Ying Chang Compestine

Expert on Healthy Eating and Living, Chinese Culture, and Writing

Award-winning author, inspirational speaker, spokesperson, and television host, Ying is a sought-after speaker who has lectured at schools and universities around the world like Singapore American School and UC Berkeley, high-end resorts/cruise ships including Canyon Ranch, The World, Crystal, and Silver Seas, as well as prestigious TCS World Travel expeditions. She can present fluently in both English and Mandarin Chinese and has extensive experience in speaking to audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds.


Ying has authored over 20 books of multiple genres. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into her writing — from cookbooks and novels, to picture books for young readers. She is passionate about showcasing Chinese history and culture, promoting healthy eating and living, and inspiring young writers.


Ying has visited schools around the world, conducting her popular week-long Writer-in-Residence program to teach young writers. She also offers assemblies, lectures and hands-on demonstrations on healthy eating and cooking. For more details visit her School Visit page on her website.


Her novel Revolution is Not a Dinner Party, based on her life growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, has won numerous awards globally and has been selected as required reading in schools around the world. Several of her works are currently being adapted into movies, television series, and video games.


Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs and is regularly profiled in prestigious news media agencies, such as The New York TimesWashington PostSan Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post in addition to being named one of the “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading” by the Author’s Show.


Here is Ying’s bio in Chinese.


Download Bio

Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes the emperor of China, and his three advisors take advantage of him by stealing his stores of rice, gold, and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.

Trade Paperback
Square Fish

Nine-year-old Ling has a very happy life. Her parents are both dedicated surgeons at the best hospital in Wuhan, and her father teaches her English as they listen to Voice of America every evening on the radio. But when one of Mao's political officers moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. Will she be able to grow and blossom under the oppressive rule of Chairman Mao? Or will fighting to survive destroy her spirit—and end her life?

A Banquet for Hungry GhostsA Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales

According to Chinese tradition, those who die hungry or unjustly come back to haunt the living. Some are appeased with food. But not all ghosts are successfully mollified. In this chilling collection of stories,Ying Chang Compestine takes readers on a journey through time and across different parts of China. From the building of the GreatWall in 200 BCE to themodern day of iPods, hungry ghosts continue to torment those who wronged them.


In Cooking with an Asian Accent, award-winning author Ying Compestine, a nationally renowned authority on Asian culture and cuisine, reveals how to make delicious home-cooked meals that nourish the senses and the soul using accessible ingredients, simple preparations, and thrilling flavors.


In this action-packed adventure and coming-of-age story that finely weaves fact and fiction, thirteen-year-old Ming lives in a small village in Maoist China in the 1970s. From the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, Ming learns the history of Emperor Qin, known for building the Great Wall of China, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be.

Ying's Best One-Dish MealsQuick & Healthy Recipes for the Entire Family

A collection of quick, healthful, and delicious one-dish meals that include protein, high fiber carbohydrates, fresh vegetables, and more. Prepared using fast cooking techniques and nutritious ingredients, these recipes allow readers to pull together satisfying meals in a snap. Bonus materials include: meal-planning tips; ingredient short-cuts; grains and pasta cooking and storage guide; and pantry lists to make last-minute meals a breeze.


As night falls, one hungry ghost is looking for his dinner. Yum! He spots a plump, delicious-looking boy just right for boy dumplings. Even better, the boy knows the perfect recipe. He sends the ghost all over China for stinky garlic, wormy cabbage, and moldy dumpling wrappers. There's always one more ingredient the boy tells the ghost to find, but the hungry ghost knows the boy dumplings will be worth it. But when dawn arrives, will this crafty youngster escape--or will the plan he's cooked up lead him to the cooking pot?

The Runaway WokA Chinese New Year Tale

When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow! With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.

