Hearts in Taiwan

Seeing Taiwan through our mothers’ eyes, featuring the creators of Amah Faraway

February 12, 2022 Annie Wang and Angela Yu Season 2 Episode 2
Seeing Taiwan through our mothers’ eyes, featuring the creators of Amah Faraway
Hearts in Taiwan
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Hearts in Taiwan
Seeing Taiwan through our mothers’ eyes, featuring the creators of Amah Faraway
Feb 12, 2022 Season 2 Episode 2
Annie Wang and Angela Yu

Whether you call your grandmother “amah”, “popo”, “waipo”, “nainai”, “mama”, “grandma”, or something else, she plays a key role in your connection to your heritage. Amah Faraway tells the story of how young Kylie transforms from feeling unsure and reluctant to embracing her grandmother and her heritage country. We got to talk with author Margaret Chiu Greanias and illustrator Tracy Subisak and found many common threads that the Taiwanese diaspora will see reflected throughout this delightful picture book.

Where to buy Amah Faraway:

Margaret Chiu Greanias

Tracy Subisak

Additional resources:

  • Chinese family tree (Off the Great Wall video, Mina Learns Chinese Instagram graphics for grandparents, aunts/uncles)
  • Taiwanese family tree (Taiwanese)
  • "Lost Generation", a palindromic poem by Jonathan Reed (video, text)
  • Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland (TAGP)





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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Whether you call your grandmother “amah”, “popo”, “waipo”, “nainai”, “mama”, “grandma”, or something else, she plays a key role in your connection to your heritage. Amah Faraway tells the story of how young Kylie transforms from feeling unsure and reluctant to embracing her grandmother and her heritage country. We got to talk with author Margaret Chiu Greanias and illustrator Tracy Subisak and found many common threads that the Taiwanese diaspora will see reflected throughout this delightful picture book.

Where to buy Amah Faraway:

Margaret Chiu Greanias

Tracy Subisak

Additional resources:

  • Chinese family tree (Off the Great Wall video, Mina Learns Chinese Instagram graphics for grandparents, aunts/uncles)
  • Taiwanese family tree (Taiwanese)
  • "Lost Generation", a palindromic poem by Jonathan Reed (video, text)
  • Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland (TAGP)





buymeacoffee.com/heartsintaiwan ← Buy us a boba!


[0:00] Welcome to the hearts and Taiwan podcast where we explore and celebrate our connections to Taiwan I'm Angela and I'm Annie and every episode we examine an aspect,
Heritage and identity so that understanding the past can help us make sense of our present let's Dive In.

[0:22] Today we are talking with a couple of children's book creators but discussion we have is really not just for people who read children's books,
but I think that this discussion is going to be really interesting for everyone who has a DS borak experience.
So I have a thirteen-year-old right so this book is not necessarily meant for the 13 year old demographic so I read it and I found myself.
Going home oh I relate and I am super excited about flipping to the next page and looking at all the illustrations so hey children and adults everybody can enjoy it.

[1:08] Yeah there's definitely something to be said about seeing yourself or your own story in book form,
I mean we definitely did not grow up with that we like we've talked before in our twinkies and bananas episode about,
how all of the media presented to us featured people who didn't look like us now knowing that I'm not the only one that had this or that experience or felt this or that means a lot.
And so it's never too late to to see yourself in a story and seek out that type of stuff.
Yeah I think something that is unique to
at least what we know of Chinese culture is that every relative has a different name depending on their relationship to you and so,
you and I as cousins in different parts of the family we might have different names for the same person because our.
Our connection to that person was on my for me maternal and on your side paternal.

[2:17] Some of our other cousins would refer to my mom as Kumar or Ima.

[2:24] Do you know what you would call my mom I think I completely gave up with your parents because like I was like I think my mom doesn't do a good job of training me,
yeah same respect stuff and titles so I was just like look at your parents I might start talking to because I didn't know
You are not alone my parents same thing I don't know if they did it out of,
they don't even want to bother because they're like she's not going to retain any of this so whatever or what because I'm sitting here trying to think,
what do I call Angela's mom I always say my things in English like I yeah when I talk about your parents with my mom I was just say like.
And like her English name and uncle uncle your dad's English name,
or I heard through the grapevine that like your mom was like mad at me because I called Aunt Rebecca just Rebecca which is what my mom calls her
your mom was like so disrespectful it'll be like blame it on my mom yeah my like that's what we do is as parents right like we use the name that we want our children to use.
When we talk about them to our children I do have a few of my cousin's on my mom side who do refer they refer to my mom as goomar.

