SHINING STAR: The Anna May Wong Story

By Paula Yoo
Illustrated by Lin Wang

Born in 1905, Anna May Wong spent her childhood working in her family’s laundry in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. Whenever she could afford it, Anna May slipped off to the movies, escaping to a world of adventure, glamour, and excitement. After seeing a movie being filmed in her neighborhood, young Anna May was hooked. She decided she would become a movie star!

Anna May struggled to pursue an acting career in Hollywood in the 1930s. There were very few roles for Asian Americans, and many were demeaning and stereotypical. Anna May made the most of each limited part. She worked hard and always gave her best performance. Finally, after years of unfulfilling roles, Anna May began crusading for more meaningful roles for herself and other Asian American actors.

Anna May Wong-the first Chinese American movie star-was a pioneer of the cinema. Her spirited determination in the face of discrimination is an inspiration to all who must overcome obstacles so that their dreams may come true.

This book is also available in chapter book form as part of Lee & Low Books' new series, "THE STORY OF..." You can order it here:

    • Hardcover publication date: May 2005
    • Paperback publication date: April 30, 2010
    • Trade ISBN: 978-1-58430-247-6
    • Reading level: Ages 6-9 (children's non-fiction picture book biography)
    • Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Yoo smoothly incorporates the historical context

through Sammy's reactions to pervasive racism. She creates a picture of a person who succeeded through determined hard work -- not a larger-than-life hero, but an ordinary person of great achievement."

(Outstanding Review)


2003 "New Voices" Lee & Low Award winner

"Starred Review" from KIRKUS REVIEWS and BOOKLIST

"Outstanding" review from HORN BOOK GUIDE

IRA Notable Books for a Global Society by the International Reading Association (IRA)

Children's Book Award Notable by the International Reading Association (IRA)

CCBC Choices 2006 by the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

2006 Children's Books of the Year ("Books Reflecting Diversity: A Look Into a Wider World") by the Bank Street College Children's Book Committee

2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, NCSS/CBC

2006-2007 Texas Bluebonnet Award, Masterlist

2006 IRA Children's Book Award Notable, International Reading Association (IRA)

2006 Comstock Book Award Honor, Minnesota State University Moorhead

2006 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature: Honor Book in the Children's Picture Book category

2007 Finalist for the North Dakota Library Association's Flicker Tale Children's Book Award in the Upper Grade Non-Fiction Level category

California Collections selection by the California Readers Organization

William Allen White Masterlist, Emporia State University, Kansas