Author and Illustrator Gabrielle Wang who has won the Australian Children’s Literature Laureate, will be doing the tour of Australian schools over the next 2 years. In addition to promoting the power of reading, Wang also plans to address issues around being Asian and the cultural shame many Asian/Asian Australian students have – we are sure this is something many of us who grew up Asian in Australia understand.
What an awesome mission and goal this is. The cultural shame and self hate/loathing is something no one should ever go through, but it is an experience all too common to us who identify as being Asian. It is a repercussion of racism, discrimination, being a visible minority in Australia and with the current climate of anti-Asian hate, it is important that someone like Wang will talk about this in schools.
Wang is also the 7th Australian Children’s Literature Laureate and she wants to instill cultural pride and cultural awareness among school age children in Australia. Melbourne based Wang tells SBS that the idea to start writing a children’s book with The Empress of Garden Cassia came in the form of a dream in 1999. Never ever thinking she would be an accomplished writer, Wang has now written 20 books and will start her position as the 7th laureate.
Here is what she told SBS News about how she felt when she received the news:
“It’s a huge role and I had never thought of myself worthy of it,”
She also spoke about her identity issues growing up and reconciling who she was and is as an Asian Australian after hearing from teachers that many students felt ashamed of being Asian (via SBS News):
“Because that was how I felt [growing up], but years and years ago when Australia was very racist,”
“Australia is an amazing place. There’s so much diversity [now]. They should not feel like that.”
“it’s been anti-Chinese ever since the gold rush in the 1800s.”
“In order to feel like you belong, you need to see yourselves in stories,”
What an awesome laureate for all Australian school children to learn from.
Images via Twitter and Gabrielle Wang website
To read the original and full article, please click on: Need for change: Australian children’s literature laureate on mission to tackle racism in schools