Storyteller. Folklorist. Musician.

Charlie ChinWhen it comes to Kam and Lok’s life in Eden, special thanks must be paid to William David “Charlie” Chin. His insights into The Treasure of Mad Doc Magee were invaluable in the draft stage. It was a pleasure to spend time in his virtual company!

Charlie is a font of knowledge about the Asian American experience—he was one of the first to collect oral histories & family stories from the old timers of Chinatown. He has served as the Community Education Director at the Museum of Chinese in America, the Artist-in-Residence at the Chinese Historical Society of America, and a Smithsonian Community Folklore Scholar.

Experience Charlie’s Storytelling

Best of all, Charlie tells wonderful tales. He studied with the late storytelling master, Leong Chi Ming of Toishan, China, and specializes in the “Teahouse Style” of classical Chinese storytelling. He frequently performs at storytelling festivals & major museums and leads walking tours & docent training workshops in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Explore Charlie’s Writing

Charlie is the author of two children’s fables and a distinguished dramatist. Plays such as A.B.C., American Born Chinese (1983), 10,000 Stories of Chinatown (1991), The Last Spirit Boxer (1992), and Hawaiian Sweethearts (2001) have been produced in Boston, New York City, and San Francisco.

At the moment, Charlie is preparing a book about San Francisco’s Chinatown, its history, culture, and cuisine. He is also working on stories for young readers about:

  • The California Gold Rush of 1849
  • The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1865-1869
  • The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

Much of this work has grown out of his presentations to kids in San Francisco schools.

Purchase Charlie’s Children’s Books

China’s Bravest Girl: The Legend of Hua Mu Lan (Ages 6-12)

Bilingual in English & Chinese

Mu Lan, often called “the Chinese Joan of Arc,” is a young woman whose aged father is summoned by the emperor to fight an invading army. She dons her father’s armor, distinguishes herself in battle, only revealing her true identity when the war is over. (School Library Journal)

The ocean hides the oyster.
The oyster hides a pearl.
Bright armor and heavy helmet
Hid China’s bravest girl.

Clever Bird (Ages 6-8)

Little Celebrations Guided Reading Series: Grade 2

Townspeople come up with a plan to get revenge after a greedy farmer in China cheats Mo Chin out of a year’s worth of wages.

They walked into the forest. Soon they reached a tree near the flowing stream. Mo Chin asked his bird, “Is this a good place to find gold?”

The bird said, “Yes, of course.”

Magee Mentor: Charlie Chin