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21st Century Storytelling: W.A.R. Person of the Year (more nominees)

Girls For Breakfast was my attempt to write that book. The protagonist, Nick Park, is obnoxious, self-loathing, and projects his frustrations in ways that are far from admirable, which is to say that I tried to offer an utterly real Asian American teenager, warts and all, which in turn offers the polar opposite of some of the very stereotypes I so abhorred growing up. It would have meant the world to read a novel and discover that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It didn’t exactly help my self-esteem to only see Asian Americans portrayed in the movies and on TV as either science nerds or asexual martial artists, and it only feeds ignorance and racism to hew so closely to these stereotypes, which is why I believe the more variety in perspectives we can offer readers the better. -(David Yoo)

“For those who have grown up with a sense of privilege, multicultural literature offers a deeper understanding of the world and the perspectives of people whom readers might not have met personally, but whose lives are on some level intertwined with theirs. It’s crucial for young people to be exposed to the perspectives of others, to develop not just tolerance but empathy and the capacity for critical thinking—as well as the ability to live in a global society in which white, English-speaking people are the minority.” -(Lyn Miller-Lachmann)

What better way to “step into another person’s shoes”? A good book will give a person the experience of someone else. That experience can lead to understanding and empathy. And this is why diversity is so important in literature. EVERY group of people needs to experience that perspective shift, step outside of themselves. And everyone deserves to be the hero at some point. –(Nnedi Okorafor)


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