If you’re looking for diversity in your media, the internet has a ton of great resources. Bisexual Books. Disability in Kidlit. Diversity in YA, obviously, and Diversity Cross-Check, for references. However, there aren’t as many sites out there that look at Asian issues and the Asian experience. As May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the States, it seems like a great time to check out some Asian books, if we can find them. Fortunately, Book Dragon came to my rescue.
Book Dragon is a Smithsonian-run initiative organized by the Korean-American Terry Hong, a member of the advisory board of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center. Hong has looked often at the Asian Pacific American experience through the lens of books, theatre, and film, and has written and taught in the field as well. Although Book Dragon doesn’t focus solely on Asian books—that depends on what Hong feels like reading—the great majority of the books center on Asian themes and characters.
The Book Dragon blog includes Hong’s reviews of books and interviews with authors, and it often cross-posts her work for other sites as well. It has a fun tagging system (at the bottom of the page, for those who, like me, had trouble finding it) that includes such categories as “Absolute Favorites” and “Awful Duds”—Hong can eviscerate and appreciate with equal fervor, all in the same lively, entertaining prose. It also has tags specifically organizing its book reviews under origin/ethnic background and under genre—biography, fiction, memoirs, and the like.
If you want a great Asian book resource, Book Dragon should fill that niche well. It’s nice to finally see a site which not only recommends books, but can offer a personal, articulate reason as to whether or not to read that book. Not all representation is good representation, but many people don’t have the requisite background to tell which is which. Although “good” is always subjective in books—of course Hong’s opinion doesn’t stand for the opinion of all Asians—Book Dragon gives you a good starting point for figuring that out.
You can find Book Dragon at its website, Twitter, and Facebook. Check it out!
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