cover image I Am Golden

I Am Golden

Eva Chen, illus. by Sophie Diao. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-84205-3

In this richly metaphoric celebration of Chinese American identity, Chen (Roxy the Last Unisaurus Rex) offers a love letter from two parents to their child Mei: “You carry a golden flame... and it’s always with you.” Emigrating from China to New York City—signified by Lady Liberty—Mei’s parents adjust with Mei’s help, as displayed in a particularly striking spread: “In this upside-down world, clever child, you have become our teacher and translator,” the text reads, as the neon billboards of Times Square reflect a clear, star-studded night sky above the family’s home in China. Subsequent pages acknowledge that Mei may face othering (“People tell you that you’re different and you can’t be one of them”), before lyrical, sensorial spreads affirm power in difference: “You are the lotus flower unfurling—triumphant and bright—in the darkest water.... Your voice is the call of the magpie, joyful and unapologetic.” Luminous, gently textured digital art by Diao (Sarah and the Big Wave) includes thoughtful, recognizably Chinese cues that add further dimension, including a jade necklace and a good fortune–signifying upside-down Fú character. A loving, affecting tribute to how children of immigrants can serve as bridges and torchbearers for their communities. Back matter includes author’s and illustrator’s notes. Ages 4–6. (Feb.)