Book Recommendations for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
It's Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and the Long Branch Public Library is celebrating by sharing a list of Children’s and Young Adult fiction titles by and about people of Asian-Pacific ancestry.
For Young Children
A Scarf for Keiko by Ann Malaspina and Merrilee Liddiard
Summary of A Scarf for Keiko from Goodreads:
It's 1942. Sam's class is knitting socks for soldiers and Sam is a terrible knitter. Keiko is a good knitter, but some kids at school don't want anything to do with her because the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and her family is Japanese American. When Keiko's family is forced to move to a camp for Japanese Americans, can Sam find a way to demonstrate his friendship?
You can find A Scarf for Keiko on Hoopla
A Different Pond by Bao Phi & Thi Bui
Summary of A Different Pond from Goodreads:
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. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.
You can find A Different Pond on ElibraryNJ
Inside out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai
Summary of Inside Out and Back Again from Goodreads:
For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.
Queen Panda Can’t Sleep by Susanna Isern, Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Summary of Queen Panda Can't Sleep from Goodreads:
Queen Panda hasn't been able to sleep for days. Her subjects are worried and exhausted from serving her day and night. Something must be done! As news spreads throughout the kingdom that a reward will be given to whoever can make the Queen sleep, animals from faraway places rush to the palace to try their luck. Who will find the magic solution to Queen Panda's problem? Bright illustrations bring together animals from all over the world in this humorous and clever bedtime story.
You can find Queen Panda Can’t Sleep on Hoopla
Double Happiness by Nancy Tupper Lee
Summary of Double Happiness from Goodreads:
For their move far away, Gracie and Jake are sad to leave
the golden bridge,
the trolley tracks,
and Nai Nai.But they fill empty boxes with treasures—
a marble, a snake,
a pair of wings.
Tiny reminders of all they love—
so happiness stays close,
no matter where they go.
With grace and warmth, this lyrical picture book speaks to the difficulty of transition, and celebrates the ways in which love and family give us the strength to weather life's changes.
You can find Double Happiness on Hoopla
For Young Adults
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Summary of Descendant of the Crane from Goodreads:
Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she's thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father's killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer-a treasonous act, punishable by death & hell is because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago. Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira-a brilliant and alluring investigator who's also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?
You can find Descendant of the Crane on Hoopla
Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Summary of Frankly in Love from Goodreads:
An Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Honor
Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong? Frank Li has two names. There's Frank Li, his American name. Then there's Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.
Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl—which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he's forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don't leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he's found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he's left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
You can find Frankly in Love on ElibraryNJ
Love , Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Summary of Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed from Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There's the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems "suitable." And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and pursuing a boy she's known from a far since grade school.
But in the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she's known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.
You can find Love, Hate and Other Filters on ElibraryNJ
To All The Boys That I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han
Summary of To All the Boys I've loved before from Goodreads:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.
But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.
As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
Books in the series: 3 Books
You can find all of the books in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series on ElibraryNJ
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Summary of When Dimple Met Rishi from Goodreads:
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she's more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the "Ideal Indian Husband." Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers...right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he'll have to woo her—he's totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn't mean to start turning the wheels on this "suggested arrangement" so early in their children's lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Summary of Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty of Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare's School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare's is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy's home and school. Now she's forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the "bossy" cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
Stacey Lee masterfully crafts another remarkable novel set against a unique historical backdrop. Strong-willed Mercy Wong leads a cast of diverse characters in this extraordinary tale of survival.
Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Summary of An Ember in the Ashes from Goodreads:
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear. It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself
Books in the An Ember in the Ashes series: 3
You can find all of the books in the An Ember in the Ashes series at ElibraryNJ
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott
Illustrated by Harmony Becker
Summary of They Called Us Enemy from Goodreads:
A 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.
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.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
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.
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
Summary of Chinese Cinderella from Goodreads:
A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In her own courageous voice, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph in the face of despair.
Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her, and life does not get any easier when her father remarries. Adeline and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled with gifts and attention. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for — the love and understanding of her family. Like the classic Cinderella story, this powerful memoir is a moving story of resilience and hope.
You can find Chinese Cinderella on ElibraryNJ
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
Summary of Parachutes from Goodreads:
They're called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she'd be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.
Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger's house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.
Dani De La Cruz, Claire's new host sister, couldn't be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani's game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.
As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.
You can find Parachutes on ElibraryNJ
To find additional Asian-Pacific American Heritage book recommendations check out the Association for Library Service to Children blog!