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  • Writer's pictureChristina Vourcos

Vincent Chin Is Important for Young Adults, Educators, Writers, and Everyone

Christy V.’s photo of Paula Yoo’s ebook, From A Whisper To A Rallying Cry

As someone who was a familiar with Paula Yoo’s work (and other AAPI writers), I knew I had to pick up her latest book. The YA non-fiction book, From A Whisper To A Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trail that Galvanized the Asian American Movement. With family currently living in China, this brought more of connection to the book and everything happening lately with the COVID-19 pandemic. As I read, I noticed how much this book will make an impact in many areas including, young adults, education, and the writing community.

This review stems from that, but also a response to reviews I read early on through Goodreads that suggested that this book wasn’t Young Adult (YA). First, suggesting that the brief moments focusing on the son of Vincent’s fiancé, Vickie Wong, couldn’t be enough connection to young readers. Then, at the next step, suggesting that this topic wouldn’t bring young people to read. I hope in this review I’m able to bring forward why I disagree and why it’s important for the groups I’ve mentioned.

First, the non-fiction book is written story telling style, while reporting the facts of all sides, as a journalist should. With Paula’s understanding of her history, as well as her background in journalism, it is no wonder that this book is filled with detailed research and content. It’s set up in this way, as well as in a high school reading level, as to make the content accessible to many readers, including secondary language learners. Personally, I feel like this book would be best read for young adults in a classroom with a teacher’s direction, as they can take time to unpack what Paula presents, as well as provide discussions. This can be expanded in the college classroom, which could make the book also New Adult (NA, though publishing doesn’t use this genre as much as it should). Also Paula has suggested that her book was meant for school curriculum. As she has mentioned on her social media of the recent discussion on the lack of Asian American Pacific Islander representation in curriculum. With my own background of education, I know this to be the case. Hopefully including this book will be one step forward to towards that representation, as well as making sure that we include all of our American history and literature.

Second, educators can better understand the history of this moment, as well as how it fits along other aspects of Asian American history. As well as how the term Asian American is a very broad term that educators must expand from. It’s a step forward for educators to learn what we’ve missed, and help us understand our own students, especially AAPI) as well. We also have to find a way to focus on Pacific Islanders, with another text, to make sure we include everyone. Our local state governments are influencing education policy, in the good in some areas and in the bad in other areas. We must be aware and make sure that we can address any tough issue in the classroom, and that includes racism. We can only be anti-racism if we are able to discuss it. We can discuss it with this book. As many AAIP are currently being affected by racist attacks and hateful rhetoric. I became a literacy teacher for many reasons, but one of them was when one of my history teachers did the hard part of discussing about 9/11 on the day it happened. She had courage when she spoke up when others didn’t. Still to this day, she tells me that she didn’t know how she did it. She made a difference that day, and continues to do so. We can do that too.

Third, as educators, we can focus on how this connects to current events, but also with writing style. There’s different methods that Paula uses to present Vincent’s story from a narrative style, to including newspaper articles as images, and different points-of-view from all involved. This can also be important for writers. We can view the history to understand and better support fellow AAIP and their work with publishing and beyond. We can view the writing style as a way for us to grow as writers and how we can write, no matter if we’re writing YA non-fiction or something else. Paula’s writing allows us to feel like we’re there with everyone involved along with getting a better understanding of what is going on then and now. That’s something I aspire my writing to do for my readers and audience. I’m not only a creative writer, but I also have a journalism background. In the past year, we’ve realized in the publishing, Broadway, TV, Film, News industries, that we’re lacking so much in representation for many communities, and support. It time for changes for good. It’s important for us, for others, and for all of our audiences.

Fourth, I believe the critical media perspective was an important part of making this non-fiction book a success. Not only did Paula include articles, but she also included how the media impacted Vincent’s story after his murder. How the media treated the story of Vincent’s love cut short, his mother’s reactions and fight for justice, and all those involved that lead towards America’s reaction and failures for Vincent. Most of all, it leads to us to ponder how much are we still failing to report and represent nationally on AAPI and other communities. We must move forward to make sure we make changes not only in the media, but in publishing and any writing we do. Also we must allow and support AAIP to share their stories and their history, while doing our part, through all kinds of forms.

Finally, the most important part to remember: Latinx also includes AAIP. There are those from Asian American / Pacific Islanders that have moved to Latin American countries and grown up in these areas. As well as Latinx who have moved to AAPI countries. As well as a blend of these cultures. As a Greek Latina, I’m proud of those who are AAPI Latinx. Including my cousin (who a reporter) and his wife. As well as any friends or people that I know that are AAPI. I knew early on about COVID-19 through my cousin’s reporting, and that changed me in ways that I didn’t expect. This is the same case with Paula’s YA non-fiction book, From A Whisper To A Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trail that Galvanized the Asian American Movement. I value both tremendously. I look forward to see what’s ahead. We’re stronger together. Thank you for reading.

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Christina Vourcos


Self-Published Indie Author and Poet, Lymphoma Survivor, GreekLatina, M.A. 


Discover hope and what matters with my books and Kindle Vella serials

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