[3:48] I also never asked questions about it because I would hear them say that at all I would do is just think to myself huh and then again yeah I never spent the time to just like actually investigate or even just ask why.

[4:03] One more thing we can blame our parents for it's almost easier to talk,
to people who are not related to you because you call them all Auntie or uncle or in Chinese IE and so that's that's easy like we know what to call people yeah iíve done a lot of
I anyhow they do use of like Auntie and Uncle is very Universal for if they're related to you or not.

[4:33] I was really excited when,
the these authors reached out to us because I have been very very Avid in cultivating a diverse bookshelf for our children's books.
I learned a lot about raising anti-racist kids and it starts with the media that you show them,
so that's what I started getting really tuned into like what are the books that I'm putting on my kids bookshelves that I'm reading to them every night.
And who are the authors whose writing the stories and who are the main characters in these books.

[5:14] All right let's get into it today we have the creators of a brand-new book Amah far away.
And they are Margaret greanias the author and Tracy superstock the illustrator Margaret is a children's book author who writes picture books with heart and humor she's the author of Maximilian villainous
I'm a far away
which has gotten a junior Library Guild selection and a starred review from school library Journal I know these starred reviews are a really big deal and an upcoming book named hooked on books,
she lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband three children and a fluffle of dust bunnies,
Tracy suicide is the award-winning Taiwanese and Polish American Author illustrator of jenny-may is sad.
And she Illustrated the upcoming title This Book Is Not For You by New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale.

[6:12] And she also Illustrated Sean loves sharks by Curtis manly and would wire Wings Emma a Lillian Todd invents an airplane by Kirsten Larson.

[6:22] Tracy lives in Portland with her husband her dog Lala and a copious amount of house plants which we can see on the video here they're beautiful.
So Tracy and Margaret
our podcast course called hearts in Taiwan so how else would we kick it off other than better understanding your connections to Taiwan so love to hear more about that if you want start with Tracy and then we can go to Margaret.
Sure I am half Taiwanese my mom is from Taiwan she came over to the states for grad school
I've been fortunate to have lived in Taiwan for about a year and I've gotten to visit
quite a few times but when I was living there I studied at the Mandarin Training Center at the national Taiwan Normal University and I also worked at pegatron in industrial design.
Awesome and how about you Margaret.

[7:21] So I am the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants my dad came over in 63 to go to grad school at the University of Illinois,
and then my mom came over she actually came through Canada to do a nursing program and 66.
I was born in New York lived in Texas and California which just so happens to be the biggest communities of Taiwanese people in the US,
I don't know if that was by Design or just just happen that way yeah it's interesting because I know Tracy you were born and raised in Columbus Ohio
I was born in Columbus do and then spent any time there but because we moved before I was one my dad he was considering some job offers
and actually one of the job offers was somewhere in Texas and so,
as interest is I like it's I I feel you on wondering kind of like how did this all happen because seems like a lot of our.
Our families have very similar paths would love to get a sense of from both of you.

[8:26] How your your family culture is a really infused into your upbringing I grew up.
What I think is pretty you know as as Taiwanese household as you can get growing up in Ohio I went to the Chinese School on the weekends.
There's an area in Columbus or a suburb that there's way more Taiwanese people and we didn't live in that neighborhood,
but my cousin did so we we visited with them a lot and once you meet one Taiwanese person you meet them all to tight community,
you know we grew up doing all the holidays and like mid-autumn festival and Lunar New Year.

[9:10] I would say like growing up as a mixed kid especially in my generation it was like one kid
all of the kids that's mixed so that wasn't really special upbringing to kind of have different perspective.
My mom taught Chinese at the Chinese School.

[9:36] And she taught my brother throughout until he graduated and then she ended up teaching and building a Chinese program in.
The private school that I ended up going to so she ended up being my teacher too.
And it was really special just to see to be around her enthusiasm sharing Chinese and Taiwanese culture of being really immersed in the language.
I think that really helped me grow like a deeper appreciation like I tried to get East Asian studies class in our school which didn't exist so we had to go before school started,
and I wasn't able to study Chinese and University because there are levels and high enough but so I like basically had a disconnect during college and then reconnected after I graduated.
Yeah it's been like a journey of disconnecting and reconnecting and finding.

[10:34] My people because it's just like I don't know if you all have that loose experience but I feel very at home arounds Taiwanese and Chinese Americans so it's like.
Yeah I need I need that community.

