Get to Know Asian American Children’s Authors: Arree Chung, Author and Illustrator of Ninja!
Hi everyone! This week, I’m excited to have Arree Chung, author and illustrator of numerous books, including Ninja!. Based on his responses here, it looks like he’s working on a middle grade novel as well. Can’t wait to see it!
1) Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?
Well, the character I relate to most is a middle grade book I’m working on titled, Ming Lee. I relate to it the most, well because it’s largely autobiographical!
Ming Lee explores what it means to be American. As an ABC (American Born Chinese), I didn’t completely identify with American or Chinese culture. I felt stuck in-between and belonging to none. When I tried to fit in either culture, I failed at both. I didn’t have the cool clothes the white kids had at school and I couldn’t speak Chinese.
Through making a few friends and some embarrassing moments, I learned that there really was no such thing as an American. We all come from different places and I learned that the other “cool” kids at school experienced the same things I experienced- just through a different cultural lens. What made us all American is that we were growing up together and learning about each other. That made us American.
I’m developing the story now and am very excited about it.
Read lots of different things. Reading is magical because it gives you the ability to look inside somebody else’s mind. Through reading, you’ll learn about different ideas and cultures.
Read things that you like already but also try subjects that you many not think you are interested in. You’ll be surprised!
3) Who is your favorite Asian American children’s author or illustrator right now (other than yourself)?
Well, I have several, so I’ll list a few, ok?
About the Author:
Arree Chung is the author and illustrator of the popular picture book, Ninja!, which has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal and has been named one of Amazon’s best books for 2014. Ninja! was also named one of NPR’s best children’s books of 2014. Ninja!, Attack of the Clan the followup to Ninja! will be releasing in 2016, along with How to Pee: Potty Training for Girls and Fix-it Man. Arree has a two picture book contract with MacMillan and is also illustrating books from other publishers.