A teenager in Chicago uses his voice and the written word to share and celebrate his Chinese-American heritage.
Kara Eng, 16, says she publishes her story not only to create awareness but also to inspire others.
Meadow grew up in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. She is a junior in high school, loves to play volleyball and now she is published author of a remarkable work honoring her legacy.
“There were some tears going into this book, many hours of staring at the screen and overcoming author blocking,” she said. “But in the end, it was all worth it because I’m going to share the importance of who we are as Asian Americans.”
Eng says she loves writing and got the inspiration for her book during the pandemic.
“I fell in love with some of the books that one of my favorite authors wrote about. “It was about this Caucasian family living in the small town of Indiana, and I thought to myself – I want to write books that are just as compelling as her books,” she said.
Eng wanted to incorporate her Sino-American heritage, the richness of her culture, and the history of her family into Chicago’s Chinatown, where her grandmother owned a restaurant.
“We should be proud of who we are and not be ashamed of what we can bring to others,” she said.
Her book, titled “Not Just A Simple Chinese Girl,” reflects parts of her life in the big city.
“It’s just not about Chinese society. It’s also about what’s going on with Asian violence,” she said. “I mentioned it a little bit because I want to create awareness about what’s going on.”
Eng’s book was published last week, which starts the celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islands Heritage Month.
“We have stories to share, it’s beautiful, and it doesn’t matter where you come from or how your life turns out,” she said. “You can be an ordinary person and still have so many things to show other people.”
The book can be purchased through Amazon, or customers can pick up a copy in person on Saturday, May 14 at Chinatown Square from 6 p.m. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.