Author Chat with Traci Huahn (MAMIE TAPE FIGHTS TO GO TO SCHOOL), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!

Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Traci Huahn!

Read on to learn more about the author, the book, and a giveaway!




Meet the Author: Traci Huahn

Traci Huahn writes books for kids and especially loves stories rooted in Asian American culture, history, and identity. Mamie Tape Fights to go to School is her debut picture book. As a former attorney and the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she feels a deep connection to Mamie’s story and hopes it will inspire readers to become changemakers, even if it starts by taking just one small step. Traci lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two kids, and a pup who loves belly rubs and raw Brussels sprouts.

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About the Book: Mamie Tape Fights To Go To School

Meet Mamie Tape, 8-year-old Chinese American changemaker who fought for the right to go to school in San Francisco in the 1880s. Follow Mamie’s brave steps and discover the poignant history of her California Supreme Court case Tape v. Hurley.

Mamie’s mom always reminded her a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So when Mamie wanted to go to school, even though Chinese children weren’t allowed, she took her first step and showed up anyway. When she was turned away at the schoolhouse door, she and her parents took another step: they sued the San Francisco school board…and won! Their case Tape v. Hurley made its way up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled that children of Chinese heritage had the right to a free public school education. But even then, Mamie’s fight wasn’t over.

Mamie Tape Fights to go to School is the story of one young changemaker’s brave steps on the long journey to end school segregation in California. It began with a single step.






~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I first learned about Mamie Tape while doing research on Asian American civil rights cases, but I sat on the idea for a while. Then, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and anti-Asian hate was on the rise, I felt compelled to write this book. There were so many parallels between what was happening in real time and what Mamie and other Chinese Americans experienced in the 1880s.


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Mamie Tape! I’m so in awe that at only eight years old she had the courage not only to show up at a school where she wasn’t welcome, but to keep going back again and again after being turned away. I learned from Mamie’s great-granddaughter that Mamie was very strong but soft spoken, so when writing this book, I instilled her with a quiet determination.

YABC: What research did you do to write this book?

I researched everything from books and journal articles to the legal documents filed in Mamie’s case, to newspaper articles from the 1880s, to a recorded interview of Mamie Tape when she was 96-years-old, to interviewing some of Mamie’s relatives, including her great-granddaughter who lived with Mamie while growing up. I also did a lot of visual research to assist my amazing illustrator, Michelle Jing Chan. One challenging aspect for the art was that there weren’t any close-up photos of the school that Mamie fought to attend, but school superintendent reports from the 1880s provided some clues—like the wooden building needing a paint job, and how the doors to the 5-room schoolhouse opened inward, instead of outward. Michelle did a wonderful job incorporating those and many other details into the illustrations.

YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

As a kid, I always wanted to write children’s books. Growing up, my sister and I made our own magazines and wrote elaborate stories about our favorite stuffed animals. But, it took me a long time to finally pursue my dream. I studied journalism in college, then took a detour and became a lawyer. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I had an aha moment and started writing. I’m thrilled I now get to do this as a second career!

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

Some of my friends say I have a childlike quality to me, so maybe some of it comes from that, but I also intentionally try to put myself in that space. I’ll close my eyes and focus on specific memories from my own childhood, remembering how I felt or acted to get me in that mindset. I also use my own kids as reference!

YABC: What kind of animal would your main character be and why?

Mamie Tape was born on August 18, 1876, which means her Chinese zodiac sign was the fire rat, so I’m going to say she’d be a rat. Rats are known for their intelligence and ability to overcome challenges, so that sounds about right!

YABC: What is your favorite holiday or tradition and why?

Lunar New Year is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the special foods and symbolic traditions, such as cleaning the house to sweep away bad luck and, conversely, not washing our hair to keep from washing away good luck! Just like the scene in the book where Mamie’s family eats jai (a vegetable and mung bean noodle dish) my family also eats jai to welcome good luck. It’s one of my favorite dishes, so my mom always makes an extra batch for me!

YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

I have some bookstore and school events lined up. I’m especially excited that I’ll be visiting the school that Mamie Tape fought to get into, as well as the school that rose up from what was once the segregated Chinese school that Mamie was forced to attend. It’s wonderful that both schools acknowledge and teach their histories. Being able to share Mamie’s story through my book feels like a bit of a full-circle moment and I’m so grateful to the amazing librarians and administrators for welcoming me to their schools.





Author: Traci Huahn

Illustrator: Michelle Jing Chan

Release Date: 5/7/24

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

ISBN-10: 0593644026

ISBN-13: 9780593644027

Genre: Fiction picture book

Age Range: Ages 4-8




*Giveaway Details*

Three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of Mamie Tape Fights To Go To School (Traci Huahn) ~ US Only!


*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*


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5 thoughts on “Author Chat with Traci Huahn (MAMIE TAPE FIGHTS TO GO TO SCHOOL), Plus Giveaway! ~ US ONLY!”

  1. This looks terrific!

  2. astromgren says:

    What an important read!

  3. Book looks great! Awesome

  4. ltecler says:

    Definitely want to add this book to my school’s media center collection!

  5. I love this cover that shows a strong, determined character. I must read this book to learn more about an important time in our history.

Comments are closed.