[10:49] It sounds like you really were leaning into and proactively wanting to absorb all of this stuff the things the sense that I get is kids in all of our situations growing up kind of went one way or the other.
I was like really like wanting to know more and taking it all in or.
Wanting to quit Chinese school as soon as possible well you know I wish that I were would have leaned into it been one of those kids like you Tracy because you derive so much value as an adult now I mean it's never too late for any of this work but
that's so awesome to hear just to add I did drop out of tiny school and I don't know like the book on my foot I was like
I cannot sound it out whatsoever but it we couldn't tell my mom taught me that I was like okay I have to do well it's hard when you're the teachers kid yes true but it and luckily a good experience,
I mean did your parents talk about any stories about the Immigrant experience that kind of helped you connect with them a little more
oh the immigration experience is it's everywhere in my family my so my waipo Lon my mom's mom she is from China
so she immigrated she and my y going.

[12:11] Long story short he's sixth generation Taiwanese he studied in Japan he ended up in China waipo and why go met there and then.

[12:21] They moved back to Taiwan and then my mom's experience moving here she's like really resistant I think she,
she went to University of Oklahoma of all places.
And the things that she talks about she's like I was like I found out I was lactose intolerant and I glad to do like every day and I was like what's wrong with me and this country and like,
we was so homesick ended up.
Moving near her sister my aunt's and luckily all her siblings were in the state's at that time but yeah it is quite an adjustment.
For her.
Wow well I mean what about you Margaret I was definitely immersed in the culture because both my parents were Taiwanese.
They spoke Taiwanese at home I think actually my first language might have been I think it was Taiwanese at some point I completely switched over but.
I think it was probably because I have two older brothers and probably when they started school and started speaking English as probably when I did.
So yeah so they spoke to us in Taiwanese we spoke back in English everyone that came to visit us like family and friends that came to visit us they were all Taiwanese so we are just fully like.

[13:39] Embarrassed like my.
Both sides of the family are from Taiwan like my dad's side I think goes back probably four or five generations and then my mom's side both my mom's parents were adopted.
So they were both born in Taiwan but she doesn't know anything beyond that.
So whenever we traveled to visit family that was always to Taiwan like I've never been to China even though growing up.
My parents would always say that yes we're Taiwanese but they would also say we're Chinese so it was all so I was a little bit confused growing up you know we would always go to Chinese restaurants like any kind of Chinese restaurant we would go like.
Only Chinese restaurants actually is what we would do we wouldn't get any other type of restaurant except for a Chinese restaurants
I went to Chinese School on Saturdays and I was the only kid out of my family that was made to go you know there's also the values and the behaviors of how my parents acted because they were grew up
you know fully Taiwanese I feel like I'm a lot of that I've kind of.
Through osmosis kind of Incorporated a lot of that into who I am as well even if when I was younger I kind of shunned that's that.
Culture I felt connected to the Heritage growing up but it wasn't necessarily one that I was embracing all the time.

[15:04] Now as an adult a lot of the Taiwanese part of me is kind of ingrained through how I was brought up but now like.

[15:12] In order to connect I feel like it's a lot more intentional like I have to choose to you know celebrate the holidays I have to choose.
You know reach out to other Taiwanese people.

[15:28] And like for my kids they definitely have to choose to tell them about different.
Taiwanese cost customs and things like that.

[15:40] How did your parents justify or rationalize that you spoke Taiwanese at home but they're sending you to learn Mandarin Chinese school I think a lot of what might have been.
Difficult growing up was that we had customs and practices that we did but a lot of it didn't have context to me.
Because I think that when you grow up fully immersed in a culture like you just do things because that's how it's done.
So I don't know that they didn't really explain it to me it was just something your Chinese so you should go to Chinese School,
even though they rarely if at all spoke they would never speak Mandarin in the house,
it was always Taiwanese where are your kids are in terms of the absorption of or like you know embracing of or rejection of their Taiwanese Heritage so I have three kids my oldest,
actually we put her in Chinese school Mandarin school from when she was 2.
And then she took Mandarin until she was in fourth or fifth grade.

