie Bishop)

March 16:  Black Fingernailed Reviews (5-star review)

March 14: Dreaming in Books (review)

March 9:  Shauna Yusko, librarian at Evergreen Junior High in Redmond interviewed me for her blog after my school visit there on March 3.

March 2:, a website devoted to multicultural books from around the world for children and young adults, with a particular focus on the Pacific Rim and South Asia (interview and review)

Feb. 27:     Reading the Past (review, with comments)

Feb. 13: (guest blog)

Feb 9:       Feathered Quill (interview)

And here's the latest press:

Mercer Island Patch posted this article online on Feb. 11, 2011:

-- "When East Meets West: Author Dori Jones Yang," by DeAnn Rossetti.  Daughter of Xanadu, an adventurous and romantic tale by Dori Jones Yang, could easily be seen as a parallel to her own life in this century in the United States."

"That's Shanghai" magazine posted this review on urbanatomy on Feb. 11, 2011:

-- The first review in China, called "Move Over Mulan," by Tom Carter

New book available!

voices cover

After more than two years of hard work, I am delighted to announce the publication of my newest book: Voices of the Second Wave, Chinese Americans in Seattle. For me, this book is a project of the heart, reflecting interviews with 35 wonderful people who immigrated from China, mostly in the 1950s and 1960s.

Unlike the "first wave" of Chinese immigrants, who came as laborers, spoke Cantonese, and built Chinatowns, this "second wave" of immigrants from China mostly came as students, spoke Mandarin, and were cut off from their homeland by war and revolution. Although most earned advanced degrees and got professional jobs, their experiences were bittersweet: hampered by language difficulties, they were never able to fully integrate into American life and they received no news for decades of relatives left behind.

Until now, their stories have been largely ignored. This book gives them a voice, and they tell their life stories with their own words. I wrote an introduction and compiled these oral histories into this book. Most stories have two pictures of the person: one "young" and another "recent." The book also has a time line of Chinese history and a map of China showing their birthplaces.

Because the stories are arranged alphabetically, the last one is that of my husband, Paul Yang. His tale is one of the most fascinating!

The book is available now in paperback through

Did Marco Polo really go to China?

I have heard this question a lot, and someone asked me just yesterday. Here's my answer:

Yes, it seems highly likely he did. From the day he got back home, people thought Marco Polo was exaggerating or lying about the fabulous wealth and wonder of the empire he claimed to have visited. In those days, Venice was the most powerful, prosperous city in Europe, and Venetians did not want to believe there was a land that was far more advanced. In fact, they called Marco “Il Milione” because he claimed to have seen “millions and millions” of jewels, people, soldiers, everything.

About 50 years after his book came out, an extremely popular travel book appeared, by “John Mandeville,” about a journey to the Orient. It was lively and fun to read, and told of terrific monsters, dog-headed cannibals, people with ears hanging to their knees, and men whose heads grow beneath their shoulders. It later proved to be mostly invented or borrowed from other writers, so that made people wonder about the truth of Marco Polo’s book, too.

For hundreds of years, Europeans could not travel safely to the Far East, so they had no way of checking. However, when Europeans began to explore Asia, they found that most of Marco Polo’s descriptions of remote places were remarkably accurate. Many Europeans did travel to China during the relatively peaceful years of the Mongol Empire, both traders and priests, so it is not hard to believe that one of them wrote a book about his travels when he got home.

For a scholar's explanation of these doubts, see F. Wood's Did Marco Polo Go To China? A Critical Appraisal by I. de Rachewiltz. I find his arguments compelling.

- November 13, 2010 - 

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