Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shining Star: The Anna May Story Paula Yoo Lin Wang

Shining Star :The Anna May Story by Paula Yoo illus. Lin Wang. Before I saw this book over at Lee and Low I never thought about the first Asian movie star in Hollywood. Though Anna May story is eerily familiar to first African American movie stars. Being forced to take on stereotypical roles that portray her people in a negative light. Being hate by her people for taking on such roles. Having to work with a White actor made up in "yellow face" to look Asian. Moving to Europe for a few years and finding more acceptance there than in the States. Being denied a roll that was intended for an Asian actress (The Good Earth), since actors of color couldn't kiss white costars. I love the action and aww of the first page. Anna May is daydreaming., she is tied to the train tracks and the train is almost upon her. That in itself should pull in any reader. Wang's illustration's are beautiful. Everything from the dresses, to hairstyles and film equipment is true to the times. I don't know what I enjoyed more a young Anna May's love of movies, or Anna May the actress. Anna May had many difficult decision to make in her life. After a visit to China, she refused to accept any more films that showed the Chinese in an unsympathetic light. Yoo and Wang have collaborated to created a wonderful biography about the first Chinese actress that will hold any ones interest. Ages 7up

If you've never done so, check out LeeandLow books, publishers of multicultural children's books. I love their site, its very easy to maneuver. Once you click on a title of interest, there is an extensive synopsis. As well as interest and reading level. They link to any review and comments. Which I love because its means one less search. Also there is almost always an interview with the author about the book.

Also I want to point out another publisher of multicultural children's literature that I learned about over at Color Online just yesterday. Shen Books emphasizes cultural diversity with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia.


susan said...

I saw this on your shelf. Do I need say I'm adding it to my wish list and tbr? lol

Going to make sure we list Lee & Low.

How about a writing a monthly featured article for Color Online? Pleaseeeeeeee.

Unknown said...

Doret I just checked out Lee and Low, they have some great articles under Educator Administrator. I just entered a goodreads contest on Shining Star.

Have you read any Matt Le Pena?

Doret said...

Susan you'll love it and its nice to see your shelfari shelf back on your blog.

KB I loved Pena's Mexican WhiteBoy. You can search my site for a review.

Ali said...

This looks like a very cool story, I love these kid-friendly biographies of people who are obscure to many, but shouldn't be.

Lenore Appelhans said...

That sounds like something I must have on my shelves too! Great recommendation, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I've take to reading blog posts on m Google Reader. The thing is, I miss all the great posts. There's so much more that can be found in the continuing conversation!

Paula Yoo said...

Hi, this is Paula Yoo. Thank you very much for your kind words about my latest book and hello to all the nice people who posted comments! I had a lot of fun researching the life of Anna May Wong - I read many books about her life and watched a ton of her movies. I thought her story was not only compelling for how she eventually overcame prejudice in Hollywood but also for her strong-willed relationship with her father. I am honored to have Lin Wang as the illustrator.

I'd be happy to send everyone an autographed bookplate if you are interested. Please email me at my website - paula at paulayoo dot com.

Thank you again for your kind words, everyone, and happy reading!

Sincerely, Paula Yoo

Doret said...

Thanks Paula Yoo for stopping by. Congrats to you and Wang on a wonderful book.

MissA said...

This book sounds fantastic! I've never really thought of what it must have been like for the first Asian actors and actresses, but I defintely want to read this book to find out. And the cover is so beautiful :)

Niranjana said...

This sounds really good.

I remember reading an interview with Kal Penn where he said he was being typecast as an Islamic terrorist. And then he decided to take this role in 24 because he refused to be afraid of what people might think just because he was brown. (This is my very garbled version--the original quote is much better.)Anyway, made me think about the kind of burdens actors of color must bear. I will definitely be searching out this book.