“This is a book that is very, very strange to have been banned,” says the author. “This story is one that any child can enjoy.”
The premise: A young child cannot resist taking nibbles of the giant mooncake that her mother has baked. (A mooncake is a traditional Chinese pastry made for the Autumn Moon Festival.) As the girl nibbles, the mooncake’s changing shape resembles the phases of the moon.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star ended up on a banned book list because it first appeared on a list of children’s books for teachers interested in sharing diverse characters with their students.
“There’s nothing political about this book, except for the fact that the main character is Asian, not White,” says Lin. When Lin’s first book, The Ugly Vegetables, was published in 2001, very few books contained modern Asian characters. Lin recalled Asian readers thanking her for creating that book. Some parents were so grateful, they would cry at her book signing.
“These books are so important for those with Asian heritage to be able to see themselves. But it’s also really important for those not of Asian heritage to see and to share — to see that people who are not White can be heroes in a book, so they can see that people who are not White can have their own stories,” she says.
“That’s the only way that we are going to realize how human we all are.”
Listen to Ali’s interview with Grace Lin:
Watch Velshi and Grace Lin:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BANNED BOOKS FROM THE CITIZEN