Grace Chang was born in Beijing, China, to a family of famous entertainers. As a little girl, she often sat with her father, Chang Bao Ting, while he wrote his radio shows, and she dreamed of becoming a writer herself one day. Her father’s “talk shows” were comparable to American variety televisions programs such as Abbott and Costello. He and his brothers became famous for their comedic performance, known as the Mushroom Brothers, and they appeared in the first black and white movie to be made in China.
At a young age, Grace Chang learned the art of magic from her grandfather in the courtyards of the Forbidden City, which was next door to her family’s home. Some years later, Grace was selected for the job of star illusionist and ringmaster in an internationally acclaimed Chinese circus. She is a multi-talented entertainer and performer and has appeared on stage and screen in both China and the United States, including the film, The Joy Luck Club. Her other talents include traditional folk singing, ventriloquism (an art she learned in America), costume and set design and, most recently, children’s book author. Her ambition springs from her father’s influence who always told her to do things right or not at all.
Grace has also spent many years helping families to adopt babies from China and estimates that she has placed over 2,000 Chinese orphans in the US. Her philanthropic work in this field was rewarded in 2006 with the Adoption Pioneer Award.
Grace Chang lives in Brooklyn with her American husband and son and can often be spotted riding her collapsible bicycle. She describes her home life as the best of “East meets West” just like her marriage. As the mother of a young son and someone who has had to re-define herself in a new culture, Chang wanted to write a children’s book that stressed the value of being just who you are—a message that is loud and clear in Jin Jin the Dragon (Enchanted Lion Books; $16.95; hardcover).