YellowBridge Chinese Language & Culture
Chinese Language Center

Famous Chinese Americans Literature and Drama

  Who What
Adeline Yen Mah

b. 1937, Tianjin

Author and physician. She is best known for her autobiography,Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter, where she recounts her childhood under her uncaring father and Eurasian stepmother. She retold the story as a children's book in Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter.  Her two latest works, Watching the Tree and A Thousand Pieces of Gold: A Memoir of China's Character in Its Proverbs, attempt to explain Chinese culture through the prism of her personal experience.

Amy Tan

b. 1952, Oakland

Most successful Chinese American writer. She had a successful career writing business speeches before she turned to fiction. Her first work, The Joy Luck Club, a collection of interrelated stories, spent eight months on the NY Times bestseller lists and was turned into a successful movie. Her own difficult relationship with her immigrant mother were the inspiration for The Kitchen God's Wife and The Bonesetter's Daughter. She also wrote The Hundred Secret Senses and two children books, Moon Lady and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.

Jade Snow Wong

b. 1922, San Francisco

Writer and artist. She is best known for her autobiography, Fifth Chinese Daughter, which recounts her coming of age in the San Francisco Chinatown of the 1930-1940s, punctuated by the clash of American individualism and traditional Chinese values.  She continued her story in No Chinese Stranger.

Laurence Yep

b. 1948, San Francisco

Prolific author of children books with a Chinese American theme. He is the author of several popular series and many individual titles. The Golden Mountain Chronicles deals with early Chinese Americans. Two of the books in the series,  Dragon's Gate (Golden Mountain Chronicles, 1867) and Dragonwings (Golden Mountain Chronicles, 1903), received the prestigious Newbery Honor Award for children books. The fantasy series encompasses Dragon of the Lost Sea and three sequels, Dragon Steel, Dragon Cauldron, Dragon War. The Chinatown Mystery series includes The Case of the Goblin Pearls and The Case of the Lion Dance. Other popular titles are Ribbons,.Mountain Light, and Child of the Owl.