Jenny Liao is a Chinese American author of stories that inspire readers to find pride in every part of their identity. Her work has been featured in the New Yorker and Bon Appétit. A proud child of immigrants, Jenny was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two calico cats, Donut and Beignet. When she’s not writing, she’s eating. No matter where she is in the world, she’s always searching for the local form of fried potato or Chinese takeout.
About my work
Growing up, I didn't see myself reflected in the books and magazines I read or the TV and movies I watched. It had a profound effect on the way I felt about my place in the world as an Asian American, like somehow I was less than, which I now know wasn't true.
After a decade of building a career in advertising, I shifted from identifying brand motivations to character motivations. Everyone is deserving of seeing themselves in the stories they read and watch. Not as caricatures. Not as cliches. But as strong characters with multifaceted personalities and values. From books to screens, writing relatable stories that find joy and laughter through pain is a focus of my writing. My work spans children's literature, editorial, adult fiction, and screenwriting.
My children's book journey began when a 2018 report by the Cooperative Children's Book Center confirmed that there were more children's books about animal characters (27%) than Asian and Pacific Islander characters (7%). In fact, there were more books with animal characters than all POC characters combined (23%). As a result, I set out to increase Asian representation in children's literature.
I can lick my elbows (I was told this is very difficult!)