Display Highlight: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 10, 2021 – Sarah Vohsen, Adult Services
Here at the library, we celebrate diversity in our books and in our community. And the month of May gives us a great chance to highlight Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The term Asian Pacific is a bit broad, and it covers not only the Asian continent but also the Pacific islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was designed to celebrate the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have been instrumental in various successes in American history. It was originally created when Jimmy Carter approved the Congress designation of this month to honor these influential people and their unique cultures in 1978.
Our displays to observe this month have books by or about people of Asian Pacific heritage and also some books that focus on the history and culture of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands.
Some of the highlights of our Adult display are:
• The Farm by Joanne Ramos – This is the story of Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, who has been given a spot at the luxury retreat in Hudson Valley known as the Farm, where the best amenities for having a baby can be found. But when she realizes she is stuck there for the whole nine months, she begins to crave the life she had outside its borders.
• Eat a Peach by David Chang – David Chang’s memoir documents the humble start of his life as the child of Korean immigrants and leads readers through his work to create a noodle restaurant with fifteen locations that stretch from New York to Australia.
• Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu – Follow Willis Wu a “Generic Asian Man” who aspires to be a “Kung Fu Guy”. After he gets his big break, he discovers secrets about Chinatown and a family history that may change his life.
• Family in Six Tones by Lan Cao – Lan Cao came to the US as a refugee and has raised a child in the states, but even now she feels like she doesn’t quite belong. This book is Lan Cao’s discussion of these two influential experiences in her life and what they have taught her about herself.
• The Bad Muslim Discount by Syeed Masood – Masood’s comical novel is a story about Muslims immigrating to the United States. This novel spans the 1990s to 2016 and shows the lives of Muslims in modern America.
From the Youth picture book display:
• Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael López. – Based on the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.
• Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho; illustrated by Dung Ho. – A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes, but she has eyes like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s – eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea. This book is a lovely celebration of Asian heritage.
• Drawn Together by Minh Lê; illustrated by Dan Santat. – When a first generation Thai American boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens – through their shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
• Paper Son: The Inspiring True Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung; illustrated by Chris Sasaki. – Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo who traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Not papers for drawing – which he loved to do – but immigration papers to start a new life. Read the inspiring story of the Chinese American immigrant responsible for bringing Disney’s Bambi to life.
• It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Julie Morstad. – Gyo Fujikawa’s iconic children’s books are beloved all over the world. This picture book biography highlights the life and career of Gyo, a groundbreaking Japanese American hero in the fight for racial diversity in picture books.
From the Youth chapter book display:
• Aru Shah and the End of Time: A Pandava Novel by Roshani Chokshi. – When twelve-year-old Aru’s classmates dare her to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon intent on awakening the God of Destruction. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the legendary Pandava brothers and journey through the Kingdom of Death. Welcome to a new fantasy series set in the world of Hindu mythology.
• Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. – Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. Inspired by the author’s childhood experience as a refugee fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to America.
• Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. – Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor family, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in an attempt to find a way to change her family’s fortune.
• Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park. – In the 1880’s heartland, a young half-Asian girl is determined to realize her dreams: get an education, become a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and make at least one friend – no easy task considering the almost unanimous prejudice of the town’s citizens.
• All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat. – On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach entered a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon’s adventure. But when they turned to leave, rising floodwaters had blocked the exit. The boys were trapped! This is the amazing story of the seventeen-day rescue operation that involved thousands of rescuers from around the globe.