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About


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - MY STORY


Photo of author Katrina Liu
Author Katrina Liu and daughter Mina
Photo of author Katrina Liu

Hi! My name is Katrina Liu and I’m proud to call myself an American-born-Chinese /Taiwanese mom and children’s book author from San Francisco.

I grew up in the 80s/90s and went to a predominantly white elementary school. I was EXTREMELY shy and insecure as a child. I pushed away everything about my culture because of how badly I wanted to fit in with the other kids. I purposely stopped speaking Chinese at home and hated eating Chinese food. I was trying to erase so much of myself that in the 6th grade, my school forgot to put my picture in the yearbook. My ENTIRE grade only had 30 kids ---I was that forgettable.

As a child, you’d find me do creative things, whether it was designing friendship bracelets, making short films, writing poems, or drawing storybooks. I loved reading as a kid, especially The Babysitter’s Club series because the character, Claudia, was one of the few Asian characters in children’s literature that I could identify with and it made me feel less different.

When I got my own computer and began to channel my creative energy into teaching myself graphic design. I spent all my free time on the computer. I remember my mother’s nagging voice yelling at me about how I was wasting my life away. I had dreams of becoming an artist, but like most Asian households, that path was not an acceptable choice.

Instead, I pursued a career in business, got my MBA, and eventually ended up in Silicon Valley as a product manager in tech. In my 20s, I was left with all these preconceived ideas about earning a stable income and climbing the corporate ladder.

Author Katrina Liu and daughter Mina

After a decade of rinse and repeat in my professional career, I became a mom. It’s amazing how much your perspective and priorities change when you bring a child into this world. As I watched my daughter, Mina, grow, I witnessed the pure joy she has when drawing with a crayon or creating her own world with play-doh. It reminded me of myself when I was in her shoes and this made me realize how much I missed the arts. After late hours in the office, I’d rush home in excitement to read bedtime stories with her. We’d cuddle, admire the colorful illustrations and giggle as I made funny voices as I read.

As my daughter was about to embark on her next milestone of going to school, l hoped and wished that she would have a better experience than I did. That she could feel confident in herself and proud of her culture and heritage. I also wanted her to have the opportunity to be bilingual ---something that I always regretted pushing away during my childhood. I knew it would be a challenge living in the US in a prominently English-speaking environment.

That’s how I came up with this crazy idea to write my own bilingual children’s book in both Chinese and English for non-native speakers. I took out my savings to publish my first book and... it was so rewarding! There was nothing more fulfilling than creating something that was meaningful to me and my daughter. Since then, I’ve published several books inspired by my daughter.

Fluency in a language is most easily gained if a child is exposed within the first few years of life. I created these books for non-native speakers and like-minded parents interested in fostering the development of dual-language with their children.

My mission is to add more Asian faces into the world of children’s books and to leave a legacy for my daughter by creating books where she can see herself reflected in them.

As an independent author, this passion project is self-funded, so I really appreciate your support. If you support my mission to add more Asian representation to children’s books or share my values in dual language learning, I hope you will share my books with your community, friends, and family.

To learn more, Chalk Academy has interviewed me about my process and project. You can read the interview here.

Thank you!

作者簡介 - 我的故事

你好!我叫Katrina Liu, 一位居住在舊金山的美籍華裔媽媽兼兒童書作家。

我是成長在80/90年代的孩子 ,上小學的同學大部分是白人。我當時非常害羞不安,為了融入環境,任何關於自己文化的東西都被我拒絕了。我在家裡故意停止了講中文,連中國菜也沒心情吃了。 我當時在盡量抹掉自己的身份,甚至我六年級的年鑑照片完全被學校漏掉了。更糟糕的是,全班只有30個人!我似乎變成了鬼人。

我小時候一直很喜歡做有創意的事情,要麼是設計友誼手鏈、拍短片、寫詩、還是畫圖畫書我都做過。我那時也愛上了看書,而給我印象最深的人物之一是《保姆俱乐部》的Claudia。兒童文學裡的亞裔人物不多,所以看到她在那本書反映了我自己的文化和長相給我帶來了巨大的安慰。

