I am away this weekend in attendance of a conference – a conference that I will recap on when I’m back next week. For the time being though, now seems like just as good of an opportunity to do this month’s Recommended Analyzing piece. We bounce back into the world of podcasting as I shine a spotlight on the most recent episode of the Asian Americana Podcast.
Asian Americana devotes episodes to slices of distinct Asian American culture and history. From the metamorphosis of Giant Robot Magazine, to how boba milk tea has become a staple in Asian American culture (and beyond), each episode has been a quality audio story of several of the little figments that make up what Asian America is in the present.
The most recent episode sheds a light on Claudia Kishi; one of the main characters of The Baby-Sitters Club series that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s. Claudia is the only Asian American member of the club and one of the very few Asian American characters in popular children’s literature at the time. She is considered a literary icon for a reason. She is fashion forward, she is generally artistic, she has her own phone in her room, and she has a bit of an addiction to junk food.
The episode dives deep into everything that makes the character so unique, and several contemporary Asian American creatives speak of her significance in their own lives and how she has been a sort of motivator to their own works as well.
Now I did not grow up reading The Baby-Sitters Club books, although I certainly remember seeing them a lot on bookshelves when I was in elementary school. If I did read them, while I would probably admire Claudia as a unique character, I don’t know if I would relate to her the way the interviewees in the podcast episode have, for personality-wise, she is nothing at all like me. But I do appreciate what her presence in these books have done for readers, and I like that she is considered a literary icon. To hear just what she has meant for a generation of readers was really inspiring to hear about.
So please go give the episode a listen if you haven’t already. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the books before. Hearing the interviewees describe this outgoing character the way they do is just really satisfying to hear for any lover of reading and writing out there.
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