As a multiracial Asian American parent raising multiracial Asian American daughters in a media landscape much different from the one in which I grew up, I often think about how the images and role models, both fictional and real, to which they have access may shape their imaginations, aspirations, and ideas of what is possible. The decades-long discourse around diversity, and the lack thereof, in children’s literature and media, often starts with the idea of the importance of mirrors in which children can see themselves, their worlds, and their life experiences reflected back to them, especially in the form of textual and multimedia representations both performed and created by people like them. But more and more, as my children get older and become able to both converse with texts as fans and critics and become creators and producers of texts in their own right, I find myself thinking about the need to go beyond reflective mirrors or even windows through which different possibilities may be glimpsed. We need doorways through which we can step to create new realities. This may seem a slight distinction, but it’s one whose importance I’m learning from my children day by day.
Yi (Chloe Bennet), a teenage girl in modern-day China, longs to travel to all the places in the country she and her dad were planning to go to prior to his untimely death. In the midst of this mournful longing, she encounters a Yeti of all beings on top of her apartment building, hiding from scientists (Sarah Paulson and Eddie Izzard) wanting to expose him. It is suddenly on her and her two friends Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) to get this Yeti — whom Yi calls Everest — home to the Himalayas, even with the scientists on their tail.
With the conclusion of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, Dreamworks is set to release their new film Abominable this year. The story centers around Yi (voiced by Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s Chloe Bennett), a teenage girl in modern day China, and her quest to bring the Yeti she found, while playing her violin on the roof, back home in the Himalayas. She is joined by her childhood friend and popular kid, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), and Jin’s young cousin, Peng (Albert Tsai).