I’m thrilled to announce a new picture book through Red Comet Press. We Sing from the Heart: How the Slants® Took Their Fight for Free Speech to the Supreme Court by Mia Wenjen, illustrated by Victor Bizar Gomez. This is the story of Simon Tam, the leader of the popular all-Asian-American dance-pop band, The Slants®, and his nine-year battle to trademark his band’s name.
I met Simon Tam during his first appeal when he was asking Asian Americans to write letters of support that they did not believe that his band’s name was harmful to Asian Americans. I made him talk to me over the phone before I would commit to make sure that I understood what was at stake. When the conversation ended, I felt like a proud Asian American mother, even though I wasn’t Simon’s actual mother. Simon was precisely on time for the call. He was so well-spoken and convincing. His emails were also beautifully written. I was so proud of him and his cause. My letter was part of the 14 inches of support in the appeal case that he lost.
There is much more to this story that includes bullying, finding pride in your Asian identity, being true to yourself, and racism. It’s also the story of Simon Tam, who persevered in this lonely battle. I hope this picture book biography finds its way into the schools, especially the ones that are now incorporating Asian American history into their curriculum.
I feel very lucky to be working with this incredible team: Angus Yuen-Killick, Michael Yuen-Killick, Simon Tam, and Victor Bizar Gomez. Sometimes the stars just align …
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Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World
- Junior Library Guild Gold selection
- Selected as one of 100 Outstanding Picture Books of 2023 by dPICTUS and featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
- Starred review from School Library Journal
- Chicago Library’s Best of the Best
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.