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Eva Chen knows what it's like to feel like an outsider.
The New York Times best-selling author, 41, tells PEOPLE that she "never saw books that reflected my experience" growing up — something that she deeply wanted to change.
Now, the mom of two — soon-to-be mom of three — hopes to add her own story to children's bookshelves with her new picture book, I Am Golden, on sale Jan. 11, 2022.
I Am Golden, illustrated by Sophie Diao, is an uplifting story that seeks to teach Asian American children about self-love and validation. The book will also include a special author's note, featuring Chen's own family photos, as well as a list of resources for Asian American advocacy.
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Illustration by Sophie Diao
"I'm a first-generation American, who grew up often feeling like I existed in the in-between of American and Chinese culture. I wrote this book, as a Chinese-American mother, to share my experience and to hope that future generations can see themselves reflected in these pages," Chen tells PEOPLE.
The New York City native describes I Am Golden as an "ode to Asian joy and family ties — and finding beauty in yourself, even when you feel like you are different."
Chen explains that given the nation's current events and rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, the book's message is more important than ever.
"I hope this book is used as a teaching tool for families, students and teachers to see that we all have inner beauty and strength in volumes we don't realize," she adds.
Chen previously worked as the editor-in-chief at Lucky and is currently the head of fashion partnerships at Instagram.
Along with I Am Golden, Chen is the New York Times best-selling author of eight children's books, including Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, A Is for Awesome! and Roxy the Last Unisaurus Rex.
I Am Golden will hit bookshelves on Jan. 11, 2022.