Strong Girl Characters: A Discussion with AAPI Women Writers

Presented by: School Library Journal
Event Date and Time: Monday, April 29 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET / 10:00 - 11:00 AM PT


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For this free event, we ask women writers of AAPI descent: How do you create strong, independent female characters, and what is the most important thing you want to impart to young readers?

Multiple-award–winning authors of fiction and nonfiction will discuss how they spotlight historical topics and themes through tales of AAPI women and girls and what matters most to them when portraying female characters in their fiction.


Hena Khan is the author of multiple children's books, many of which focus on contemporary Muslim life, including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns; Under My Hijab; and Amina's Voice, which was named to multiple best-of-the-year lists. Born and raised in Maryland, she now lives near Washington, DC, with her family. Her forthcoming books include Behind My Doors: The Story of the World’s Oldest Library, The Door Is Open: Stories of Celebration and Community by 11 Desi Voices (both April 2024), and We Are Big Time (August 2024). Please visit her online at and follow her at @henakhanbooks.

Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medal winner for A Single Shard and #1 New York Times best-selling author of A Long Walk to Water, is the renowned author of many books for young readers, including picture books, poetry, and historical and contemporary fiction. Born in Illinois, she has also lived in California, England, and Ireland. She now lives in Western New York. Learn more at

Christina Soontornvat is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than 20 books for young readers. She is a three-time Newbery Honor recipient whose works include All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, which also received the Sibert Honor and the Kirkus Prize for Young People’s Literature. Her forthcoming book Made in Asian America: A History for Young People, coauthored with Erika Lee, publishes in April 2024. Born and raised in Texas, Christina currently resides in Austin with her family.

Moderator Elisa Ung is an award-winning writer, book collaborator, and former news reporter and food critic. She is passionate about empowering people from diverse backgrounds to tell their stories. She is co-author of Mango and Peppercorns, a memoir with recipes, about a Vietnamese refugee who escaped the fall of Saigon and became a noted American chef. It won the 2022 International Association of Culinary Professionals award for Literary or Historical Food Writing. She is a former state government reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a former restaurant reviewer and columnist for The (Bergen) Record and


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