It's a timely conversation here at the end of Women's History Month about the lessons we can teach our daughters. We also get into a discussion around AAPI Heritage Month in May (when this book releases) as well representation in general.
You may even shed a tear or two. I cannot thank Korey & Mike enough for coming on the show and I look forward to their return in the future.
Korey is a sansei, or third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in Los Angeles. She played basketball for a Japanese American league, graduated from the University of California, Riverside, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Korey has worked in the animation and fashion industries for companies such as Disney and the Gap. I Am Able to Shine is her first picture book and first collaboration with her husband, artist Mike Wu, the creator of Disney’s Ellie series.
Mike Wu was accepted into the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. He graduated in 1996 with a BFA in Character Animation and was recruited by Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios where he worked for the next six years on such films as Hercules, Tarzan, Atlantis, and Mulan. Shortly thereafter, Mike followed his childhood dream of working for the studio that created Luxo Jr.. He moved to the Bay Area and started at Pixar Animation Studios where he animated on the Oscar-winning The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Toy Story 3, Coco and Soul among other films.
An affirmative, empowering story about embracing your identity and finding your voice, inspired in part by debut author Korey Watari’s experiences growing up Asian American, and illustrated by her husband, Mike Wu, Pixar artist and creator of the Ellie series.
I am beautiful.
I belong here.
What I do matters.
I am able to shine.
Each night Keiko whispers to her crane, “I wish to change the world.” She is kind, and she has big dreams. But at times she feels invisible; she knows some people misjudge her. Keiko is also loved, so she perseveres and stands strong. Over time, her confidence grows, she shares more of herself, and she helps lift up others―and eventually lead them. She understands that no matter what, she can shine.
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Thanks to Snuffy for this episode of the podcast!
Snuffy is a clothing brand about empowering you to show your weird - unapologetically, with bravery and confidence. 10% of profit goes to LGBTQ+ organizations led by Trans* people of color. Shop online now at snuffy.co
Also, thanks to Empire Toys for this episode of the podcast!