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‘This Is Not My Home’ explores immigration through a child’s eyes

“This Is Not My Home” author and illustrator Eugenia Yoh (left) and Vivienne Chang
Emily Woodbury
St. Louis Public Radio
“This Is Not My Home” author and illustrator Eugenia Yoh, left, and Vivienne Chang

Immigration stories told in the United States often center around people and families planting roots somewhere in the U.S. to achieve the American Dream. “This Is Not My Home” tells a different immigration story from a point of view that is often ignored — emigrating from the United States elsewhere, and from a child’s perspective.

Author and illustrator duo Eugenia Yoh and Vivienne Chang released “This Is Not My Home” — their first children’s book — last month. The story focuses on a young girl named Lily who is reckoning with her family moving from the only home she knows in the U.S. to her mother’s home country, Taiwan. The book draws inspiration from conversations held between Yoh and Chang, as well as with other friends relating their families’ immigration stories, their Taiwanese American experiences and the idea of what “home” means to them.

Sample pages from the new children's book "This Is Not My Home."
"This Is Not My Home"
In "This Is Not My Home," Lily questions what will happen to the only home she's known after moving to Taiwan.

Yoh’s and Chang’s friendship started during their undergraduate years at Washington University, where they met through a Taiwanese club for students. The two friends are both first-generation Americans — born in the United States and raised by parents who immigrated from Taiwan — and both were inspired by their friends’ childhood immigration stories. “We had a lot of friends who moved from the U.S. or Canada to Taiwan and didn’t really like it at first,” Chang shared on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “It was unfathomable to us. How can you not like Taiwan?”

Lily struggles to make the best out of her family's move to Taiwan.
"This Is Not My Home"
Lily struggles to make the best out of her family's move to Taiwan.

Though “This Is Not My Home” is a Taiwanese American story to its core, Yoh and Chang believe there are many people who can relate to Lily’s story.

“I really want anyone who has to move or is experiencing a lot of change [to have the book],” Yoh said. "I hope [they are] able to resonate with and feel very heard.”

For more on “This Is Not My Home,” what makes its story specific yet universal and how much Yoh and Chang see themselves and each other in Lily, listen to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

‘This Is Not My Home’ explores immigration through a child’s eyes

Related Event
What: “This Is Not My Home” St. Louis book launch
When: 6-7 p.m. Feb. 7
Where: Subterranean Books, 6271 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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Miya is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."
Elaine Cha is the host/producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.