Saturday, May 8, 2021

AAPIHM Book Recommendations By Jennifer J. Chow

Every May, we get to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As an avid reader, my idea of celebration involves books.


Books that I’ve recently read by AAPI creators and loved include the following (my opinions are asterisked):


·        Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim (August 4, 2020)

Magical realism/Rom-com
"...similar to the sweet fabulist-romcom style of Lim’s debut, this new book follows a young woman’s culinary and magical adventures."—BookRiot


*A luscious book filled with treats about love, family, and destiny.


·        Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han (November 17, 2020)

Literary fiction/Family saga

“A deeply affecting portrait of one family’s immigrant experience—and the toll that the American Dream takes on those who chase it.” —Harper's Bazaar

*An intense and quietly moving portrait of a family in a cultural crossroads, entwined with internal excavations.


·        Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (May 4, 2021)

Culinary cozy mystery

"This debut introduces readers to Filipino American food and culture, with its emphasis on family…” —Library Journal, starred review

*A great start to a new cozy series filled with serious eats and culture.

·         The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler (ARC; releases July 6, 2021)

Women’s fiction/Mothers and daughters

"The Tiger Mom's Tale is a heartfelt, delightful read. Lyn Liao Butler's story of Taiwanese and American identity had me turning pages and laughing (and drooling over the delicious descriptions of food)."—Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown, winner of the 2020 National Book Award


*A must-read moving journey of growth and character, imbued with warmth and authenticity.


Here are a few novels I’m looking forward to picking up soon:


·       Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (April 27th)

Rom-com/Murder mystery

People have compared it to Weekend at Bernie’s—but involving a dead blind date, meddlesome aunties, and an over-the-top wedding.


·        Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (August 3rd)

Historical mystery

Set in 1944 Chicago. After her family’s release from Manzanar, a Japanese American woman must hunt for the real truth behind her sister’s death.


·        Steelstriker by Marie Lu (September 28th)

Young adult

The concluding book in the Skyhunter duology, this novel explores issues of complicated friendships, homeland loyalty, and chilling scientific modifications.


What AAPI book recommendations do you have?



  1. Thanks for a whole new world of books to explore!

  2. I love this list, Jennifer, and the way you put it together. You make this retired librarian's heart sing.

    My addition is the middle grade novel Front Desk by Kelly Yang. It's the first in her series about 10-year-old Mia Tang and her family, newly arrived in California from China. The book has everything - humor, empathy, missteps, friends, scoundrels, triumphs, and best of all Mia (brave, bright, and a budding writer). One of the best books I read the year it came out (2018). I know that makes it three years old, but now there are more in the series. Yay! Look at the awards and accolades Front Desk won:

    Asian / Pacific American Award for Children's Literature; Parents' Choice Gold Medal Fiction Award Winner; NPR Best Books of the Year; Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year; Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year; Washington Post Best Books of the Year; Amazon Best Books of the Year; School Library Journal Best Books of the Year; Bookpage Best Books of the Year; New York Public Library Best Books of the Year; Chicago Public Library Best Books of the Year; Top Ten Debut Novels 2018 - ALA Booklist

  3. You're welcome, KM and Molly!

    We actually have Front Desk on our bookshelf. She also has a sequel out called Three Keys.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations, Jennifer. Looks like some excellent reading.

  5. What a great list. My TBR is growing by leaps and bounds. I recently read the Cassandra Sato mysteries by Kelly Brakenhoff. Now you've given me an entire new universe to explore.

  6. You're very welcome, Grace!

    My TBR list is growing huge, too, Kait!