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L Sam Zhang

Artist Statement

L Sam Zhang is the author and illustrator of the picture book series The First Chinese Festivals. Behind each festival lies a fantastic tale steeped in history and legends thousands of years old. She aims to make these stories available in English so more people can enjoy the festivities throughout the year in a meaningful way. These colorful books also help children better understand themselves and the world around them in our increasingly global environment.

Sam was born in Shanghai and grew up in Buffalo, NY. After getting a BS in Biology from Cornell and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan, she spent a decade on the West Coast doing branding and outreach for startups, research institutes, and nonprofits. Sam now lives in Michigan, and is the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Chinese Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing Chinese language and cultural experiences to youth from all backgrounds. She’s also a 2024 National Leaders of Color Fellow. To learn more, visit or follow her on Instagram @LSamZhang.