ABOUT THE AUTHOR - MY STORY
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.
MEET THE ILLUSTRATORS
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.