VoyageLA Magazine Interview

Meet Bonnie Yi Hyde 


Founder of the American Born Chinese Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bonnie Hyde. They and their team shared their story with us below: Born and raised in a bustling metropolis in China, Bonnie Hyde hails from a lineage of Chinese aristocrats. However, the tides of history altered her family’s trajectory at the turn of the century. Despite her mother’s success in business, the constraints of societal norms left her with a sense of unfulfillment due to limited social freedom in China. Determined to break these barriers, Bonnie’s mother instilled in her daughter the courage to pursue her aspirations fearlessly.

From an early age, Bonnie was inspired by her mother’s philanthropic endeavors, which included sponsoring underprivileged students from primary to graduate school. One poignant memory etched in Bonnie’s mind occurred during a visit to a rural village at the tender age of ten. Witnessing a young girl, bereft of shoes and orphaned, left an indelible mark, reinforcing Bonnie’s commitment to aiding those in need and fostering empathy.

As she matured, Bonnie embarked on a journey of self-discovery, propelled by a thirst for knowledge and a desire to reconcile her cultural heritage with her global experiences. Her educational pursuits led her to secure a scholarship for college in the United States, where she initially pursued studies in economics and accounting. Yet, it was her extensive travels across nearly forty countries that ignited her passion for delving deeper into traditional Chinese language and culture. Driven by introspection and a broadened worldview, Bonnie transitioned from a decade-long career in finance and business to pursue graduate studies in educational psychology. Embracing the role of a preschool teacher, she gleaned invaluable insights into early childhood development, utilizing her experiences to heal intergenerational wounds stemming from her own upbringing.

Blessed with motherhood, Bonnie founded the American Born Chinese Foundation—a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing positive AAPI identity from early childhood. Recognizing the pivotal role of language and cultural representation in shaping young minds, the foundation distributes free bilingual books nationwide. By fostering linguistic proficiency and cultural pride during the critical formative years, the organization aims to combat feelings of alienation and instill a sense of belonging among AAPI youth.

The foundation’s mission extends beyond literacy; it seeks to cultivate a supportive community that empowers future generations of AAPI children to embrace their heritage confidently. Through accessible resources and representation in child’s content, Bonnie envisions a future where every AAPI child finds validation and voice in American society.

To support the American Born Chinese Foundation’s endeavors and contribute to Bonnie Hyde’s vision of an inclusive and empowered AAPI community, please visit www.americanbornchinesefoundation.org.

Together, let us pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow, starting with the stories we share with our children.

I’m sure it wasn’t obstacle-free, but would you say the journey has been fairly smooth so far?

At every turn, challenges loomed large on Bonnie Hyde’s path to realizing her vision. From the initial conception of forming a nonprofit to sourcing bilingual children’s books publishers in the U.S., each hurdle seemed insurmountable. Procuring books from overseas presented logistical complexities, compounded by the daunting task of shipping large quantities. Even in the midst of pregnancy, Hyde found herself packing books and lugging boxes to the post office, only to discover that every aspect incurred unforeseen expenses. Undeterred by setbacks, Hyde resolved to take matters into her own hands by publishing her own books. Navigating the intricacies of working with illustrators and negotiating with printing companies proved to be a steep learning curve, punctuated by inevitable missteps and the subsequent need for second editions. Yet, through perseverance and determination, Hyde’s efforts bore fruit as free books found their way to 17+ states across the United States, with no signs of slowing down.

The real measure of success, however, lies in the heartfelt gratitude expressed by families and children who have benefited from the foundation’s literary offerings. Each shared story serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of bilingualism on individuals’ lives, reinforcing the significance of Hyde’s mission.

In the face of adversity, Hyde’s unwavering commitment to fostering cultural inclusivity and linguistic diversity continues to resonate, underscoring the transformative power of storytelling and community-driven initiatives.

We’ve been impressed with American Born Chinese Foundation, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

The American Born Chinese Foundation stands as an IRS-designated public charity dedicated to fostering positive cultural identity and bilingual literacy among AAPI children aged 0-8. Through its mission, the foundation seeks to cultivate a supportive community wherein children encounter meaningful cultural and linguistic representation in the books they encounter from infancy to early school years.

At the core of the foundation’s endeavors lies a commitment to ensuring that AAPI children have access to free bilingual books, thereby empowering them to forge connections with their familial and cultural roots. By nurturing proficiency in their home language, children transcend mere linguistic boundaries, thereby normalizing bilingualism and biculturalism within the American landscape.

With a focus on long-term impact, the foundation aspires to instill a sense of pride and belonging within AAPI communities, laying the groundwork for a more inclusive and culturally enriched society. Through the simple act of sharing stories in multiple languages, the American Born Chinese Foundation endeavors to create a legacy of cultural appreciation and linguistic fluency that resonates across generations. More info on www.americanbornchinesefoundation.org

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?

In addition to its impactful book shipments and reading programs, the American Born Chinese Foundation orchestrates two signature annual events. First among these is the LA Kids Book Festival, a vibrant gathering held every September at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles. Co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, this event boasts a star-studded lineup featuring renowned children’s book authors, acclaimed musical acts, award-winning tap dancers, and an array of engaging arts and crafts activities. Attendees also enjoy complimentary book giveaways and festival swag.

For more details, visit www.lakidsbookfestival.com.

Another highlight on the foundation’s calendar is its annual Lunar New Year Celebration Fundraiser, held in early February. This glamorous affair, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles, seamlessly blends traditional Asian arts and performances with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. With appearances by industry luminaries, the event serves as a captivating showcase of cultural fusion and philanthropic fervor.

Learn more at www.americanbornchinesefoundation.org.

Contact Info:

Website: www.americanbornchinesefoundation.org
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/americanbornchinesefoundation/?hl=en Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/freechinesebooks
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@user-vz6su9ri5v/videos
Image Credits Ryan Hartford 
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