The recent tragic shootings in the Atlanta area involving women of Asian descent are a reminder of the ongoing opportunity to build self-awareness as well as to advance racial equality and inclusion in our country. Lititz Public Library offers this list of books, audiobooks, and movies available to our patrons that elevate Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander voices and share their experiences.
Minor feelings : an Asian American reckoning / Cathy Park Hong – “Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America”
Asian Americans / a production of WETA Washington, D.C. and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) for PBS – This five-part series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, international relations, and cultural innovation. It is a timely, clear-eyed look at the vital role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation. Their stories are a celebration of the grit and resilience of a people that reflects the experience of all Americans. (DVD)
All you can ever know : a memoir / 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. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up–facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t, 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.
Everything I never told you / Celeste Ng – Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet : a novel / Jamie Ford – Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe. (Asian/Pacific American Literature Award Honor, 2009)
The incendiaries / R.O. Kwon – Phoebe and Will meet in their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who blames herself for her mother’s death. Will is a misfit who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables in secret to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe. Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is increasingly drawn into a religious group. When the group bombs several buildings in the name of faith, killing five people, Phoebe disappears. Will devotes himself to finding her, tilting into obsession himself, seeking answers to what happened and if she could have been responsible.
The farm : a novel / Joanne Ramos – “Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here–more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks–or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child”
Crazy rich Asians – A native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend₂s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick₂s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. (DVD)
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Tree of cranes / written and illustrated by Allen Say – “Allen Say (born James Allen Koichi Moriwaki Seii in 1937; surname written Seii in Japanese) is an Asian American writer and illustrator. He is best known for Grandfather’s Journey, a children’s picture book detailing his grandfather’s voyage from Japan to the United States and back again, which won the 1994 Caldecott Medal for illustration. This story is autobiographical and relates to Say’s constant moving during his childhood. His work mainly focuses on Japanese and Japanese American characters and their stories, and several works have autobiographical elements”
Puddle / Hyewon Yum – One rainy day, a little boy is upset because he can’t go out and play. His mom comes up with a way to keep him entertained–by drawing a picture of herself and him going outside, playing in the rain, and splashing in a giant puddle. They have so much fun drawing themselves that they decide to venture out and make the most of the rainy weather. (Asian/Pacific American Award: Picture Book Winner; 2017, American Library Association Notable Children’s Book; 2017)
Hana Hashimoto, sixth violin / written by Chieri Uegaki ; illustrated by Qin Leng – Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Will her confidence waver on the night of the show? (Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature, Picture Book, 2014-2015)
Wabi Sabi / Mark Reibstein ; art by Ed Young – Wabi Sabi, a cat living in the city of Kyoto, learns about the Japanese concept of beauty through simplicity as she asks various animals she meets about the meaning of her name. (Notable Book for a Global Society award winner, 2009; Asian/Pacific American Literature Award Honor, 2008)
The astonishing color of after / Emily X.R. Pan – After her mother’s suicide, grief-stricken Leigh Sanders travels to Taiwan to stay with grandparents she never met, determined to find her mother who she believes turned into a bird. (Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature Honor, 2019)
They called us enemy / George Takei – George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he 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 a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. (E-Book)