[16:50] In some shape or form and then at which point we didn't really have enough time for it and it gets pretty expensive to be able to make like I feel like in order to maintain.
Amanda and you really have to continue on you can't really just stop until I guess until you're fluent right now like she she's in high school now and she chose to take Mandarin.
And she is proud of it.
I think it might be this generation also there are more embracing of their culture she and she really loves Asian food like Chinese and actually Japanese we eat a lot of Japanese food,
she was interested interested in when over the moon came out from Netflix she's completely embraced everything and then my aunt my younger two are not quite there yet but I have hopes that they'll get there,
on their own they both my older two I took to Taiwan and and they loved it I mean it took them a little bit to get used to it.
But then once they did they really enjoyed it and they do want to go back and we do have to go back as my third one has never been so at some point we'll have to take her so is your eldest son Mandarin better than yours.
Oh yeah although she would never speak it to me but I know it's better than mine.

[18:08] We just teach her that like when we go to Taiwan next she's going to be guiding us.
Well I mean that's the good of the way that it went with I have a 13 year old daughter and
who is Mandarin is far exceeds mine and when we were in Taiwan last it was basically that I was like an embarrassment when we would go out because I couldn't recall how to say.
Very many things and then my daughter will have to pick up like Bobby you're supposed to say it like that and like I don't know do it then so there was a lot of that situation happening so it's so true like I.
I feel like I understand I understand way more than I can speak.

[18:53] Yeah but it is very very hard to recall those words like I took French in high school and so and you know.
My parents are the Taiwanese so like when I try and recall words it's like.
Sometimes it'll be a Taiwanese word sometimes it'll be a Chinese word sometimes it'll be a French word and I would be like you know it's not what I was trying to go for.

[19:15] Yeah I totally have that confusion to and I was learning French and I would try to speak Chinese it I would put in a French word because my Chinese vocabulary was so limited,
so let's switch gears and talk about I'm a Faraway Margaret you were talking about being intentional about connecting with other Taiwanese people outside of your just
Natural Life in your neighborhood and this book is really a strong message of connecting to,
your heritage in from Taiwan.
And not not a lot of people in mainstream know what I'ma means I'm at is the Taiwanese word for grandmother and actually I so I only had one grandparent growing up it was Miami.
The other grandparents law passed away
either early in my life or before I was born so she was my connection to Taiwan and am I far away is kind of its kind of its so this this book is written kind and what's
what we're calling a modified reverse format and basically the lines go forward and that's you would a normal book until the middle and then from the middle to the end
the lines kind of reverse until Amah far away is kind of like that like you could say it about Faraway Faraway I'm to me it means the distance between
where I lived or where my character lives in the u.s. all the way across the ocean.
Taiwan is far away but then also there's the emotional distance as well.

[20:45] That's kind of where the title came to I don't think I've ever explain that to anyone
yeah and I grew up only also knowing one grandmother and she was my maternal grandmother in my family both my parents spoke Mandarin so I called my grandmother pull pull.

[21:03] And I know that I'm not is much more common among poke in Taiwanese speakers I've only recently learned the Amah term as I've gotten more connected with the Taiwanese community,
I don't know what I would have went well I would have called my paternal grandmother,
Tracy what do you call your grandmother's the paternal grandmother was,
which is the same as my maternal grandmother since we're cousins what did I call her I think you said you call her poll also met because of just we both knew her as the same name even though she was your
paternal grandmother and normally put boy I think it's more of us are for the maternal grandmother yeah I did call her papa yeah yeah I think it was less confusing that way for us I don't know if our parents like consciously made that choice but we both called her Pole,
I called my mom's mom Paul so like apple is it was your mom's mom and then poor Paul was,
dad's mom exactly and with my purple I feel like I had so much confusion around that growing up because I didn't understand and I also didn't actually even bother to ask.

[22:13] Why are we why am I calling this person this versus that person that because also I would hear my other my peers they called their grandparents,
totally different things and I did not understand,
what it was all about and of course because I wasn't trying to embrace anything kind of it we just went over my head how about you Tracy so I called my maternal grandmother waipo Lon.

[22:41] I think technically I'm like gonna say this and I hope it's right but so paternal grandmother is Paul Paul.

[22:51] But it's also like a cute way of saying it so I could see ya anyone doing pulled pork,
499 a and then why Paul is like outside pool so right like we follow the paternal line right and then anything that's mom's side is going to be outside.
That rationalization makes so much more than just like randomly calling people whatever.

[23:16] I trained my kids to call my mom pop all because that's what I call my mom's mom my husband his family is Cantonese and I had looked it up and learned that
in Cantonese they might go with 9 I or Mama,
I remember bristling a little bit at that because it sounds so much like mother like Mama and so I would but then she really wanted to be called Mama so that's how my kids know my husband's mom.
Is as my mama they don't call me my mama says because they just call me Mommy and English there is one of my mom's friends I don't know she seems like an elder but growing up I called her who mama and I.
I've been like wondering why Why didn't it so that answers that question yes it's like,
so different from English where things are things are so simple and consistent so it feels like a whole nother level of effort that kids have to go through to learn all the names of all the members of the family,
it also understand who is who are they to other other kids like other cousins in their family having different names for the same person.