Check out more of Ying Compestine's books, including cookbooks, novels, and picture books, here.
Writer-in-Residence Program
Rising above Adversity – Growing up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Achieving Work/Life Balance as a Woman
Following Your Dreams – Building a Successful Creative Career with a Business Focus
Secrets of Healthy Asian Eating and Living
Raising Successful Children Without Being a Tiger Mom

Listen to Ying Compestine discuss the Chinese New Year on NPR’s Morning Edition. Check out Ying Compestine’s many interviews with news sources around the world, including: The Boston Globe San Francisco Gate Mercury News Asian Festival of Children’s Content Children’s Book Council Beijing Kids New Asian Writing Watch Ying Compestine’s Youtube channel for more appearances and cooking tutorials. Learn more about Ying Compestine on her website and LinkedIn YA horror novel to be adapted into an animated series by 108 Media. A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts to be optioned for a horror series. Learn more at DEADLINE.
For Chinese speakers: Here is Ying’s bio in Chinese

“Ying Chang Compestine is a dynamic and inspiring speaker. Ying is particularly gifted in speaking to upper elementary as well as high school students and her life story is well worth hearing. Our younger students really enjoy Ying’s Chinese flavored picture books and being an international school in Taiwan, they could relate to the content. Look no further for picture books that make the Chinese traditions come alive! Ying’s tips on how to be better writers together with her personal anecdotes relating to growing up during the Cultural Revolution stimulated further discussion in the middle and high school LA classrooms.” – Megan Noble, EMS librarian, Morrison Academy, Taiwan.

“Year 8 students at Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong received a crash course in novel writing, thanks to Ying Chang Compestine’s recent visit to our school. Using metaphors and anecdotes from her personal life, she painted a realistic picture of what a career as a published author can entail. Here’s hoping her words inspire the young writers in our midst to keep working towards their goals!” – Lauren Bull, Senior School Librarian, Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong

"I liked how encouraging she was to the students and how she made them feel like they've already got a great start towards their writing careers. She made them feel smart and capable." – Scott Pagel, EMS librarian, Morrison Academy, Taichung

“Ying Compestine just completed a highly successful visit to our Middle School Division at Singapore American School. She had engaging conversations with students and teachers throughout her stay and made separate presentations to our 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. We would love to have Ying back to SAS in the future for a longer stay. ” – Ron Starker, SAS Librarian, Singapore American School

“Our students enjoyed listening to Ying’s stories and learning about her writing process. Her presentation inspired students to write their own stories!” – Shannon Eves, Teacher Librarian, Canadian International School of Hong Kong

“Be prepared for an inspiring presentation. Also, be prepared for Ying’s books to fly off the shelves!” – Debbie Alvarez, Teacher Librarian, Bradbury School

“We were most fortunate to have this exceptional author and chef visit our students and teach them, directly and indirectly, language, history, cooking, and the craft of writing.” – Kathy Ilyin, Librarian, Bentley School

“Students from kindergarten to fifth grade enjoyed presentations that enriched their writing skills and understanding of other cultures. Chopsticks-using contests and videos made Ms. Compestine’s words even more memorable!” – Joanne Endo, Teacher, Baker Elementary School

“Strong, eloquent and touching. Ying has a way with words both vocally and in writing. She is an inspiration to writers around the world.” – Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC)

“Ying is a breath of fresh air!! Her secret recipe for inspiring, crowd pleasing events consists of contagious enthusiasm for healthy living and motivational and empowering encouragement to follow one’s dreams. As a coordinator and a liaison for many community events for Whole Foods Market, collaborating with Ying to inspire and educate was not only easy but so much fun! Ying’s can do attitude and relentless determination to succeed is a recipe I look forward to creating over and over again.” — Jane Shafer, Marketing Team Leader, Whole Foods Market

"This October we were so excited to have Ms. Ying Compestine to visit our children aged from 5-10. She held five amazing sessions that were filled with rich Chinese culture, book talks, and fun, engaging activities. It was such an incredible experience for our students to learn about how her books were created from getting inspirations to how she worked with publishers. What's more, for our children who are on the Chinese immersion track, it was also a valuable experience to hear her presentation in Mandarin!" - Avenues: The World School

Praise for Ying Chang Compestine's upcoming release: The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes "The hero of the original tale was a child ... in this version he’s the author of the plan and the focus of the action, and the story is the better for it." - Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)

"... a satisfying conclusion...whimsical illustrations. Backmatter explains the author’s interest in folktales and Chinese traditions. There are also guidelines for making a Chinese New Year’s Parade Robe. " - Booklist (Starred Review)

"A clever retelling buttressed by a fascinating backstory and vivid art." - Kirkus