Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Kristi Yamaguchi is an Olympic gold medalist, renowned children’s author, and, more recently, winner of the hit reality competition “Dancing with the Stars.” But her most important role to date is as the mother of two daughters with her husband and two-time Olympian, Bret Hedican.

“As a mother with multicultural children, it’s important to me that they understand and value their rich cultural heritage from both of their parents,” says Kristi.

In honor of Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month in May, Target invited the busy mom to help bring the vibrant stories of Asian Heritage to life at a school book reading, where she read her newest story, It’s a Big World, Little Pig. Throughout the month-long celebration, Target will host other exciting free events, including art exhibits, special entertainment and a 5,000-plus-book giveaway to elementary school students in San Francisco, Calif.

We sat down with Kristi to talk about her heritage and how she instills a love of reading in her own kids.

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Tell us about your new book. What inspired you to write the book?
Kristi Yamaguchi: Being a new mom and enjoying reading to my daughters inspired me to write my own children’s book.  Since I was little, I had a fascination with pigs and have quite the collection! So in the first book, Dream Big, Little Pig, Poppy the pig experiences life by trying different hobbies and interests before deciding to become a figure skater.  In It’s a Big World, Little Pig, Poppy travels the world and learns about different cultures.

Why is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month important to you?
KY: It’s a time to celebrate our accomplishments and appreciate our cultural values!

How do you inspire a love of reading?
KY: By being very engaged with my daughters’ education, I’ve come to understand how literacy plays such a critical role in their development. My Always Dream Foundation is launching an early childhood literacy program using e-readers to increase a child’s love of reading. I’ve been so fortunate over the years, and the foundation is my way to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

You’ve accomplished so much over the years. What would you say is your biggest and proudest accomplishment?
KY: Finding a balance between my career and being the best mom I can possibly be. I have a very special relationship with my mother, and my goal is to replicate that with my own kids.

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