Middle-Grade Review: Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country by Kelly Yang


About This Book:


From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.

Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end. Readers of different ages and needs can use the book in different ways, from classroom discussions to bedtime readalouds and more.


Yes We Will answers the question, can we accomplish whatever we dream? With love, courage, determination, and lots of imagination, we can—and we will!

Featured changemakers:
Franklin Chang-Díaz
Lia Cirio
Tammy Duckworth
Jenny Han
Kamala Harris
Fred Korematsu
Padma Lakshmi
Sunisa Lee
Jeremy Li
Yo-Yo Ma
Amanda Nguyen
Sandra Oh
I. M. Pei
Mamie Tape
Peter Tsai
Philip Vera Cruz
Vera Wang


*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*


Informative Illustrated Poem


Yes We Will is a picture book celebrating a number of figures of Asian heritage. In addition to individuals, there are brief description of some historic events pertaining to this population, like the Transcontinental Railroad built largely by Chinese American immigrants, and the Chinese Exclusion Act and other discriminatory laws and orders. Many of the figures are still alive, like Tammy Duckworth, Kamala Harris, and Peter Tsai, the inventoe of the N95 mask, which sets this apart from many other collective biographies that concentrate on people from a further point in history.

A wide rage of ages are represented, and Mamie Tape, an eight-year-old Chinese American girl, will be of particular interest to young readers. Some people, like Fred Korematsu and Vera Wang, might be known to readers, but others, like astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, might not be.

The poem that accompanies these illustrations talks about the dreams and aspirations of Asian Americans, and discusses the many different kinds of activities that “we will” do.

Good Points

Ms. Yang has done a number of middle grade and young adult novels, like Front Desk and Parachutes, so it’s interesting to see her come out with a picture book as well.

There are fantastic illustrations of various people by a wide variety of Asian American artists. I especiatlly apprecitated that the name of the artist appeared on the corner of the page, so that I could put a name with the style. Some were easily recognizable, like Dan Santat, but there were several new artists that I got to meet. Since all of the artists have different palettes and use the page space differently, it’s a good way to highlight the different figures as well.

Since there isn’t more than a sentence of two about each person, it’s great that there are notes in the back with further information. Each person shown gets a small paragraph with their dates and an overview of their accomplishments. Yes We Will is a great resource for a classroom read aloud or as a springboard for research! While Black History Month gets a lot of attention, lack of resources has lead to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month getting less coverage. Remember that this is celebrated in May!

*Find More Info & Buy This Book Here*