Sometimes you just gotta ask!
(Me asking): Please consider SUMO JOE picture book
Hello Japanese American National Museum store manager,
My name is Mia Wenjen and I’m the author of a rhyming picture book SUMO JOE. I am half Japanese American and wrote it to show that sumo is not a sport of fat men in diapers, but with a rich history that dates back to the Shinto religion and culture.
The illustrator, Nat Iwata, is also half Japanese American. Our Japanese American parents were both forced from the west coast during WWII. Nat’s father was born in Internment Camp and his grandfather died in one. My mother’s family was forced from Japantown in San Francisco to a remote part of Utah (near where the U.S. military tested nuclear weapons underground prior to bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki) where we had relatives who owned a farm. My mother and her family lived in a tent for four years.
I also wrote two middle grade biography anthologies for ages 8 and up.
Asian Pacific American Heroes profiles 17 Asian Pacific American leaders including half Japanese American scientist Eugenie Clark, and Japanese American chef Niki Nakayama. It’s published by Scholastic and is available here:
I also used this format for Asian Pacific American Heroes to self-publish my Kickstarter book, Changing the Game: Asian Pacific American Female Athletes. I wrote this book in response to my high school daughter’s statement that there are no Asian American female athletes besides Chloe Kim.
Half Japanese-American marathon champion Miki Gorman, Gold Medal swimmer Evelyn Tokue Kawamoto, Gold Medal winner figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic volleyball player Liane Lissa Sato, and half Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka are all featured. More information is here:
As a Japanese American, it would be my honor for my books to be included in your museum store. I used to take my mother to the Japanese American National Museum when we lived in Southern California. She passed away two years ago.
And I was thrilled to hear back:
Love it! You didn’t include ordering information, but I see it was published by Lee and Low. We have an account with them so I will see about ordering it through them. Is it available now?
I will check out the other titles, but right now we are trying to keep our inventory tight to JA-themed books. I will point out that Evelyn Kawamoto made the list of the 101 Americans on our new teacup and tote bag!
Director of Retail Enterprises
Japanese American National Museum
You can purchase Sumo Joe at the Japanese American National Museum here!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.