Guest Post by Wendy Xu
I work with stories both at my day job (publishing) and night job (comics), and conversations, thinkpieces, and articles around representation in media are prevalent almost every second of my waking life. We've heard many voices on how Hollywood stifles and whitewashes (Ghost in the Shell, The Great Wall, etc) and how progress in film and television is appallingly slow. It can be a real bummer, and definitely brings to light some glaring social issues that continuously need to be addressed and corrected and held accountable.
But I think that sometimes, we need some levity and inspiration in our lives to remind us to keep fighting when the battle seems tough. And in the war against whitewashing in media, one front that keeps churning out victory after victory: the outstanding, award-winning, NYT-bestselling Asian American authors in the young adult publishing industry.
For those unfamiliar, "Young Adult" (YA) is a marketing term for stories that cater to the (roughly) 13-18 crowd, and has become a huge portion of the children's lit world in the last few years, after the phenomenal success of books like Harry Potter. It spans all genres — fantasy, sci-fi, slice of life, horror, you name it. I grew up reading a lot of young adult fantasy, and it was actually in those books that I discovered Asian representation for the first time. Authors like Tamora Pierce and JK Rowling, flawed as they are, paved the way for me to see girls like me having magical adventures.