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10 Books to Read During Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

APIAHM

Since 1978, the month of May has marked Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month in America, recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Check out the 10 books listed here, among the many books available through Libby and Overdrive, that help celebrate and recognize those accomplishments. 

Love Hate and Filters

'Love, Hate and Other Filters,' by Samira Ahmed

In this unforgettable debut novel, an Indian-American Muslim teen copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides among peers and parents, and a reality she can neither explain nor escape.

Insurrecto

'Insurrecto,' by Gina Apostol

Two women, a Filipino translator and an American filmmaker, go on a road trip in Duterte's Philippines, collaborating and clashing in the writing of a film script about a massacre during the Philippine-American War. At its heart, this is a novel of emotional power that grapples with our endless ability to erase the past. 

America is in the Heart

'America Is in the Heart,' by Carlos Bulsoan

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. The semi-autobiographical novel is considered a literary classic about the working class in the U.S., pre-World War II.

All You Can Ever Know

'All You Can Ever Know,' by Nicole Chung

What does it mean 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. 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.

Minor Feelings

'Minor Feelings,' by Cathy Park Hong

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.

Human Acts

'Human Acts,' by Han Kang

In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho's best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

If You Leave Me

'If You Leave Me,' by Crystal Han Kim

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love; the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they're forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

Leavers

'The Leavers,' by Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her.

With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. 
 

burn Brighter Girls

'Girls Burn Brighter,' by Shoba Rao

Girls Burn Brighter is a searing, electrifying debut audiobook set in India and America. Irrepressible author Shobha Rao examines the extraordinary bond between two girls, driven apart by circumstances, but relentless in their search for one another.

Chemistry

'Chemestry,' by Weike Wang

At first glance, the quirky, overworked narrator of Weike Wang's debut novel seems to be on the cusp of a perfect life: she is studying for a prestigious PhD in chemistry that will make her Chinese parents proud (or at least satisfied), and her successful, supportive boyfriend has just proposed to her. But instead of feeling hopeful, she is wracked with ambivalence: the long, demanding hours at the lab have created an exquisite pressure cooker, and she doesn't know how to answer the marriage question. When it all becomes too much and her life plan veers off course, she finds herself on a new path of discoveries about everything she thought she knew. Smart, moving, and always funny, this unique coming-of-age story is certain to evoke a winning reaction.

Published on May 19, 2020
Last Modified May 30, 2020