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Former Local Resident Pens Multi-Cultural Children’s Book

Lee Y. Miao grew up locally in the Williamsport area and grew up during a time when Asian-Americans did not always encounter the acceptance they do now. She wanted to write a children’s book that might help children from another culture deal with this. Webb Weekly interviewed her about her book. What do you want

Lee Y. Miao grew up locally in the Williamsport area and grew up during a time when Asian-Americans did not always encounter the acceptance they do now. She wanted to write a children’s book that might help children from another culture deal with this. Webb Weekly interviewed her about her book.
What do you want children to get from your book?

“In ‘Wei to Go!’ (Clear Fork Publishing, 2022), I tell a story of how children — with help from family, friends, and teammates — discover connections to their cultures from the past while facing contemporary challenges. This novel features a word nerdy, twelve-year-old girl and her sports-obsessed brother who travel from California to Hong Kong.

“Unfamiliar customs and habits, such as navigating mass transportation or dining out, are both formidable and comical obstacles. They gain insight into each other’s skills while working as a team to chase down a mysterious mega-corp taking over their dad’s company. The book also features sports, humor, and multicultural family dynamics.”
Did your experiences growing up influence your writing?

“Growing up in Williamsport, my siblings and I were some of the few Asian-Americans kids in town. That’s why it was fun to attend the annual Little League World Series and see people with different backgrounds. When Asian Americans did appear in books or pop culture, they were sometimes misrepresented.

“The sibling characters in my novel don’t fit the stereotypes. Ellie, the main character, isn’t always obedient. English is her forte; she’s not a math and science whiz.

“Her brother Kipp is sports crazy and also probably invented the word ‘play dates.’ I had fun portraying these kids while reflecting on my own zany middle-school years.”
What do you like best about writing this book?

“I worked for a long time in the financial industry before writing K-12 English language arts and social studies educational material. Both followed strict protocols and conventions in their respective ways. When I pivoted to middle-grade fiction, it felt liberating to focus on creative scenes and chapters. For example, I loved writing kids’ actual dialogues with all their imperfections and even inject occasional humor, which I think is important for kids’ books. I also enjoyed writing about places I had visited. My second novel (Clear Fork Publishing, 2023), about the main character’s bestie, also has a few chapters with an international setting in Italy.”

She will hold a book sale/signing from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, at Otto Bookstore. It’s the same day as her WAHS Class of ’72 reunion, so hopefully, she’ll get reacquainted with former classmates.

“Wei To Go!” is available at Otto Bookstore and Amazon.com. Please sign up for her email newsletter or contact Lee with any questions at http://www.leeymiao.com.