7 Books to Read for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Words are a powerful tool that can provide deeper insight into one’s life or story. As it is always May and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, one way to celebrate is to read about the people of AAPI and their experiences. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, there are many AAPI authors with unique stories to share. Here are seven books to read for AAPI Heritage Month:

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Written by singer and guitarist of the musical group Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart is a relatable memoir for AAPI people on the themes of finding identity, managing parental expectations and the importance of food in his culture. Zauner’s story is humorous and heartfelt, as it delves deep into his childhood and past. It gives readers a chance to see a new and different side of the star which is warmly welcomed.

Another Appalachia: Queer and Indian coming to a mountain location by Neema Avashia

A story that examines how different identities can intersect, Neema Avashia tells her story of being a queer desi woman in Appalachia. Gender, sexuality, class and race are just a few topics Avashia discusses and explains how it has affected the way she sees the world today. The book evokes a sense of nostalgia and sadness while raising universal questions and allowing for personal reflection.

To all the boys I’ve loved before Jenny Han series

Although this series is fiction, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was one of the few young adult romance novels of the early 2010s with an Asian American protagonist. Now known through its film franchise, the story helps normalize people of color, as main characters in genres like teen romance and comedy typically lack inclusivity.

The reduction of the bad Muslim by Syed M. Masood

This non-fiction novel tells the story of two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s as well as San Francisco in 2016. Told through a humorous comic strip, The Bad Muslim Discount tells what it is like to be a Muslim immigrant in modern America. . It also touches on ideas not commonly talked about, such as arranged marriage, Islamic identity, and living together in America.

Joy of Luck Club by Amy Tan

Also a movie people might be familiar with, The Joy Luck Club is the perfect book for those who want a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story about family bonding and overcoming hardship. It follows four mothers and four daughters with their families in 1949 San Francisco after having recently immigrated. The book’s title comes from the club the four mothers started to get together to play mah-jongg, eat Chinese food, and gossip about their children.

A place for us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us is the story of an Indo-Muslim family in Northern California trying to find the balance between tradition and modernity. Discovering how to navigate between two cultures, the bond that keeps family connected, and the differences between them, Mirza writes a compelling story about family relationships and connections while trying to understand her sense of belonging.

Inner Chinatown by Charles Yu

Humorous and satirical book, Charles Yu writes Interior Chinatown in a somewhat ironic way. The story follows Willis Wu as he does not see himself as the main character in his own life. Using race, immigration, and assimilation as main topics and ideas, Yu crafts a story that encourages readers to step out of the roles they may be forced into.

@mimi_calhoun

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