Books are one of the best ways to learn about new cultures and learn about the experiences of people all over the world. May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This is a month to celebrate the history, traditions, and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. York County Public Library staff have put together a list of young adult books that feature AAPI protagonists and cultures. Here are three of our favorites:
- The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (young adult novel)
Summary: Real life isn't a fairytale. But Tien 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 Tien, 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?
- Almost American Girl by Robin Ha (graphic memoir)
Summary: A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother's announcement that she's getting married—Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn't understand the language and struggles to keep up. Then one day Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.
- A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 16 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman (short story collection)
Summary: Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. Sixteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.
Want to see the more fantastic choices from our collection? Check out our Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Book List.