A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Brief references to Chinese mythological creatures and Chinese foods.
Being Chinese American or Asian American is beautiful. Having "golden skin" is beautiful. There's power in being different. It's OK to feel alone sometimes.
Positive Role Models
Mei is well loved by her family, parents, and grandparents. They remind Mei that she's wonderful and carries within her a golden flame that connects her to her family and ancestors. In reaction to kids at school making fun of her, Mei's family help her to not feel bad about being different from other kids.
I Am Golden is about a Chinese American family and their immigrant experience. The daughter, Mei, is the central character, along with her parents and grandparents. Shows how it feels to have kids at school make fun of you for being Asian.
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Violence & Scariness
Kids at school (illustrated as shadows) point and laugh at Mei, but she doesn't look sad or angry. Mei's parents mention paying tribute to those they've "lost along the way."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Am Golden is a bright and colorful picture book by New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen, about a girl named Mei and her Chinese American immigrant family. Beautifully illustrated by Sophie Diao, this book talks about feeling different and what it might feel like being an Asian American kid growing up in Měi Guó (America). One scene deals with being made fun of for looking different or Asian. The art features images of Chinese culture, mythology, and history. There are dragons, phoenixes, jade rabbits, lotus flowers, magpies, bamboo, sesame balls, steamed pork buns, and family photos. The text is written in the second person, addressed directly to the main character, Mei. At the end of the book are notes from both the author and the illustrator, each telling their own story of what it was like growing up Asian American.
Is It Any Good?
This gorgeous picture book is a welcome addition to strong and empowered representations of Asian American identity and culture in all its variety. Chinese American girl Mei is growing up as both "teacher and translator" to her family and a "bridge" between two cultures and countries, represented as fearless, powerful, and happy. Every page of I Am Golden shows off Chinese culture, tradition, history, and diversity. The book simply and effectively presents the positive messages that being different is beautiful and that we can stand up to racism. It's a wonderful expression of Chinese American and Asian American identity, and the story reads well, is easy to understand, and packs in lots of great words and imagery. The notes from the book's creators at the end provide meaningful commentary on the Asian American immigrant experience.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
Kids' Books About the Immigrant Experience
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