When the George Floyd protests happened last year, actor John Cho immediately thought about how his children would understand and perceive the events unfolding on our screens. Cho, who has a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley, always had it on his bucket list to write a children’s book. Although “Troublemaker” is not the book he envisioned when he first set out to develop a novel, it is a book of the times and a book that fills a void in terms of Asian American representation, covering themes such as the model minority myth, standing up for what’s right, and learning how to be an ally. In the book, Jordan, a 12-year-old Korean American boy, not only navigates Sa-I-Gu, also known as the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, but also his family life and social life. 

We talked to Cho about the origins of his book, his perception of the times, and what Asian Americans can do to be in solidarity with other people of color.

You can purchase a copy of “Troublemaker” at your local bookstore or online starting March 22. 

John Cho is known as Harold from “Harold & Kumar,” Hikaru Sulu from J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek,” or as the star of the live-action Netflix series, “Cowboy Bebop,” based on the worldwide cult anime phenomenon. John is also a former 7th-grade English teacher who grew up as a Korean immigrant kid in Texas and East Los Angeles (among many other places). He is also a proud father, with his Japanese-American wife Kerri, of two beautiful children — a 9-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old boy — who love to read.

Mochi magazine’s Black Allyship @ Mochi column is an ongoing project that urges an awareness of racial injustice in the United States, particularly the oppression of Black people in America. The articles, resources and opinions we share are a call to action, an open discussion, and a place to take a stance against anti-Black racism. Read more about the column here.

We want Black Allyship @ Mochi to spark productive conversation. We want to know how we can do better: Feel free to email the co-editors at


  • Giannina Ong is the Editor in Chief and Activism Editor of Mochi Magazine. During the day, she's a researcher, activist, and content creator. She holds a master's from University of Toronto's Women and Gender Studies Institute, and completed her bachelor's triple-majoring/triple-minoring at Santa Clara University. A spot-on Taurus (sun and rising), she is also a retired athlete, pasta-loving writer, and overeager editor.

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