Authors & Asia Young Readers Edition: Ai-Ling Louie, Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, Reaching for the Stars
Kalpana Chawla, born in northern India, achieved notoriety by becoming both the first Indian-American astronaut and first Indian woman in space. Her connections to Texas include a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and extensive time in the Houston area at the Johnson Space Center, where she trained for STS-87 (November – December 1997) and STS-107 (January – February 2003).
Unfortunately, Chawla passed away tragically along with six other crew members when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. In the decade since her death, she has received numerous posthumous honors and recognitions.
Noted children’s author Ai-Ling Louie’s latest title continues this theme of commemoration while chronicling her life and hoping to inspire future Asian Americans to reach for their dreams. Please join us at Asia Society Texas Center for this unique fusion of family programming and our Books in Conversation series. Ai-Ling Louie will read passages from her book, answer questions about her research, and teach your children about Kalpana Chawla’s interesting life.
About Ai-Ling Louie
Ai-Ling Louie was born in New York City in 1949. She grew up in the suburbs of New York and went to public schools in Oceanside. Her mother was the first Chinese-American teacher hired by the New York Public Schools and her Ai-Ling Louie father was hired by a tap and tool company on Long Island as a machinist and the company's first non-Caucasian employee. She grew up hearing amazing stories from her parents and their friends and after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, Louie became an elementary school teacher and children's librarian.
Her first book, Yeh-Shen, A Cinderella Story from China, a folk tale passed down from her grandmother, is one of the oldest written Cinderella stories in the world and pre-dates the European Cinderella. Louie noticed there were not many children's biographies about Asian Americans, thus she began a series titled Amazing Asian Americans. Vera Wang, Queen of Fashion was the first book, followed by Yo-Yo and Yeou-Cheng Ma, Finding Their Own Way. Her latest work, released in December 2013, is Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, Reaching for the Stars.
Education programs at Asia Society Texas Center are made possible by support from Marathon Oil and The Simmons Foundation. Additional support provided by Asia Society contributors and members.