Breanna McDaniel: I Read Asian and Pacific Islander American Books

Although Susan Tan knew she wanted to be a writer since the eighth grade, she didn’t really begin writing until college. Then, she would write stories about her childhood that later became her Cilla Lee-Jenkins books. In the series, young Cilia deals with situations that arise from her blended Chinese American and Jewish American identities. She has a lot of fun along the way!


Breanna McDaniel chose to highlight Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story (Roaring Brook Press, 2019). The book is illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte.

From the publisher:

“Pricilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins has already written a “Bestseller” and a “Classic”—now it’s time for her to write an Epic Story. Epics are all about brave heroes overcoming Struggles to save the world, and this year, Cilla is facing her toughest struggles yet:

· Cilla is in fifth grade and, unlike her classmates, not at all ready to start middle school
· She has two younger sisters to look after now and they don’t exactly get along
· Her beloved grandfather YeYe has had a stroke and forgotten his English, and it’s up to Cilla to help him find his words again.

With humor, heart, and her mighty pen Cilla Lee-Jenkins will use her powers to vanquish every foe (the mean girls in her class), help every citizen (especially Ye Ye), and save the world.”

“Anyone who spends time with Cilla Lee-Jenkins will look forward to reading her in the future.” –Booklist, starred review, on Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire

Breanna J. McDaniel is the author of Hands Up! and a children’s literature scholar. She holds an MA in children’s literature from Simmons College and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, where her research focuses on representations of black children in contemporary picture books.