[24:28] Actually in Taiwanese I might as actually for both sides so for my kids call my mom.
And then my brother's kids also call her Emma.
So and actually someone contacted me before the book came out and she was asking about it too because her husband swore they were he I think he was from China probably from The fujian Province he swore that he called both sides on.
And actually I think a lot of time when he is comes from that Province like it's kind of a similar dialogue I just thought that was interesting,
full well thank you for sharing about that it's I think it's I've actually found that it's pretty
rare to see children's book authors who are a Taiwanese that was really a special find how did you to connect and find each other to collaborate on this book actually that publisher paired us up,
my agent submitted my manuscript to Sarah Shumway our editor at Bloomsbury and then she loved the manuscript and then she also had met.
Tracy because she wanted to buy a different one of Tracy's manuscript and she wanted to work with her and then when she received my manuscript.

[25:39] She realized that Tracy would be the perfect person to illustrate it and it worked out really well.
It's really great to see authors and illustrators and creators of all types being more forward with their identities their ethnic identities because it really helps everybody recognized
the diversity that makes up Asian America then as we recognized for both our individual cultures,
and the Asian American identity then,
deeper connections can be made like this that's really exciting how did your relationships with your own grandmother's influence your
relationship with Taiwan and what it meant to have Taiwanese heritage.

[26:26] My parents were Taiwanese immigrants my Amah was one of the few people in Taiwan that still in Taiwan even though.

[26:35] This story is about her and she was really really important to me because she was my only grandparent we saw her not that often.
But I do remember she her she was very kind of proper I remember her instructing me on like how to do things like how to receive a red envelope with two hands.
So she she was a teacher to so she also she did a lot of I think instruction.
But I didn't necessarily retain it unfortunately because I wasn't embracing it all actually the bigger influence in terms of my connection to Taiwan is my mom because she's the one that.
Was with me every day and she's the one that spoke Taiwanese to me every day even though I wasn't you know speaking back to her she put me in Chinese school she was the one that spent you know,
all day long making dumplings and Montano and scallion pancakes and like what,
you know asked us to help and we were like no we're busy playing just like you know she just did all of that she's a social butterfly so she had lots of Taiwanese friends.
Wherever we lived we were surrounded by Taiwanese community so yeah I have to say that she definitely was.

[27:57] Kind of the person that immersed me and my brothers in the culture that's really great how about you Tracy.

[28:05] I relate completely to you Margaret,
yeah I could even say like almost everything is the same my,
waipo was one of the only people like - some cousins that I've met
it's one of my mom's cousins that I met like random years of my life she's still a lasting relative there he's 104 this year so oh my gosh that's amazing so there was like this Superstition that built,
in my family because every one of my.
Cousins and my brother all ended up in the hospital and their first visit to Taiwan as a child so as one of the younger.

[28:51] Kids I was not allowed to go until I was like much older.

[28:57] So she would come to the states especially when I was younger I was just so anxious and shy,
with communicating in Chinese I was just like deathly afraid of saying anything wrong.
I have this image in my brain of her I had this awesome fort making set and I will make courts and like bring all my toys inside and she's like do her cheekbone and then,
come up please see what did you peek and I'd like turn my head because I was like I don't know how to talk to you.
I clung to my mom the whole time it wasn't until you know my turning-point my reverse.
I was when I was young adult and I was like really confident in my language skills and.

[29:55] We would go visit why pull in Taiwan and like I would ask her about.
Her like in China and there's like he was a teacher there and.
What did she do during the war will like with her students it was just such a crazy awesome experience to like learn more.

[30:16] About her in that way and eat with her was you know eating is always like the way to break the ice right.
But similarly my mom was.
The person who you know she guided me through everything Taiwanese and it was he studied,
Chinese literature in undergrad and the universe University of Taiwan and I think it was just like.

