Still shopping for the holidays?
Even More AAPI Books!
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
I recently met author and artist Katie Yamasaki at a book reading. I have been writing about her work for years, and I convinced my local library to invite her to discuss her new book about her grandfather, architect Minaru Yamasaki, who designed the World Trade Center in New York City and many iconic buildings in Detroit. I brought all her books that I had and she signed each book to a different child. Nothing better than a children’s picture book signed by the author (except when the author is also an artist and draws a little picture too).
Even if my children are now all big.
Still, they are all getting signed Asian American picture books for Christmas.
Are you still looking for holiday presents? Last week we shared some fiction and nonfiction books published in 2022. See our recommended list here. This week we have some poetry, children’s books, cookbooks, and one more memoir, all by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors. We are profiling some of these authors in our New Asian American Voices program. See our Spotlight section below for the details.
”TIme Is a Mother” by Ocean Vuong — In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother's death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Review on NPR.
”Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization” by Craig Santos Perez — A diverse and intergenerational collection of indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) poetry and scholarship from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). Podcast interview on Green Dreamer.
For younger readers
”Shapes, Lines, and Light: My Grandfather's American Journey” by Katie Yamasaki — Japanese American architect Minoru Yamasaki described the feeling he sought to create in his buildings as “serenity, surprise, and delight.” Author discussion of her grandfather’s work, artist to artist.
”Maizy Chen's Last Chance” by Lisa Yee — Twelve-year-old Maizy discovers her family's Chinese restaurant is full of secrets in this irresistible novel that celebrates food, fortune, and family. Longlisted for The National Book Award. Interview with author in Women’s Media Center.
”We Are Here: 30 Inspiring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Have Shaped the United States” by Smithsonian Institution and Naomi Hirahara — A stunning anthology in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center celebrates 30 of the most inspiring AAPIs and the impact they've had on the cultural, social, and political fabric of the United States. Smithsonian APA educational resources.
”Tabemasho! Let's Eat!: A Tasty History of Japanese Food in America” by Gil Asakawa — Japanese food in America has evolved from an exotic and mysterious cuisine to the peak of culinary popularity, with sushi in supermarkets and ramen in hipster restaurants everywhere. Interview on Colorado Public Radio.
”Win Son Presents a Taiwanese American Cookbook” by Josh Ku, Trigg Brown, Cathy Erway — A modern, brashly flavorful guide to cooking Taiwanese-American food, from Brooklyn's lauded Win Son, Win Son Bakery, and Cathy Erway, celebrated writer and expert on the cuisine. Restaurant review at Eater.
”Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka” by Cynthia Shanmugalingam — More than 80 lush modern Sri Lankan recipes for fresh dinners, cold drinks, and sticky sweets that combine ingredients, methods, and tastes of Javanese, Malay, Indian, Arab, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. A Bon Appetit best of 2022.
One more memoir
”Stay True: A Memoir” by Hua Hsu From The New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art. Review in Vulture.
P.S. And I wrote a book of lyric essays and prose poems about my Asian American life too "You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is in Braids" by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang. Review at International Examiner.