Our May reads celebrates AAPI Heritage month. When you find a book you would like to explore, click on the title and be taken directly to our catalog. Happy reading!
Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim
Yumi Chung wants more than anything to be a stand up comedian, despite the initiatives of her parents to make her competitively academic. When she stumbles into a Summer camp taught by her favorite YouTube comedian, and the opportunity arises to skip her intensive tutoring to join, she jumps right in, even though it means assuming someone else’s identity.
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
When a young girl notices her eyes are shaped differently than her peers, she realizes they are the same as those of the women in her family she feels loved and inspired by. Beautiful language and warm illustrations help the empowering message of self love shine in this picture book.
Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand
After being teased about her body hair, Laxmi begins a journey of affirmation being loved and encouraged by her parents. Laxmi’s Mooch is an empowering story for kids of all ages about being comfortable with and proud of who they are.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Pashmina is a middle grade graphic novel about Priyanka Das, who finds her mother’s pashmina and is transported to India as it exists in films and myths. To find the truth about her family her mother has kept secret, Pri begins a journey to meet her family that takes her across continents and generations.
A Different Pond by Bao Ph
A Different Pond is a beautiful and heartwarming story of a father from Vietnam and his attempts to maintain traditions and share histories with his son now that they live in the US.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
This middle grade fantasy novel is beloved by readers of all ages. In it we meet Minli who, inspired by her hard-working parents, embarks on a journey to seek a new fortune for her family.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Kelly Yang’s Front Desk is loosely based on her own experiences as a first-generation American whose ambitious parents manage and live in a motel in southern California. Young Mia, our protagonist, uses her wit, heart, and hard work to help her parents succeed in an unfriendly (to say the least) environment.
Keep it Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence
Keiko Carter is approaching 7th grade and anticipating some changes with her friends and potential love interests, but having her close friends Jenna and Audrey by her side makes her feel ready to face those challenges… as long as she can keep those friendships together too.
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
Drawn Together is the vividly illustrated and highly energetic dialogue between an English-speaking child and his grandfather as they find an unexpected way to get to know one another beyond language barriers.
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang
Amy Wu is so inspired by her family’s ability to make perfectly round, perfectly filled, and perfectly soft and fluffy bao. When she is frustrated with her soggy, too small, or too big, or holey bao, she finds a perfectly Amy Wu solution.
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
Parachutes follows Dani and Claire, unlikely roommates and seniors at an elite high school in California. Coming from very different backgrounds, they both face issues in school and in their personal lives that show them they are better facing adversity together than creating it for one another.
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha
A teen graphic novel memoir about a Korean-born, non-English-speaking girl who is abruptly transplanted from Seoul to Huntsville, Alabama, and struggles with extreme culture shock and isolation, until she discovers her passion for comic arts.*
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable.*
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn when the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting becomes Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop. Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?*
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Patron Saints of Nothing is a coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.*
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
After losing her mother to depression, Leigh is certain she has returned as a crane to encourage Leigh to uncover the history her mother wasn’t able to articulate in the depths of her depression. This book is brilliant in its use of language, art, and color and is an incredibly valuable perspective on mental health.
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all. *
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Four mothers, four daughters, four families, whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s telling the stories. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters’ futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers’ advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives – until their own inner crises reveal how much they’ve unknowingly inherited of their mothers’ pasts.*
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
As a kid, author Gene Luen Yang’s friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.*
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root—that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.*
Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran
For anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong, Sigh, Gone shares an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature.*
DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi
Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi’s DMZ Colony is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Evincing the power of translation as a poetic device to navigate historical and linguistic borders, it explores Edward Said’s notion of “the intertwined and overlapping histories” in regards to South Korea and the United States through innovative deployments of voice, story, and poetics. Like its sister book, Hardly War, it holds history accountable, its very presence a resistance to empire and a hope in humankind.*
The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a powerful and exquisitely woven debut novel that explores identity, family, secrets, and what it truly means to belong.*
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.*
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, and an instant New York Times bestseller, Chanel Miller’s breathtaking memoir “gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter.” (The Wrap). Her story of trauma and transcendence illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicting a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shining with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.*
In Waves by AJ Dungo
In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner and the shared love of surfing that endured throughout their difficult times. Dungo explores the beauty and complexity of his relationship with his partner as they face her prolonged battle with cancer. With a passion for surfing at the forefront of this narrative, Dungo intertwines his own story with those of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of non-fiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.*
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.*
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko is an intergenerational story of conflict, tradition, and sacrifice starting in 1900’s Korea and ending in 2000’s Japan.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
In 1984 Henry encounters artifacts from the family of a girl he once loved before she was sent to a Japanese internment camp. Memories are told in powerful flashbacks that tackle love, sacrifice, and fear in the WWII era.
They Called us Enemy by George Takei
Long before George Takei braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. 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.*