Description: Published research suggests that literature should transmit ethnic and societal values as well as reassure one's own confidence and self-respect. This study provides a model for examining Asian-American children's and adolescent literature critically from the perspective of identity issues. It examines fifteen award-winning Asian-American children's and adolescent titles written by writers of that culture and published in the United States from 1999 to 2007, with a focus on Chinese (Taiwanese) American, Korean American, and Japanese American books. As published studies indicate, self, social, and ethnic identities are significantly intertwined. Hence, a content analysis was conducted based on these three major groups of categories. The findings of the study demonstrate that even though the selected books cover all three aspects of the identity issues to a certain degree, a considerably greater number of depictions of ethnic identities are made over those of internal identities and social identities. Moreover, less than half of the main characters assume an active role in improving the difficult situation. Two major voids regarding the presentation of social identities are successful social integration and positive social interactions. Recommendations for teaching, writing, illustrating, publishing, and future research are suggested, including publishing more Asian-American books which present an optimistic outlook on life, active conflict-resolving behaviors, and a balance of gender among individuals with whom the main character interacts.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Liu, Yi-chen