Celebrate and learn about the many cultures that fall under the Asian American umbrella in this alphabetically organized, rhyming, and colorfully illustrated picture book for kids.
“The ABCs of Asian American History,” written by Renee Macalino Rutledge and illustrated by Lauren Akazawa Mendez, to be published in April by Bloom Books for Young Readers (Ulysses Press), is an inclusive compilation of the holidays, famous figures, traditional dress, cuisine, and other interesting facts from 19 Asian American groups (as defined by the 2020 U.S. Census), including Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Pakistani Americans, Japanese Americans, Hmong Americans, and more.
Perfect for kids ages five and up, “The ABCs of Asian American History” explores Asian Americans in the U.S. cultural landscape, from the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal to the first Indian American woman to travel to space, as well as the names of famous Asian American inventors, artists, and political leaders.
Kids will also learn about traditions, from Diwali to Chinese New Year; music and fashion styles, from the tabla to the sari; and signature dishes, like laksa and pho, giving greater visibility to Asian Americans for the youngest of learners.
“Asian American history is U.S. history. In ways big and small,” said the author. “Did you know that the N95 mask was invented by a Taiwanese American scientist? Or that the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was Maya Lin, whose parents emigrated from China? It was impossible to include enough about the contributions of Asian Americans to U.S. history in one place, but this book acts as a door, helping readers gain an understanding of that vastness and legacy, and the many heroes, past and present, to celebrate.”
A much-needed addition to the classroom, home library, or gift bag, “The ABCs of Asian American History” will inspire important conversations, offer a tool for inclusivity in early learning, and encourage anyone reading to be a changemaker in their own right.
About the Author
Renee Macalino Rutledge was born in Manila and raised in California from the age of four. Her debut novel, “The Hour of Daydreams,” won an Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Finalist award, Foreword INDIES Gold, and Powell’s Top Five Staff Pick. In addition to “One Hundred Percent Me,” she is also the author of the children’s book “Buckley the Highland Cow & Ralphy the Goat,” a story about overcoming hardship with the help of our friends, who are often very different from ourselves.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she reads books for a living, loves the outdoors, and is always on the lookout for new adventures with her husband and their two daughters. Find her at www.reneerutledge.com or connect with her on Instagram (@renee_rutledge).
About the Illustrator
Lauren Akazawa Mendez is a fourth-generation Japanese American children’s book illustrator and graphic designer living in Washington. Born in Southern California, she received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and taught art for eight years, but has been creating since she first drew on her sister’s face at three years old. When not scribbling on something, she goes bug hunting with her little boy and husband, bakes yummy treats for friends, and stays up way too late reading fantasy novels.
Visit her at http://littlelobo.com or connect with her on Instagram (@littleloboart).