Shining a Light: Celebrating 40 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Changed the World

Clarion/Versify. Mar. 2023. 112p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358539353.
Gr 4-7–Readers should not be fooled by the familiar faces dotting the cover of this biography collection; the bulk of these entries cover not-often-taught Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who made history, such as activist Channapha Khamvongsa and Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang. Written in chronological order from oldest to youngest subject, each entry (accompanied by a full-page portrait) features one person of AAPI descent and their contributions to the world. A common theme throughout each figure’s story is that each of them overcame struggles, be it racism, classism, sexism, or more. Of important note is that all biographies end with the accolades and recognitions each person received, either while alive or posthumously. Ngai’s vibrant illustrations open each profile and are truly a work of art. They are imbued with meaning and symbolism, rounding this out into a visually stunning book. Back matter includes a Historical Glossary of significant political and cultural events, and a bibliography.
VERDICT A must-have nonfiction title for upper elementary and middle school libraries.

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