Join the Library in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander authors throughout May with a book list of new and recent fiction, nonfiction and poetry that spotlights a range of experiences within Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
When I’m Gone, Look For Me in the East by Quan Barry
Quan Barry carries us across a terrain as unforgiving as it is beautiful and culturally varied, from the western Altai mountains to the eerie starkness of the Gobi Desert to the ancient capital of Chinggis Khaan. As their country stretches before them, questions of faith—along with more earthly matters of love and brotherhood—haunt the twins. Are our lives our own, or do we belong to something larger?
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
Jacob’s heartfelt graphic memoir invites readers into her life growing up as a first-generation American and examines questions about race, identity, politics, and love that she and her six-year-old son grapple with. Her use of photographic collage is particularly effective.
Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
A highly imaginative thriller about a young woman who discovers that a strange map in her deceased father’s belongings holds an incredible, deadly secret—one that will lead her on an extraordinary adventure and to the truth about her family’s dark history. What is the purpose of a map? -from the publisher
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
Spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, an unforgettable cast of characters are united by their reckonings with the qualities that make us human–fear, love, shame, need, and loneliness. –from the publisher
Tastes Like War by Grace M. Cho
Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Cho’s memoir is a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history to understand herself and the cultural roots of her mother’s condition. –from the publisher
All You Can Every Know: a Memoir by Nicole Chung
The story Nicole Chung was told about her adoption was always the same: “Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn’t be able to give you the life you deserved.” Chung writes with a kind of “warmth and understanding that she applies to everyone in her own life. The memoir is universal: a story about learning to grapple with our own identities, about learning where we belong, and about families.” –from NPR
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
“Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender, and original, poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity”-from the publisher
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things. After the tragic death his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. With its engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki-bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.” -from the publisher
Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. –from the publisher
Kids & Teens
Watercress by Andrea Wang
Gathering watercress by the side of the road sparks a conversation among a family about their family history, heritage, and memories. Wang draws upon her childhood, growing up in a small, mostly white, rural town in Ohio as a child of Chinese immigrants in this autobiographical account. -from APAW Awards
Home is In Between by Mitali Perkins
Immigrating to America, a young girl navigates between her family’s Bengali traditions and her new country’s culture, exploring the meaning of home.-from NYPL
A Different Pond by Bao Phi
As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. –from the publisher
A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang
Paj Ntaub, a young Hmong American girl, spends a busy year with her family in their new home, and seeks a way to share the beauty of the world with a grieving neighbor. –from the publisher
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy.
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. –from the publisher
Displacement by Kiku Hughes
Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself stuck back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. –from the publisher
We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. They form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Their lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart. –from the publisher
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
A vibrant story collection about Cambodian-American life–immersive and comic, yet unsparing–that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities. Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. –from the publisher
Stargazing by Jen Wang
Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend–maybe even the perfect friend.