Hi! My name is Pia.

I’m a reader, writer, student, and lots of other things. I’m also a 1.5 gen Filipina American determined to study and support the paths of young immigrants and children of immigrants who are on their way to make this country a better, brighter, more diverse place.

I was born in the Philippines and grew up in a largely immigrant-populated region in Southern California. I currently study comparative literature & education studies on a snowy hill in the northeast. I’m a proud alumna of the We Need Diverse Books publishing internship grant.

Why is Intrepid YA important to you?
In short: I was an avid reader from a young age in spite of the fact that I never saw myself reflected in the white, Eurocentric literature at the library. I had just passively accepted that reading was a white space in which my stories had no place.

It wasn’t until college that I realized how many children do not end up identifying as readers because the books they see at the library, at schools, or in advertisements are irrelevant to them, or stereotypical of their cultures. And that’s so evident and understandable, it’s heartbreaking.

Curiosity and a love of reading are the greatest gifts anyone could have. This in mind, I’m committed to using this blog to encourage a love of literature, or at least affirming encounters with story, in young readers.

Besides your own childhood, what experiences led you to think about the immigrant experience framed in narrative?
This past summer, from the generosity of the We Need Diverse Books internship grant, I had the opportunity to intern at LEE & LOW BOOKS, the largest multicultural children’s book publishing in the country. My colleagues at WNDB and LEE & LOW inspire me to think critically about the publishing industry and the ways it’s can empower or disempower future readers.

I’ve worked as an educator in elementary and middle school settings with low-income immigrant youth like me. They’re so bright and funny, and I know the world will benefit from stories like theirs. (Raul, Jessica, Aldo, and Jacqueline – I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but this is for you.)

Are you on Twitter?
Keep up with me at @lapiaenrose.

BONUS: Who took that photograph of the awesome orangey wall?
Van Chung is not only a photographer and graphic designer – she’s one of my oldest friends and an artist who inspires me every day. Follow her on Instagram at @van_draws. If you’re looking to support young, talented artists of color, I’ll link to her website soon.