Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Display



In the month of May we take time to reflect and celebrate the important role that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) have played in our shared history.  Expand your reading horizons with one of these titles written by Asian American and Pacific Islanders and featuring AANHPI characters.  Here are some suggestions:


Sharks In the Time of Saviors” by Kawai Strong Washburn is a groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into an engrossing family saga.  In 1995 Hawaii, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard from a cruise ship.  When sharks appear in the water, everyone fears the worst.  But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.  Nainoa’s family hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods–one that appears validated after he exhibits new abilities.  But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart.  When supernatural events revisit the Flores family, they are forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.


According to Jean Kwok, “The Family Chao” by Lan Samantha Chang is “a gorgeous and gripping literary mystery” that explores “family, betrayal, passion, race, culture and the American Dream.”  The residents of Haven, Wisconsin have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, happy to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners.  But when brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo Chao is found dead-presumed murdered-his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town.  The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James.  Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.


Natural Beauty” by Ling Ling Huang is a sly and sharp debut novel that eviscerates the beauty and wellness industry, exploring questions of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity.  Our main character is a virtuoso pianist who gives up her future as a musician to work at a high-end wellness store in New York City where the pursuit of beauty comes at a staggering cost.  Our narrator’s new job is a coveted one among New York’s beauty-obsessed, and it affords her entry into a new world of privilege.  But beneath these fancy creams and tinctures lies a terrible truth that threatens to consume her.  After all, beauty is nothing without ugliness.


You’ll find these titles and more in our “Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month” display in our display area.  You can also find a nonfiction AAPI display down in our Reference area.  For additional title suggestions, see the lists below: