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L Sam Zhang

2023-24 National Leaders of Color Fellow

Headshot of a person with light skin tone with long black hair wearing traditional Chinese garments.


L Sam Zhang, author and illustrator of the children’s book series “The First Chinese Festivals,” brings to life historical tales and legends that date back thousands of years. Zhang’s goal is to make these stories accessible in English, enhancing the enjoyment and understanding of these festivals throughout the year. The vibrant books aim to help children gain a better comprehension of themselves and the diverse world they inhabit.

Born in Shanghai and raised in Buffalo, NY, Zhang holds a bachelors in Biology from Cornell and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Michigan. She dedicated a decade to branding and outreach for startups, research institutes and nonprofits on the West Coast. Currently residing in Michigan, Zhang serves as the executive director of the Kalamazoo Chinese Academy, a nonprofit organization committed to offering Chinese language and cultural experiences to youth from various backgrounds.