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Asian & Pacific Islander Voices

By Anna B, Isaac F, and Lisa T.
April 13, 2021

Click on any book cover to go to the catalog and place a hold. Happy reading!

These lists are always changing. See something we missed? Send your suggestions our way!

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling / written by Wai Chim.

Anna Chiu has her hands full. When she’s not looking after her brother and sister or helping out at her father’s restaurant, she’s taking care of her mother, whose debilitating mental illness keeps her in bed most days. Her father’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could be a normal teen.

Of Curses and Kisses / written by Sandhya Menon.

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Displacement / written and illustrated by Kiku Hughes.

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself “stuck” back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class

All-American Muslim Girl / written by Nadine Jolie Courtney.

It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret. It’s just that her parents don’t practice, and raised her to keep it to herself. But as Allie witnesses Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she decides to embrace her faith—study, practice it, and even face misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl?

This Light Between Us / written by Andrew Fukuda.

In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki from Bainbridge Island, Washington is disgusted when he’s forced to become pen pals with Charlie Lévy of Paris, France—a girl. He thought she was a boy. In spite of Alex’s reluctance, their letters continue to fly across the Atlantic—and along with them, the shared hopes and dreams of friendship. Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the growing Nazi persecution of Jews force them to confront the darkest aspects of human nature.

The Magic Fish / written and illlustrated by Trung Le Nguyen.

Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tié̂n still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tié̂n, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?

David Tung Can’t Have a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League College / written by Ed Lin.

David Tung is a New Jersey high school student who is navigating the streets of multiple social circles (regular school in an upscale, Asian-majority suburb versus weekend Chinese school in working-class NYC Chinatown), parental pressures to get As, two possible girlfriends he’s not allowed to have, and the fear he will die alone, whether or not he gets into Harvard.

A Wish in the Dark / written by Christina Soontornvat.

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat’s twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice — and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.

Bone Talk / written by Candy Gourlay.

Samkad lives deep in the Philippine jungle, and has never encountered anyone from outside his own tribe before. He’s about to become a man, and while he’s desperate to grow up, he’s worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. However, Samkad’s world is about to change utterly. He discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of a people called ‘Americans’. A people who are bringing war and destruction, right to their home.

The Bridge Home / written by Padma Venkatraman.

Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. When illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

The Weight of Our Sky / written by Hanna Alkaf.

Melati Ahmad believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. With the city in flames and a curfew in effect, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power.

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai

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