A Chicago teenager uses her voice and writes it down to share and celebrate her Chinese-American heritage.
Kara Eng, 16, says she is posting her story not only to raise awareness but also to inspire others.
Eng grew up in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. She’s a junior in high school, loves to play volleyball, and is now the published author of a remarkable book that celebrates her legacy.
“There were tears in this book, many hours of staring at the screen and overcoming writers’ block,” she said. “But in the end, it was worth it because I can share the importance of who we are as Asian Americans.”
Eng says she loves to write and was inspired by her book during the pandemic.
“I fell in love with some of the books that one of my favorite authors wrote about. It was about this Caucasian family living in a small town in Indiana and I thought to myself: I want to write books too compelling than his books,” she said.
Eng wanted to incorporate his Chinese-American heritage, rich culture and family history into Chicago’s Chinatown where his grandmother had a restaurant.
“We should be proud of who we are and not be ashamed of what we can bring to others,” she said.
Her book, titled “Not Just A Simple Chinese Girl,” reflects parts of her life in the big city.
“It’s just not about the Chinese community. It’s also about what’s happening with Asian violence,” she said. “I referenced it a bit because I want to raise awareness of what’s going on.”
Eng’s book was released last week, kicking off the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“We have stories to share, it’s beautiful and it doesn’t matter where you’re from or how your life is going,” she said. “You can be an ordinary person and still have so much to show others.”
The book is available for purchase through Amazon, or customers can pick up a copy in person this Saturday, May 14 at Chinatown Square from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.