[30:43] Such a big part of her that she wanted to share and like wanted it to be part of her children's lives and of the household.
Like all of our social engagements were with other Chinese families and we only went out for Chinese restaurant.
That's awesome that you were able to at least at some point be able to connect with your.
Your wipe off on get hear her stories you know once you got comfortable and more confident in your language skills that's one thing that I would say I definitely regret because I never got to that point of being comfortable and she didn't speak any English,
so I could never converse with her even though I wanted to ask her questions it was just.
You know Google translate was not a thing at the time so I remember at going to Taiwan and visiting her in college with a few of my friends,
and one of them spoke fluent Mandarin and was having basically all the conversations with her while I basically just sat there and stared at her.
So it's really embarrassing you think about now is like oh my gosh but yeah well what are you gonna do so that's awesome that you have that so good for you.

[31:53] I think we actually saw that play out in the in the book where Kylie.
Encounters her Amah and just sits there watching her mom and her Amah speak.
And you know she doesn't understand a whole lot and I think that language barrier puts up a lot of the reason why she doesn't feel connected in the first half of the book.
And one of my favorite things about the book is that,
there are some parts of it where the dialogue is translated it's written in traditional Chinese characters
with pinion for those of us who are learning pinion and also in English but then there are little bits of dialogue throughout the book that are more part of the illustration and
they're not translated and so it was a really fun exercise for me and my kids my,
my older my son who is in third grade and in Mandarin immersion.

[32:50] We can like kind of quiz him and say like what can you read like how much of this can you read and then my younger she's she just turned five and so she's just starting to like.
Be able to read
words independently and so she's really excited to be able to read the English words in the book and so it's really fun to have them each have a piece of the book that there
they're learning how to read and be able to pick out words that they recognized that that was all that was all Tracy,
yeah I think that's a really fun little like Easter egg for anybody who has who is putting in the effort to learn characters and like
I'm just like at kind of at the same level of my son where we can recognize the same characters but we can't recognize all the characters and so we still have some to learn its motivating
Tracy are there any other like Easter eggs or things in your illustrations that are drawn from like your personal experience that you throw in there.

[33:47] Like essentially like every place that I love that I put in there one thing one note about the light bulb little.
Conversations is one of the points is that for people who are like,
I'm not very confident in my Chinese that is exactly what it is that's what like Kylie is feeling she's like I got though she or like,
like all these
parts of the sentence so they just probably a lot of us had learned how to piece together meanings of whole conversations and I'm like yeah I think I understand what you're saying kind of
I mean it's a children's book but.
For people I'm like me feeling like a sense of accomplishment when I could understand and realize I know that I know that like so not just a children's book an adult book as well
I wanted to say to Tracy there's that one scene in the beginning of the book where a Mott is video chatting with
Kylie and she's singing the Liang to allow whoo it's so funny because my mom would sing that song to my kids.
All the time when they were little that was the one song she's saying.

[35:03] So when I saw that I kind of looked it up but I was like I know that song Yes is very validating because that's the only song I know how to sing to my kids same here I don't think it though to mine but I know it,
it's like the the must sing of Chinese school I think we think I retained if you have a story if I can share it,
this page here where Alma takes Kylie to go look at a beautiful view of Taipei.
And you see this more close-up view of Taipei 101 one of my first trips to Taiwan I went with my brother.
He's an awesome brother just to say that but we did this trip together and found this.
Really short hike call up to Elephant Mountain I highly recommend it if you go it's.

[35:57] Very doable but we went there the morning that we flew in and.

[36:04] I was really dehydrated and probably really out of shape and I vomited at the top and,
the beautiful sibling relationship that people can have you is like getting me on the shoulder like not knowing what to do and I will face was pale.
He's like.

[36:26] Are you okay but it was like a beautiful day and there's pretty and I like so that was it's like.

[36:36] But mountain is used with that memory now it's amazing well.
That's very memorable if anything is probably one of the most memorable hikes of your life and thank you for the tip
and Margaret I really love you alluded to the structure of the book a little bit in the beginning but really the
it's it feels like a mirror image where every line from the first half is repeated in the second half but after the transformation that Kylie has where she actually
Embraces and leans in and becomes the leader of her family pulling pulling her family along throughout Taiwan or Taipei,
how did you decide to use that device so I had come across this it's called a reverse poem.
When he basically it's a poem that could be a red regularly and then also in Reverse but it has a different meaning
and often also has a different tone when you read it in reverse and so I had come across this poem and I thought it was so cool because
it was about generators called The Lost Generation it was about Generation X or maybe the one after that it about how hopeless they were and then.

