The author of our series Amazing-Asian Americans, Ai-Ling Louie, also wrote Yeh-Shen, A Cinderella Story from China.
Ai-Ling grew up a thoroughly Asian and American child. She went to public school in Oceanside, NY. Her mother was the first Chinese American teacher hired by the New York City Public Schools. In the 1940's, her father, was hired by a tap and tool manufacturing company as a machinist. He was the first non-white employee and rose to become a manager. She grew up hearing stories from her parents and their friends about their struggle for acceptance as truly American. Ai-Ling graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, Wheelock College's Master's in Education program and with a Master in Library Studies from Rutgers University.
While working as a children's librarian, a question from a child, who was assigned a book report for Asian American History month, got Ms. Louie thinking about how few biographies there were about her own people. Her first book was about Vera Wang, fashion designer, her schoolmate at Sarah Lawrence College. They met when they were both freshman. Next, she wrote about Yo-Yo Ma, the cellist, and his big sister, Yeou-Cheng. Ms. Louie then wrote the first children's bio published in the US about an South Asian American, Astronaut Kalpana Chawla. Kalpana was born in India. Congresswoman Patsy Mink, Ms. Louie's latest subject, changed American education and sports, especially for women. Yet, her name is not well-known. Ms. Louie spent 3 summers at the Library of Congress, immersed in reading through Rep. Mink's papers.
Invite Ms. Louie to speak at your school, library, or club.
"Many thanks to Ms., Ai-Ling Louie who gave a wonderful presentation at the Rutgers Nutritional Sciences Preschool Read-A-Thon Finale... She is a warm, well-spoken lady who engages the children throughout her presentation and she entertained the parents as well with anecdotes and information about how she creates her stories." Lana Savron-Abbott