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May 1, 2022 | Library Staff

It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

In the United States, the month of May represents Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in honor of the first immigrants of Japanese descent and their arrival to American soil in May of 1843. It also commemorates the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May 1869, built by a majority of Chinese immigrant workers.

This month, take time to learn about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the struggles they face as Americans–there has been a stark rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the last three years as COVID-19 increased anti-Asian racism across the world.

To report Asian American Pacific Islander hate crimes or learn more, visit Stop AAPI Hate.

From speaking out when you see or hear anti-Asian sentiment, to doing your part by learning about Asian American Pacific Islander history, there are many ways you can celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Support the community by consuming books, movies, music and more by Asian American Pacific Islanders!

Here are some recent and popular titles written by Asian American and Pacific Islanders. You can also explore the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month collection on Hoopla! 

Adult fiction and non-fiction titles:

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

The Fervor by Alma Katsu

Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian

O Beautiful by Jun Yun

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America From the 90s to Now by Jeff Yang

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Young Adult titles:

A Clash of Steel by C. B. Lee

The Forest of Lost Girls by June Hur

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Made In Korea by Sara Suk

The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim

Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

XOXO by Axie Oh

Juvenile titles:

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho

From A Whisper to a Rallying Cry by Paula Yoo

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid series by Katie Tsang

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Early titles:

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho

Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

My Tree by Hope Lim

No Kimchi For Me! by Aram Kim

Watercress by Andrea Wang

Wishes by Muon Van

Here are some movies and TV series that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander voices.

The Big Sick

Crazy Rich Asians

The Farewell

Fresh Off the Boat (TV series)

The Joy Luck Club


Saving Face

Turning Red

Warrior (TV series)

Yellow Rose

This month of May, we hope you enjoy these titles and learn more about the history Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made in the United States. PBS has lots of Asian American and Pacific Islander historical episodes available online for free. Most importantly, if you are non-Asian: remember that the hardships and struggles the AAPI community face today can be alleviated just by lending a hand and educating your friends, family, coworkers, and others when they are expressing anti-Asian views. Do this year round and not just during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Our differences in beliefs do not truly separate us, or elevate us over others. Rather, they highlight the rich tapestry that is humanity.

George Takei