You Are Here: Connecting Flights

Harper/Allida. Mar. 2023. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063239081.
Gr 4-7–In this beautifully written short story anthology edited by Oh, every main character has three things in common: they are all East or Southeast Asian American; they are all stuck in an international Chicago airport with every flight delayed or canceled; and they all have racist interactions, most of them with the same white woman in a pink sweater who repeatedly spouts anti-Asian xenophobic comments. As quoted in Linda Sue Park’s introduction, each author (including Erin Entrada Kelly, Grace Lin, and Christina Soontornvat) is “refusing to buy into the model-minority fraud, they’re exploring what it means to be Asian American on their own terms.” All of these characters are on unique journeys (shuttling between divorced parents, aspiring to become a rock star, visiting family in Thailand) and readers can feel how the authors bring their own life experiences to them. Every intertwined story builds on one another, allowing readers to see the same interactions from different angles and perspectives. Many of the characters experience racism so casual (and in a setting heavily informed by contemporary pandemic-related sinophobia) that it will probably make some readers examine their own biases, unconscious or not. In a world where anti-Asian hate is on the rise and a mass shooting occurred on the Lunar New Year, this collection is not only important, but essential.
VERDICT A must-purchase for all middle grade collections.

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