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Recommended Books for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Librarian Allyson Mower has gathered the following recommendations for this month.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, art by Harmony Becker

In conversations with his dad, George Takei as a teenager realizes that part of his confusion over his post-war experience was the fact that “we don’t know the unpleasant aspects of American history.” This book, through beautiful art and storytelling, brings to light a very personal and tragic experience in American history.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

I am only a few pages into this book, but I like the characters and writing so far. It’s refreshing to read alternative historical perspectives from less inhibited Americans who do not have to hide their ethnic or sexual identities but still struggle for meaning and place within a family.

Pachinko (now a TV series) by Min Jin Lee

A compelling family saga set in the thick of the Korean diaspora, this story shows the triumph of love and the sacrifices made to survive in a world of war, poverty, and prejudice.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

This collection of brainy short stories—authored by a technical manual writer—provide meditative entertainment (yes, I believe this type of entertainment is possible!) and endless creativity.

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (author and illustrator)

I loved this memoir and I don’t even like graphic novels!! The story of her family’s life in Vietnam and her life as an immigrant child is heart-breaking and inspiring at the same time. The art work is amazing. Thi Bui is truly talented.

Being Moral by Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande teaches us to not fear being mortal, but instead to make a plan because being mortal in our contemporary age means fighting battles against institutions and bureaucracies.

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