STARRED REVIEW
July 2018

A treasure trove of classic stories

By Elsie Chapman, edited by Ellen Oh
Review by

As a collection of Asian myths and legends, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings could be required reading for any classroom. Fifteen acclaimed Asian and Asian-American authors breathe fresh life into 15 popular Asian folktales and myths, elevating this anthology to a higher level.

Share this Article:

As a collection of Asian myths and legends, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings could be required reading for any classroom. Fifteen acclaimed Asian and Asian-American authors breathe fresh life into 15 popular Asian folktales and myths, elevating this anthology to a higher level.

Editors Ellen Oh (YA author and co-founder of the nonprofit organization We Need Diverse Books) and Elsie Chapman (a fellow author and member of the same nonprofit) have compiled these diverse narratives to represent the stories and cultures of East and South Asian peoples, who are all too often disregarded in modern media and publishing.

Fifteen popular Asian legends are given new life in this collection.

Spanning Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi and Vietnamese cultures, authors such as Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn), E.C. Myers (Fair Coin) and Aisha Saeed (Written in the Stars) have reimagined the stories of their ancestors from their own viewpoints, crafting layered tales with nuance and cultural wherewithal. For example, in Ahdieh’s “Nothing into All,” a brother and sister try to lift themselves out of poverty by using the magic of forest goblins to transform common objects into gold, but the dueling good and evil in their natures result in twisted desires and irreversible consequences.

The retooled stories included here fall into many categories—fantasy, science fiction, romance—and each gives the reader newfound insight into Asian culture and history. As a welcome bonus, each author has penned an educational essay chronicling the historical origins of their chosen tale.

By giving these bestselling and award-winning authors an opportunity to freely explore their histories and identities, Oh and Chapman have created a work that celebrates Asian storytelling. It should fill the authors and editors with pride and the reader with wonder.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

By Elsie Chapman, edited by Ellen Oh
Greenwillow
ISBN 9780062671158

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!