Jella: Were you always interested in art, drawing?
Angel: My mind always wanders and I have channeled my restless energy into drawing since I was a kid. When I was six, we did an assignment on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote, When I grow up, I want to be a book author and illustrator. This dream stayed with me. However, growing up, I never asked for formal drawing lessons because I knew my parents could not afford them. Instead, I would teach myself how to draw by reading How To Draw Manga books and scribbling my original characters in miscellaneous notebooks or on printer paper. I also loved taking art classes in public school because they were free. Then, in college, I received a large grant which nearly fully-funded my education and used the opportunity to pursue a major in Studio Art.
Jella: Why did you decide to pursue a Masters in Asian American Studies? And what brought you to connect art and Asian American Studies?
Angel: This is a long story. You might need to grab a boba or other beverage. *Waits for you to find a comfortable place and relaxing beverage.* Okay, so...[Continue reading]
Daily Bruin UCLA
Childrens books have told stories with heartwarming lessons for decades, but many have failed to include minorities. In 2018, 77% of characters depicted in childrens books were either white people or animals and objects, whereas only 7% were Asian or Pacific Islander.
Graduate student Angel Trazo said she aims to address this lack of diversity in childrens publishing. In July, Trazo self-published her first childrens book titled We Are Inspiring: The Stories of 32 Inspirational Asian American Women. Trazo said the idea of creating a childrens book highlighting notable female Asian American figures came to her as she was exploring a local bookstore in San Jose, California. While looking at the shelves, she came across a book about black women in history, but failed to find a similar book about Asian American women.
It made me think that people aren not aware of Asian American women who are alive right now doing amazing things, so that is definitely a gap that I could fill, Trazo said. [Continue reading.]
giving a voice to all asian women
OM: What inspired you to write this book?
Angel: In the summer of 2018, while perusing Recycled Bookstore in San Jose, I picked up the childrens book Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison and immediately fell in love. Her book inspired my frenzied search for something similar, only written about Asian American women. I left bookstores empty-handed and webstores with an empty cart. In popular womens empowerment childrens books, I found only one or two Asian women represented, if any. Asian American women were even less represented. Online, with the exception of NBC Asian America: A to Z I struggled to find a comprehensive list of more than five Asian American women.
To put it bluntly, this dearth of literature f**king pissed me off. I felt angry that no one had made a childrens book focused on Asian American women, or if they had, that they exotified its protagonists as girls from far away who did nothing but eat ethnic food. I knew there was more to the lives of Asian American women. Powerful, brave, and inspiring Asian American women. Women who follow their dreams, exude creativity, and fight for equity. Who recently made American home or hold roots generations deep. We Are Inspiring grew from a selfish desire to make the book I felt was missing from American childrens literature. [Continue reading]