Exploring Bicultural Experiences: Responding to a Chinese American Young Adult Novel

Shwuyi Leu

Abstract


Reading and responding to ethnic literature that is reflective of one’s own experiences often has significant value for the younger members of the parallel cultures. This paper reports the results of the responses of young adult and adult Asian and Asian American readers to a Chinese American young adult novel set in the 1920’s. The findings suggest that (1) cultural background played a major role in reader response, (2) cross-cultural reading responses revealed readers’ ethnic identity development, especially when dealing with between-world situations, and (3) Chinese Americans continue to experience racial discrimination today. Implications for educators include the importance of critical literacy and the inclusion of multiethnic literature in the K-12 curriculum.


Keywords


reading; parallel cultures; Chinese American; young adult novel; critical literacy; multiethnic literature

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