Reading lists and book recommendations help kids and teens find titles they might not otherwise pick up on their own. Diverse collections allow young marginalized readers to see themselves in the stories they read, and provide a window to cultures that can be very different from theirs. However, there is no universal experience defining any one culture, and sometimes non-American narratives unfamiliar to a reviewer’s reading history can be overlooked due to prevailing assumptions people may have of a particular culture that aren’t always accurate.
This panel is composed of four Southeast Asian young adult and middle grade authors living outside of the US but with books published in America—Hanna Alkaf (Malaysia), Rin Chupeco (Philippines), Remy Lai, (Australia), and Gail D. Villanueva (Philippines). They will each share their personal experiences regarding publishing in the US while living in Asia and Australia, as well as discuss how their books can still resonate with an American audience. They will point out misassumptions about their respective cultures, and offer ways to combat inaccurate perspectives. This panel will unpack the fallacies of the cultural monolith by exploring how different people can perceive their own culture in multiple ways that can and often vary even among each other, which can aid librarians, teachers, reviewers, and adult readers in helping kids and teens gain access to more varied representations of their own culture and the cultures of others.