“This is an important story, full of drama and emotion.”  -Kirkus Reviews

Even though Yin was born in Brooklyn, she couldn’t understand English when she was young, because her parents only spoke to her in Chinese. At that time, her family lived in an apartment on the 19th floor of a very tall building. Climbing all those stairs was horrible, and she felt the same way about school. Over time, with the help of some kind teachers and wonderful friends, her English improved and she started to enjoy school. Her favorite subject was social studies and learning about different cultures.

In her award-winning book, Coolies, Yin used her grandmother’s memories to tell a story about how two young boys from China survived the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. In her second book, Brothers, she used her memories about friendship and learning English to tell a story about two immigrant families in early America. Her books and program promote a curriculum that promotes inclusiveness of Asian-American history and culture.

Yin's Featured Titles


Philomel Books |

When Ming arrives in San Francisco after the long boat journey from China, his older brothers waste no time warning him: “Chinese should not go outside Chinatown.” But Ming risks doing just that, and when he meets Patrick, he knows the young Irish boy has a kind heart, and begins a remarkable friendship that brings their two very different communities together.

Illustrated in Chris Soentpiet’s richly detailed watercolor paintings, this long-awaited follow-up to the award-winning Coolies helps to tell the precious, rare story of the first Chinese immigrants and their pursuit of the American Dream.


Puffin Books |

Shek marvels at the new world as he and his brother, Little Wong, arrive in California. Along with hundreds of other workers, the brothers are going to build a great railroad across the West. They plan to save enough money so that their mother and little brothers can join them in America. But as days grow into months, they endure many hardships-exhausting work, discrimination, and treacherous avalanches. Inspired by actual events, this story reveals the harsh truth about life for the Chinese railroad workers in 1865, while celebrating their perseverance and bravery.

Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor

Puffin Books |

After his accident, Willy’s friend Carlos just isn’t the same person now that he must live his life in a wheelchair, but Willy thinks he knows just the perfect thing to cheer him up and so must find a way to get Santa to come visit him on the 19th floor of the apartment, despite all the locks on the door and a lack of a chimney.


Where Are You From

Yin will share her experiences growing up as a Chinese-American and how she was able to balance the two cultures. Included in the program are visual demonstrations of how she celebrates Lunar New Year and how she was inspired to write. Yin enjoys leading interactive writing workshops for kids of all ages. Your students will be able to ask questions, participate in projects, play games and even learn some Chinese. This program will address the need for Asian-American stories that are missing from the social studies curriculum.


Beyond Written Words

Yin and Chris Soentpiet will present to your school the behind-the-scenes collaboration of their award-winning books. They emphasize the importance of hard work in the book making process of both words and art. A drawing demonstration by Chris and time for questions and answers from the audience follow. This is a great program to introduce your students to Asian-American history to also tie in with the social studies curriculum.


Resources for Teachers

Yin’s Photo Gallery

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Asian Pacific HONORABLE MENTION (for Illustrations in Children’s Literature 2001)
Junior Library Guild Selection 2001
Nest Literary Classics 2001
Parent’s Choice Gold Award 2001
Children’s Literature Choice Book
American Library Association Notable Books 2002
International Reading Association (IRA) Children’s Book of the Year 2002

Media clips

Coming Soon!

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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