May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage month, which means libraries across the country have rolled out reading lists they hope give the public an insight into populations that has ties not only to Japan, Korea and China, but to countries and territories such as Guam, India, Vietnam, and Fiji. While some libraries are nailing the suggestions, others are…well, a little unclear on the APA concept. So if you’re tagged to come up with book selections for next year’s APAH event, here’s a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Is the author of not of Asian heritage but has written a book from the perspective someone who is Asian?
- Is the author from an Asian country but never lived in (or even visited) the United States?
- Is the book theme or narrative not about Asian Americans, Asians, Asia or even America?
- Is the first book that comes to mind authored by a non-Asian American who dominated the best-seller lists more than 40 years ago?”
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then you may want to do a little research as to who or what qualifies as an Asian-Pacific American writer or work. But if you need a jump start, here’s a few suggestions from my favorite APA librarians:
The Next American Revolution – Grace Lee Boggs
Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans – Fred Ho
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
Re Jane – Patricia Park
Ghost Month – Ed Lin
The Shadow Hero – Gene Luen Yang
Secret Identities, v.1-2 – Jeff Yang, Keith Chow, Jerry Ma, Parry Shen
The Hundred-Year Flood – Matthew Salesses
Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem – Paula Madison
The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America) – Ellen Wu
Yellow Peril!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear – John Kuo Wei Tchen
The Prophecy Series – Ellen C. Oh
Huntress – Malinda Lo
The Namesake and The Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
A Little Life: A Novel – Hanya Yanagihara
One Hundred Demons – Lynda Barry
Aliens in America – Sandra Tsing Loh
Still confused? Visit the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) web site for news, features and commentary about the Asian-Pacific American experience and library resources. And whatever you do, do NOT wear a chopstick in your hair next May….