Room to Dream: Exploring the Asian American Experience With Kelly Yang and Dr. Don Vu

May 13, 2021

Room to Dream: Exploring the Asian American Experience With Kelly Yang and Dr. Don Vu

In this episode, we spotlight Asian American heritage and the immigrant experience with author Kelly Yang and educator Don Vu.

Kelly is the award-winning author of the bestselling Front Desk series for middle-graders. She has won numerous accolades for her work, including the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. Here, she talks with podcast host Suzanne McCabe about her writing journey and about Room to Dream, the latest title in her wildly popular series about the indomitable Mia Tang. It’s due out September 21. 

Kelly also describes the struggles that she faced immigrating to the U.S. with her parents when she was a child. “You don’t have to strip away everything about yourself to conform,” she says. “That was a hard lesson for me growing up because there were definitely times I felt that pressure.”

Later in the episode, Dr. Don Vu, an educator with more than two decades of experience in the classroom, talks about his new book, Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Supporting Our Immigrant and Refugee Children Through the Power of Reading. Educators and parents will want to hear Dr. Vu’s incredible insights into helping young students thrive as readers, writers, and learners. He also tells the moving story of his own family’s escape from Vietnam in 1975, when the city of Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces.

Dr. Vu’s experiences as a refugee growing up in California helped him develop empathy for families much like his, who arrive in America with little more than a dream.   


Front Desk: Learn more about author Kelly Yang and her books for young people.

Life, Literacy, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Learn more about Dr. Don Vu and his new title for educators.

19 Books by Asian & Pacific Islander Americans to Read All Year: Here are lots of great titles to share with the young readers in your life. 

Special Thanks:

Producer: Bridget Benjamin

Associate producer: Constance Gibbs

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan

Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

Coming Soon:

Celebrating Pride Month with authors Leah Johnson and Molly Knox Ostertag

Inside the music biz with authors Tami Charles and Lamar Giles

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