當我買到了自己的電腦,我就把我所有的精力和時間集中到學美編。我還記得我媽媽當時的嘮叨,說我在浪費自己的生活。我那時候的夢想就是成為藝術家,但像很多亞裔家庭的情況一樣,那條路往往是不可走的。

反而,我选择了进入商业学校,後來獲得了MBA學位,最後在硅谷的一家科技公司當了產品經理。於是20幾歲的那幾年我就忙著保持穩定的收入和促進自己的事業。

经过10年的事业发展,我終於成为了妈妈。生孩子完全改變了我的人生觀。每次看我女兒米娜在畫畫兒或玩彩泥時感到那麼快樂,我禁不住也想了起來自己對藝術的喜愛。下班後我會興奮地趕緊回家陪她讀睡前故事,在用有趣的聲音講故事和欣賞可愛的插畫中我們找到了母女能共享的歡樂。

在米娜將要上學的那時候,我熱切遠望她的童年會比我的精彩很多,希望她能夠自豪地擁抱她的文化和傳統。雖然居住在美國這個英文為日常語言的環境意味著學中文不會那麼簡單,我還是想要鼓勵她學雙語,提供給她那個我一直後悔沒有抓住的機會。

因此我決定了為中文非母語的人編寫中英雙語兒童書。我取出了自己的儲蓄資助這份工程,而沒想到出版我第一本書原來是個非常有益的經驗!從此,我繼續出版了幾本兒童書。以我的女兒為靈感,我創造了一個對我們兩個人富有意義的珍寶。

孩子学语言越早,流利度越容易增高,所以我特意為對雙語教育有興趣的中文非母語學生和家長們邊寫出了這系列書,以便提供更多的中英雙語學習資源。

目前我的目標是增加兒童文學裡的亞裔人物,傳播亞裔文化,和給我的女兒留下一個能夠反應她自己身份和文化的文學遺產。

作为独立作家,我非常感谢你们对这项獨資工程的支持。如果你們支持亞裔文化在兒童文學裡的傳播,或者是跟我一樣支持雙語教育,希望你們能與家人和朋友們分享這些書,讓大家一起慶祝亞裔文化!

想了解更多,我在Chalk Academy的採訪中講解了這份工程的背景,歡迎在此閱讀。

谢谢!

Photo of author Katrina Liu
Author Katrina Liu and daughter Mina

MEET THE ILLUSTRATORS

Illustrator Rosalia Destarisa
ROSALIA DESTARISA

I Love My Grandpa, Mina's Scavenger Hunt, Mina's Ups and Downs

Rosalia Destarisa, also known as Desta, is a freelance children’s book illustrator currently living in Indonesia. She graduated in 2016 from Universitas Sebelas Maret with a degree in Visual Communication Design. She works in a small city called Solo. Desta enjoys playing video games and taking her cat, Hero, out for walks. You can check out her artwork on Instagram: @pink.licorice, and her blog: pinklicorice.tumblr.com.

 

Illustrator Heru Setiawan
HERU SETIAWAN

Let's go on a hike!

Heru Setiawan is a talented illustrator from Indonesia and a passionate introvert. He loves creating stories through drawings. His delightfully unrefined with softly painted brushes and cozy calm colors which distinguishes his unique artwork style. After graduating with a degree in visual communication design from ITS Surabaya, Heru spends most of his time resting and making illustrations for children's books, animations, with a small team of friends. He can be found on Instagram under the name of @_hrstwn, on his Behance page be.net/hrstwn, and of course in his small house in Gresik. 

 

Illustrator Anselm Medina
ANSELM MEDINA

Mina's First Day of School

Anselm is a digital illustrator from Lima, Peru. He has a bachelor's degree in graphic design from Pontificia Universidad Católica Del Perú, Peru. He enjoys reading books and playing videogames. He primarily illustrates children's books and is passionate about coming up with fresh ideas for his drawings. 

 

Illustrator Dhidit Prayoga
DHIDIT PRAYOGA

I love BOBA!

Dhidit Prayoga a 21-year-old artist from Pekanbaru, Indonesia. He has been drawing since elementary school and loves watching cartoon series like Doraemon. Graduated from a vocational school majoring in animation, now he is studying at Padang State University and at the same time working as a children's story illustrator.