[37:56] When you read it in reverse it's a bit was really hopeful and so I wanted to challenge myself to write a picture book.
It kind of using that format and I had had this idea about my Amah for a very long time I wanted to write it but I just didn't know how to do it.
And so once I decided I was going to use that format I was thinking about the different.
Stories that would work and this one came up and it was actually really perfect because what I really wanted to focus on was the change in that Kylie goes through.
And how she's so different from the beginning of her trip to the end of our trip that was the perfect in my mind that was the perfect structure to highlight it.

[38:39] Yeah it's really beautiful can you tell us some more about how you saw the the Mother character in this book.

[38:47] So the mom to me she was there kind of as.

[38:53] Kind of you know she's the one that takes Kylie back like I needed to have her in the story because.
Right a little girl wouldn't be going by herself to Taiwan but you know I actually love how it turned out is that.
Like to me she's there because she misses Taiwan and she misses her mom and she's there to just enjoy it and.

[39:17] When I think and I look at Tracy's illustrations I think you know how like.

[39:22] When you're with your parents like you kind of become a child again even though you're a grown-up.
Like I kind of feel like that's her like she's kind of like letting her mom you know really make the connection with Kylie.
But she's just enjoying the ride and just being like a kid and you know stuffing her face and all that stuff maybe Tracy had a different different,
intention but that's just what I took away from it I completely agree.
I I think almost every scene if she's not eating he's talking about eating so that was something I was thinking about.

[40:03] It was kind of a play in my head this is how I would see myself as a parent bringing my kid to Taiwan and like.
If my mom was still alive I would that's what her role would be I'm going to educate you and.

[40:19] This is what you're going to learn and you're going to speak Chinese and
and then I would be eating that's also what my mom has done to when she's taken me he's like I'm gonna get all the fruit and
these are the things I need to get through the night market and just planning mostly the fuel journey and like because that's what.
We miss Wright from Taiwan most yeah.

[40:46] Oh my goodness thank you so much for sharing that Insight another thing that I didn't notice until like maybe the third read was how this,
book the characters are so focused on the women of the family
and our conversation today has been very much focused on matriarchs and the influence that matriarchs have on the family like did you think about having the male members of the family present in the story or where are the men of the family.
So from a writing standpoint,
this is so boring but from a writing standpoint I just wanted to streamline the story it's a picture book,
there's only about 500 words so I really just wanted to make it simple and keep the focus on Kylie and her connection with Emma,
so that is kind of why I left out anyone else that wasn't absolutely essential to the story however I think it makes.
Presents an opportunity for people that are reading it you can make up whatever backstory you want it could be that they're in Taiwan for female bonding time it could be that.

[41:53] Dad or whoever else couldn't get away for some reason or it could be that Mom is a single parent I mean really it could be whatever narrative.

[42:03] They want to make it in to fit their situation.
And I think it does honor also how how much our mothers have played a part in our upbringing and our connection to our culture so I think it'll resonate with a lot of people,
yeah I'll second that I mean for me personally my.

[42:24] My relationship with Taiwan is very much maternal so my y going passed away the year after I was born so I didn't really know him.

[42:34] And you know there's just a closeness that I have with the maternal side of my family in general I've literally have a picture of.

[42:44] My mom and my wife Paul the three of us together in Taiwan there is that connection.
For me personally with that book and that is something that you know that happens for the illustrator is that they can.

[42:59] Fill in the gaps where they want to and.
This is just the path that I chose that really that that resonates with me so much because I well I my parents were divorced so most of my experience is defined by my mother and but even.

[43:15] Even when she took me to Taiwan my pictures are very much of the women of the family.
Same thing for me even though at the grandma that we share between Angela and I think that was my dad's mom all of my experiences and connections to Taiwan and yeah the pictures are.
All of those memories are driven by my mom this has been a very
I opening conversation and that's kind of what we're all trying to do here right with the hearts in Taiwan is trying to dive into things around our heritage and identity that maybe we never proactively
thought of,
we want to close every one of our episodes with our signature closing question for each of you which is what do you think it means to be Taiwanese,
Tracy do you want to go first I'm proud of the Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland.

[44:11] Their sole purpose is to just celebrate Taiwan and have people know about Taiwan.
And I think a lot about that you know you can be Taiwanese you can be from Taiwan you can have family from Taiwan you can have roots in Taiwan,
but there's also something special about people who just love Taiwan and they.
Have their hearts in Taiwan so I had to say it but a lot of it is just about building that community and having some form of Celebration,
love that love that and what about you Margaret I also thought about this a lot and I think I just have it boiled down to your either.

