Famous Asian Americans Critical Context - Essay

Wendy Dunn

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Outstanding minority figures were once underrepresented in juvenile biographies, but, with the concept of multiculturalism, biographies of these figures began to enter the mainstream of juvenile literature. Indian Chiefs (1987), by Russell Freedman; Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman? (1992), by Patricia C. and Fredrick McKissack; and Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary (1993), by Walter Dean Myers, are excellent examples of such works, to name only a few. Morey and Dunn’s Famous Mexican Americans (1989) and Famous Asian Americans are among the best collective biographies of prominent minority people to come out of this trend. The authors present the accomplishments and contributions of contemporary minority heroes to a young audience in a concise yet comprehensive manner. They are recommended as reading materials for multicultural literature courses at the college level and for multicultural education units at the primary and secondary levels.

Famous Asian Americans can be seen as a sequel to Famous Mexican Americans, featuring the same number of individuals and sharing the same format and style with its predecessor. Both books are characterized by a well-crafted treatment of the subjects’ ethnic experiences and aspirations, but the latter is an improvement upon the former. Famous Asian Americans highlights its subjects’ experiences in a vigorous, exciting narrative, unencumbered by facts and dates, animated and enriched by glimpses and insights from the subjects and their family members and assistants.