Books for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Colleen Rowe | April 30 2021 | Humanities & Social Sciences

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, and we are sharing books from AAPI creators to be read and celebrated by students all year long.

 

Minor Feelings

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.

 

All You Can Ever Know

Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up for adoption, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

 

Family in Six Tones 

This is a dual first-person memoir by the acclaimed Vietnamese-American novelist and her thoroughly American teenage daughter. Family in Six Tones speaks both to the unique struggles of refugees and to the universal tug-of-war between mothers and daughters.

 

Angel & Hannah

This sweeping, unforgettable reimagining of Romeo and Juliet tells the story of an interracial couple in 1990s New York City who are determined to protect their love against all odds. The poetry of Angel and Hannah’s relationship is dynamic, arresting, observant, and magical, conveying the intimacies and sacrifices of love and family and the devastating realities of struggle and loss. 

 

They Called Us Enemy

This graphic memoir recounts George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous 

This is award-winning poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, a portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how to heal and rescue one another without forsaking who they are. 

 

Mrs. Spring Fragrance

A rediscovered classic of linked short stories set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Mrs. Spring Fragrance portrays Chinese Americans as they fall in love, encounter racism, and wrestle with their new, hyphenated identities—a century before writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan.

 

America is in the Heart

Carlos Bulosan (1911–1956) wrote one of the most influential working class literary classics about the U.S. pre-World War II. Bulosan’s semi-autobiographical novel  is  about the United States in the 1930s from the perspective of a Filipino migrant laborer who endures racial violence and struggles with the paradox of the American dream. This edition includes a foreword by novelist Elaine Castillo.

 

Bestiary

Tracing one family’s history from Taiwan to America, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood. Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this corporeal debut about one family’s buried secrets.

 

Girl in Translation

Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

 

A Place for Us

A Place for Us is a novel of identity and belonging, and a resonant portrait of what it means to be an American family today. All the joy and struggle of family life is here, from Rafiq and Layla’s own arrival in America from India, to the years in which their children—each in their own way—tread between two cultures, seeking to find their place in the world, as well as a path home.

 

Visit our course catalog for books in the following categories:

Asian American Literature

Asian American Fiction

Asian American Memoir

Asian American Non-Fiction

Asian American Poetry

Asian American History

Asian American Studies

People and Cultures of the Pacific

 

Minor Feelings
An Asian American Reckoning
978-1-9848-2038-9
A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged exploration of the psychological condition of being Asian American, by an award-winning poet and essayist
$18.00 US
Mar 02, 2021
Paperback
224 Pages
One World

All You Can Ever Know
A Memoir
978-1-948226-37-0
A NATIONAL BESTSELLERThis beloved memoir "is an extraordinary, honest, nuanced and compassionate look at adoption, race in America and families in general" (Jasmine Guillory, Code Switch, NPR)What does it means to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
$16.95 US
Oct 15, 2019
Paperback
256 Pages
Catapult

Family in Six Tones
A Refugee Mother, an American Daughter
978-1-9848-7816-8
"A brilliant duet and a moving exploration of the American immigrant experience."--Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being A dual first-person memoir by the acclaimed Vietnamese-American novelist and her thoroughly American teenage daughter
$28.00 US
Sep 15, 2020
Hardcover
320 Pages
Viking

Angel & Hannah
A Novel in Verse
978-0-593-13432-0
This sweeping, unforgettable reimagining of Romeo and Juliet tells the story of an interracial couple in 1990s New York City who are determined to protect their love against all odds
$18.00 US
May 11, 2021
Paperback
192 Pages
One World

They Called Us Enemy
978-1-60309-450-4
New York Times Bestseller! A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
$19.99 US
Jul 16, 2019
Paperback
208 Pages
Top Shelf Productions

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
A Novel
978-0-525-56202-3
The brilliant, New York Times bestselling debut that has taken the literary world by storm: Award-winning poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel, a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling
$26.00 US
Jun 04, 2019
Hardcover
256 Pages
Penguin Press

Mrs. Spring Fragrance
and Other Writings
978-0-593-24120-2
A rediscovered classic of linked short stories set in San Francisco's Chinatown, portraying Chinese Americans as they fall in love, encounter racism, and wrestle with their new, hyphenated identities--a century before writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan.
$16.00 US
May 11, 2021
Paperback
192 Pages
Modern Library

America Is in the Heart
978-0-14-313403-9
A 1946 Filipino American social classic about the United States in the 1930s from the perspective of a Filipino migrant laborer who endures racial violence and struggles with the paradox of the American dream, with a foreword by novelist Elaine Castillo
$18.00 US
May 21, 2019
Paperback
384 Pages
Penguin Classics

Bestiary
A Novel
978-0-593-13258-6
Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, corporeal debut about one family's queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets.
$27.00 US
Sep 29, 2020
Hardcover
272 Pages
One World

Girl in Translation
978-1-59448-515-2
From the author of Searching for Sylvie Lee, the iconic, New York Times-bestselling debut novel that introduced an important Chinese-American voice with an inspiring story of an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.  When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life—like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition—Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles. Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.
$17.00 US
May 03, 2011
Paperback
320 Pages
Riverhead Books