[44:59] Born raised a family family connection to Taiwan and,
you appreciate and value the time of these values and culture
this is amazing oh my gosh I love those this is what I want to ask these questions right I think it's so great to hear everyone's thoughts around that.
What are the best ways for people to get updates on what's coming next from you you can find me on Instagram at Tracy Suba sack I also have a website Tracy super stock.com.
Essentially I am the only Tracy Suba sac,
in on the Google first so it will be and I will be there all eventually come out with a newsletter so keep an eye out.
I'm also on Instagram although not as active at Margaret gradius I have a website Margaret greanias.com and I have an email,
subscription list and I also mostly probably on Twitter at Margaret grainy because it wasn't long enough to add the s to the end of my name.
All right well we will we will follow you and we will link all of those in the show notes so that it's easy for other people to find follow And subscribe to you.

[46:25] Because a lot of the people who are writing books right now are writing about their own experience and there.
There were so many of us second generation wave
kids front of immigrants so the stories are often center around that experience but as I read them to my children I recognize that this doesn't reflect their experience with their grandparents because,
my mom is here yeah all their grandparents are here in America yeah so,
I am curious like what will the books look like from third generation and Beyond creators how will how will they talk about their relationships with their grandparents,
yeah I think I think there's a lot more room for stories to be told especially that the Next Generation can relate to and I think that.

[47:18] Just them seeing that even if it's not their story that it's somebody that looks like them story.

[47:27] And they hear that their parents are like oh my God see this was like what my experience was and they can connect that then that will just prompt them to feel more comfortable,
being those creators for their own generation and it is just this domino effect of having more stories and I think the commonality will be
like in our situation this conversation we don't know Margaret and Tracy but we had so many moments of connection,
and relatability with our experiences growing up I feel like that's still going to be the same thing for our kids.
Totally I want to remind everyone that the best way to support authors is to buy their books especially if you are hearing this episode close to launch time now is the best time to make your purchase,
one of the things that we talked about Annie was how to get signed copies
authors will share but leading up to and at launch which
Indie bookstores are supporting them by offering signed copies and authors will definitely offer signed copies through their local independent bookstore but also other
bookstores that are on their tour it doesn't cost any extra to do a signed copy
maybe I'm in the minority of people that didn't know this shows you how often I go and buy physical books.

[48:57] Because I was like you what how did you what I couldn't even process what you were showing me when you got this I think for the author even like even the sales through,
Target Barnes & Noble Amazon whatever like the online purchases.
Those are just as important to them because it helps them ranked on Amazon's top number one list or whatever in their category and so those sales are helpful as well so definitely,
do whatever will help you motivate you to order.
As soon as possible whether it's you you're motivated by signed copies or you're motivated by having something easily come to you.
People who want signed copies of Amah far away the Indie bookstore that is selling copies signed by Margaret greanias is linden tree books in Los Altos California.
And the bookstore offering signed copies by the illustrator Tracey super sack is green bean books in Portland Oregon.

[50:06] The other important way to support authors is to leave reviews beginning of reviews we have a new one
I noticed this review on Apple podcast so thank you Jennifer let's let's read it out.
So makes me proud to be both Taiwanese and Asian-American that's the title I love it that says so much.
Discovering this podcast was like rediscovering my Heritage and childhood,
the hosts are great storytellers and every episode is engaging although I am Taiwanese is podcast hits on a much deeper level it touches what it's like to be growing up as an Asian-American because we all share similar trials and joys of that kind of life,
there's something for everyone here I love that oh my goodness that is so rewarding.
We put these intentions into the all white guys will like why do we keep creating episodes and why do we put time into this,
on top of everything else that we do and just seeing that that it's it's paying off it is helping every single review means so much so thank you.

[51:15] And also we've been super excited to see referrals come in for introductions to other guests that we can interview we're so grateful for that keep continuing to think about who you would like to hear from or who would make great guests.

[51:29] Thank you so much for joining us for hearts in Taiwan,
make sure to check out our show notes in the episode description for links to all the things we share today we would love to hear from you rdms are always open or you can email us at hello at hearts in Taiwan.com.

[51:44] Until then follow your curiosity and follow your heart.

[51:49] Music.

No idea what to call our aunts and uncles
Introducing Margaret Chiu Greanias and Tracy Subisak
Connections to Taiwan
Family influences growing up
All the names for our grandmothers
Amahs faraway, Mamas close by
Easter eggs in the Amah Faraway illustrations
Literary choices in writing Amah Faraway
Where are the men?
What does it mean to be Taiwanese?
A new review!