Mirrors and Windows and Bridges
Hapa Day was created as a symbol of love for multiracial/multiethnic individuals around the world. For the last several years, I've put my own spin on this celebration by putting out a list of YA titles that feature a hapa Main Character and/or a hapa Love Interest. Why? Because the two kids to the left (a.k.a. my now teen-aged kids) essentially gave up on American YA books because they didn't see themselves represented at all. They turned to anime and manga instead to see teens who look like themselves. So, whether you are hapa yourself (mirrors), want to understand the bicultural teen experience (windows), or are an adult looking for titles for both of these groups (bridges), please enjoy the list below.
**Want to buy one of these books? Click on the book, and it will take you to its sale page on Indiebound.org.**
According to EverythingHapa:
adj. 1. slang. Of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry.
n. 2. slang. A person of such ancestry. [der./hawaiian: hapa haole. (half white)]
Hapa, literally “half” in Hawaiian, was originally used as a derogatory term to describe people of biracial ancestry. Today, many multiracial individuals of Asian or Pacific Islander descent have embraced the word as a term of prideful self-identification. Although some object to the term’s appropriation and perceived misuse outside of its traditional Hawaiian context, “Hapa” has been widely adopted by the Asian and Pacific Islander multiracial communities.
**Though Japan often uses haafu to describe biracial individuals, my teens prefer the Hawaiian term hapa.**
BONUS: Hapa Day is also Pi Day. So feel free to make your favorite pie (pecan pie for me, thanks!) and schedule a Family Movie Night celebrating my favorite pair of hapa brothers, Hiro and Tadashi Hamada.
Special shout outs to Akemi Dawn Bowman, Lissa Price, Heidi Heilig, Kristen Simmons, and Lauren Nicolle Taylor who are hapa themselves. Though technically her book is middle grade and loosely about her Japanese mother's experience in Hiroshima during WWII, I'm still putting Kathleen Burkinshaw on my list of hapa authors, because she is awesome.
Hapa Day ~ March 14th