Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

This collective biography features Asian Americans who distinguished themselves in the fields of arts, music, literature, sports, media, science, architecture, government, business, and other professions. These brilliant individuals represent six different ethnic groups under the rubric of “Asian American”: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Filipino. Some of them are first-generation Asian Americans—Jose Aruego, Haing Ngor, Dustin Nguyen, June Kuramoto, Samuel Ting, and An Wang—-while the others are of the second or third generation. They come from very different family backgrounds. For example, the father of the famous writer Maxine Hong Kingston was a scholar and schoolteacher in China but after immigrating to the United States went into the laundry business. As a child, Kingston helped with the work in her father’s store. In contrast, the father of renowned architect I. M. Pei was a wealthy banker in China who sent his son to be educated in the United States.

Despite their different backgrounds and professions, the figures in Famous Asian Americans share some characteristics: drive, talent, courage, diligence, persistence, and a belief in themselves. For many of them, success did not come easily. It is these remarkable qualities that enabled them to excel in their fields and realize the American Dream. For example, journalist Connie Chung was always ready to tackle new challenges and scale new heights in her...

(The entire section is 521 words.)