Title: Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story
Author: Paula Yoo
Illustrator: Lin Wang
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Concepts: discrimination, jobs, human resources
Review: Already at an early age, Anna May Wong had started working in her parents’ laundry business in Los Angeles’s Chinatown to help support the family. Although the physically demanding work often left her with aching arms and burn marks on her hands, she delighted in the few cents she could earn from customer tips and often spent the money on an afternoon matinee at the cinema. Anna May adored the movies and dreamed of becoming a movie star; frequent opportunities over time to watch filmmakers on movie sets around Los Angeles just strengthened her resolve.
Her persistence, appearance, and willingness to work hard in endless small parts ultimately paid off as she became Hollywood’s first Chinese-American movie star and the first Asian-American to gain international fame for her acting abilities and keen sense of fashion. However, through much of her career, discriminatory practices in the United States placed tight constraints on the number and types of roles she could play. With its informative text and captivating illustrations, this excellent book introduces younger children to the complexities of cultural and social norms that Anna May Wong faced as she achieved international stardom.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children