Get to Know… Andrea Wang!

My name is… Andrea Wang. I was named after the doctor who helped my mom deliver me, Dr. Andreas. He was Greek and pronounced his last name An-DRAY-us, but my parents took off the “s” and pronounced my name AN-dree-uh. I usually say my last name to rhyme with “sang” because then folks know to spell it with an “a” and not an “o.” In Mandarin, though, it’s pronounced “wong” to rhyme with “song.” Since people say my name a bunch of different ways depending on where they’re from and what they’re used to, I answer to pretty much everything, including all cries of “Mom!”

I am an… excellent procrastinator. But I’m not just sitting around binge-watching TV. Well, not usually. I’m procrasti-baking, or procrasti-cleaning, or procrasti-gardening. And even while I’m doing those things instead of writing, I’m mulling over the story I’m writing. I’ve come to realize that this is part of my writing process — letting my thoughts and ideas marinate while my hands are busy doing something else. Then, when I return to my desk, the words flow more freely.

As a kid, I was… always reading. And I mean, always. I read during meals, at the park, and in the bathtub. I got scolded a lot for it, so kids — if you’re reading this, know that books and water don’t play well together, that you should get more exercise than I did, and mealtimes are a good time to talk to your parents and ask them for an increase in your allowance (so you can buy more books).

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Writing is… how I explore the world around me, how I work through my feelings about things, how I entertain myself. That I can also entertain and inform others with my writing is one of the great joys of my life.

Reading is… everything to me. I was a super curious kid but also super, super shy. Reading is how I learned about other kids and our world, about how to solve problems, and about how to be a good friend.

Books are… friends and lifelines. They connect us to other people, other worlds, other ideas. Books can surround and comfort us with stories about people experiencing what we’re going through, or push us to stretch our imaginations and develop empathy for people who may be very different from us. Books are magic and wonder in a tidy little package.

Did you know… that Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen, wasn’t a scientist by training? When he emigrated from Taiwan to Japan, it wasn’t to do research in food science. He moved there to start a business making and selling socks!

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In my new book, MAGIC RAMEN: THE STORY OF MOMOFUKU ANDO, you’ll find out what inspired Ando to create instant ramen, and see how thinking like a scientist helped him succeed.

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Art by Kana Urbanowicz.

You can find me… physically curled up on the sofa with a book and a hot cup of tea, or virtually at www.andreaywang.com, @AndreaWhyWang on Instagram, and @AndreaYWang on Twitter. I am also a member of 19PBbios (19PBbios.com, #19PBbios), a group of 19 authors and/or illustrators of diverse picture book biographies that are releasing in 2019.

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MAGIC RAMEN comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th!!!
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Andrea’s first picture book, THE NIAN MONSTER, with pictures by Alina Chau, published in 2016. Her next picture book, out in 2020, is titled WATERCRESS, and will be illustrated by Jason Chin.

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