December 17, 2021

Volume 1, Issue 23

Dear Friends,
Happy holidays! Our next webinar with trailblazing Asian American journalists is set for January 20. See Spotlight below for details. Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Thanks also for forwarding this newsletter to your friends and family, and for encouraging your friends to subscribe so they can get this content straight to their inboxes too.


Save the date for a panel featuring Asian American women journalists on January 20, 2022. Registration is open!


What to get the kids for the holidays? Asian American children’s books!

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


I was never sure how to answer when people asked me what my children wanted for presents or if they already had a certain toy. Maybe it was cultural, or socioeconomic, because as a child I never made a Christmas list or asked for specific gifts. Not even to Santa. To do so felt greedy, presumptuous. 

I also never worried about whether I was giving my children’s friends duplicates of toys they already had because I always gave Asian American books. I once received an email out of the blue from a mom I used to know, when our kids were entering college, thanking me again for an Asian American picture book about dumplings that I had given her child in preschool, that she still remembered so many years later.

So if you are still searching for gift ideas this holiday season, here are some new 2021 Asian American children’s books, from picture books to middle school graphic novels to YA nonfiction.

"From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement,” by Paula Yoo, Norton Young Readers, 2021. For young adult readers, the 1982 baseball bat killing of Vincent Chin and how it brought the Asian American community together in protest and civil rights justice. Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

"The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee,” by Julie Leung (Author) Julie Kwon (Illustrator), Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021. An inspiring picture book biography about Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the U.S. military.

"Eyes That Kiss in the Corners,” by Joanna Ho (Author) Dung Ho (Illustrator), HarperCollins, 2021. A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. Her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons. A New York Times Bestseller and #1 Indie Bestseller.

"I Dream of Popo,” by Livia Blackburne (Author) Julia Kuo (Illustrator), Roaring Brook Press, 2021. When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. She misses her popo every day, but their love is ever true and strong.

"From the Tops of the Trees,” by Kao Kalia Yang (Author) Rachel Wada (Illustrator), Carolrhoda Books, 2021. “Father, is all of the world a refugee camp?” Young Kalia has never known life beyond the fences of the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand. Her father leads her to the tallest tree in the camp and shows her the spread of a world beyond.

"Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab," by Priya Huq, Amulet Books, 2021. In this middle-grade graphic novel, Nisrin, a 13-year-old Bangladeshi American girl living in Oregon, gives a presentation for eighth grade World Culture Day about Bangladesh while wearing a traditional cultural dress. On her way home, she is the victim of a hate crime when a man violently attacks her for wearing a headscarf. 

"Finding Junie Kim,” by Ellen Oh, HarperCollins, 2021. When Junie Kim is faced with middle school racism, she learns of her grandparents' extraordinary strength and compassion during the Korean War and finds her voice. This middle grade novel is from Ellen Oh, cofounder of We Need Diverse Books.

Bonus gift: Grace Lin’s 2022 “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” trilogy calendar.


Our Year-end Fundraising Campaign has launched and we need your support! We put together a video that gives an overview of what we’re about and why our work is as critical as ever. Take a look and donate what you can – donations are tax-deductible and go toward programs supporting our vision of a positive environment for Asian Americans and for U.S. relations with China. Thank you and happy holidays!


Curated News

White House adds new initiative for Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian visibility | NBC News  As communities slowly recover from the pandemic's devastation, advocates hope the new initiative will help with data disaggregation and language access for federal programs.

'Encounter’ lead was supposed to be white. Then the director met Riz Ahmed. | NBC News  In the sci-fi film, Ahmed plays Malik Khan, a Marine Corps veteran trying to save his two sons from a mysterious threat of alien parasites.

A Mystery and a Mission | Style Weekly  The quest by Regina Boone, daughter of the founder of the Richmond Free Press, to find out what happened to her Japanese grandfather after World War II.

Suni Lee, Caeleb Dressel named Sports Illustrated’s Athlete of the Year | NBC  News  “I just want to say thank you to the Hmong community, my parents, my sister who is in the crowd with me, my coaches as well. I’m so thankful for this,” Suni Lee said in her speech.

Students are fed up with racist slurs and bullying. Now they're walking out of class | CNN  Students of color are facing racial slurs and bullying in and outside the classroom, and many who are fed up have been walking out of class, speaking at board meetings and even suing school districts.

Even on U.S. Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out | Pro Publica  Students and scholars from China who criticize the regime in Beijing can face quick retaliation from fellow students and Chinese officials who harass their families back home. U.S. universities rarely intervene.

WATCH: What to expect after U.S. boycott of Beijing Olympics | PBS NewsHour  The U.S. will not send an official diplomatic delegation to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest China's human rights abuses. Amna Nawaz and Victor Cha of Georgetown University break down what this means for U.S.-China relations.

WATCH Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa on the importance of a free press | PBS NewsHour  The Nobel Peace Prize winner Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, editor of "," talked with Judy Woodruff and called for a reform of social media platforms.

The Many Lives of Giant Robot | Monster Children  Giant Robot has transcended generations. Before it was a gallery and pop art store in West Los Angeles, it began in 1994 as a hand-assembled zine, one of the first physical publications in the U.S. to feature Asian and Asian American alternative culture and art.


Campaign strategist and policy advisor Varun Nikore joins us for our latest episode on a new wave of AAPI participation in politics. Listen to Episode 7 here.



  • WEBINAR Reframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers, Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 4 pm PT (7 pm ET). Asian American journalists have brought the AAPI community front and center in the American discourse on race, ethnicity and identity. They shed light on the resilience of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and contextualize racism against Asians in America. Their tireless work helps all of us better understand what it means to be Asian in America, what it was like in the past, and how much has – and has not – changed. Save the date and join the 1990 Institute and U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET) for a panel featuring these trailblazing Asian American journalists on January 20. Sign up now to secure your spot!
    • Joie Chen – Senior Advisor and Faculty Member, Poynter Institute for Media Studies
    • Weija Jiang – Senior White House Correspondent, CBS News 
    • Helen Zia – Activist, Author, and Former Journalist
    • Mei Fong (Moderator) – Chief Communications Officer, Human Rights Watch, and 1990 Advisory Council Member



Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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