May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! To celebrate, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite books from Asian American and Pacific Islander authors for kids, teens, and adults, showcasing a wealth of stories and experiences. Read on for our picks.
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki – Learn about the artist responsible for the gorgeous illustrations in Disney’s Bambi. This picture book is beautifully illustrated, paying homage to the artist and illuminating Wong’s resilience in the face of adversity.
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua – This delightful story illustrates how with practice and help from your family you can master new skills. Learn along with Amy and be sure to try the recipe at the end!
That Thing about Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar – Bollywood movies are known for their fantastic music and dances! Inspired by her favorite movies, Sonali works though her emotions about her parents' possible separation with elaborate dance routines - but what happens when her performances begin to magically transform the world around her?
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang – Gene Luen Yang is an expert at telling stories through comics. This graphic memoir follows the Dragons, a legendary Oakland, California high school basketball team, through one intense season. Yang weaves riveting and emotional stories about the individual players, as well as the complicated history of basketball and the Dragons, into one epic book you won't want to put down.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon – What more can you ask for in a rom-com than a crossover boarding school romance and fairytale retelling? We'll wait... Sandhya Menon, best-selling author of When Dimple Met Rishi, hooks us into another fun, flirty, and fantastical YA romance series with Of Curses and Kisses. Keep an eye out for book #2, Of Princes and Promises, which will be on our shelves soon.
Parachutes by Kelly Yang – Kelly Yang entwines two drastically different yet parallel coming-of-age experiences in this dual narrative. When Dani and Claire are forced to live under the same roof while navigating the complicated waters of high school, their lives begin to collide in ways neither of them predicted. Parachutes deals with heavy topics including sexual abuse and trauma, and how they can affect and alter anyone's life regardless of wealth or status.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay – When a high school senior travels to the Phillippines to uncover the truth about his cousin's murder, he also uncovers some unexpected truths about his identity and the tumultuous politics at play in his country of birth. In Patron Saints of Nothing, Randy Ribay blends murder mystery and true current events to deliver a multidimensional, coming-of-age immigrant story.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – Under the looming shadow of an impending war, Zafira disguises herself as a man and braves a cursed forest to save her village. With this captivating tale inspired by Arab culture and legend, niqabi author Hafsah Faizal brings a refreshing voice to the often Eurocentric genre of YA fantasy. Book two of the series (We Free the Stars) is available now!
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang – The start of an epic dark fantasy series, this title will pull you into a militant world reminiscent of 20th century China, but with shamanistic magic, long dead gods, and a heroine you can’t help but root for. Kuang compassionately explores how war can ravage the lives of those who are forced to live through it, showcasing humanity’s real-world struggles in a fantastic setting.
Dear Girls by Ali Wong – In the form of letters to her daughters, comedian Ali Wong shares delightful and hilarious insight with her readers. Her stories are as heartwarming as they are funny. Like her standup, she doesn’t pull punches when it comes to talking about sex and dating, giving birth and parenting, and the differences between Vietnamese and American culture.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner – Zauner shares beautiful moments of her and her mother’s life in this stunning memoir. It is a thoughtful meditation on food, culture, grief, and the often fraught, but love-filled relationship between mothers and daughters.
Bestiary by K-Ming Chang – The disquieting, off-kilter, and poetic prose creates a haunting environment for this multigenerational story. Blending folklore and magical realism with a young queer love story, Chang transports the reader through layers of love and secrets buried in the backyards of America and Taiwan.
There are many more wonderful authors out there, writing in every genre, and we’d love to help you find more to read! For more recommendations, call or visit your library or try My Next Read to get a custom list of titles you might enjoy sent via email.