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The Anna May Wong Story

by Paula Yoo and illustrated by Lin Wang

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60060-259-7
Publisher: Lee & Low

The first Chinese-American movie star grew up in Los Angeles’s Chinatown, working in her family’s laundry, going to the movies every chance she got and even skipping school to watch the action on a local movie set. She went from an extra to a star, even though the roles she was given were often stereotypical, from “china doll” to “dragon lady.” When she visited China for the first time, after her parents had retired there, she vowed to fight the stereotypes. Wang’s watercolor-and-acrylic pictures are sometimes quite lovely set pieces, like a graceful adult Anna May with floral hat and tea cup, but are too often static tableaux in which the figures seem unrelated to one another and to the space they occupy. Yoo’s earnest text illuminates the actress’s life and times (she made more than 50 films before her death in 1961), but without much energy or engagement. The author’s note does not clarify whether the quoted dialogue is invented or actual. (sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)