Asian American voices
Updated March 2006
*also available as an audiobook
Desai Hidier, Tanuja
Born Confused (2002)
17 year old Dimple Lala’s parents are trying to set her up with a “suitable boy,” straight from India.
Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
*Mistress of Spices (1997)
The old lady who runs the Indian spice shop in Oakland is not what she seems.
*Snow Falling on Cedars (1994)
In the 1950s, a Japanese American fisherman is accused of murder on a small island in Puget Sound.
Who's Irish? (1999)
Jen offers unique views of growing up Chinese American in these short stories.
Kira-kira means glittering- that’s how Katie Takeshima’s big sister Lynn sees the world. Now Lynn is sick, and the glitter is gone.
Keller, Nora Okja
Comfort Woman (1997)
Biracial Korean American Beccah’s mother was a “comfort woman”, forced into prostitution in Japan during WWII. Now living in Hawaii, they’re both dealing with the aftermath of that legacy.
*The Namesake (2003)
The tie to India is strong for American-born Gogol, named for the Russian author.
Le, Thi Diem Thuy
The Gangster We Are All Looking For (2003)
A Vietnamese family makes the transition from boat people to San Diego apartment dwellers.
Honor and Duty (1994)
There are disadvantages in being a Chinese American West Point cadet in the 1960s- namely, the Vietnam War.
Necessary Roughness (1996)
Korean American twins move from urban California to rural Minnesota, where everything from sports to popularity seems to run according to different rules.
The Bride's Kimono (2001)
Antiques dealer Rei Shimura has a great job exhibiting rare kimonos- until one of the kimonos is stolen and a client found murdered.
Beacon Hill Boys (2002)
It’s 1972 and Dan Inagaki doesn’t want to be labeled “model minority” any more.
*A Step from Heaven (2001)
On the plane to California, Korean Young Ju had imagined America as heaven. Not quite.
An Ocean Apart, a World Away (2002)
Yanyan leaves her family in Nanking to study medicine at Cornell in the 1920s.
When the Emperor Was Divine (2002)
This lyrical view of the Japanese Internment camps begins in Berkeley.
Platt, Randall Beth
The Likes of Me (2000)
Cornelia Lu Hankins is half Caucasian, half Chinese and all albino- most unusual for 1918. Having run away from a lumber camp, she finds work in a carnival sideshow.
*Shark Bait (1997)
Mokes’ Chinese American dad is the police chief in their rural Hawaiian town- his mom is “white as ice cream”. The author reads the audiobook, with authentic dialect.
Scott, Joanna C.
The Lucky Gourd Shop (2001)
Three adopted Korean children are curious about their birth mother- but it’s their American mother who takes the eldest son’s memories and brings Mi Sook’s tale to life.
Shea, Pegi Deitz
Tangled Threads: a Hmong Girl's Story (2003)
After 10 years in a Thai refugee camp, now Mai Yang is in Providence, Rhode Island. Talk about culture shock!
Double Happiness (1999)
Twenty-something Tom grew up in a white suburb of Boston, then moves to San Francisco Chinatown. Shiga’s distinctive cartooning style and use of dialect let you see another side of Grant St.
Sledge, Linda Ching
A Map of Paradise (1997)
Travel back and forth from Hawaii to California in the 1800s, as Hawaiian-born (ethnically Chinese) Mulan (Molly) struggles with a dangerous romance with a poet.
Grass Roof, Tin Roof (2003)
A Vietnamese writer brings her two children to California to escape persecution, where they encounter both love and racism.
Name Me Nobody (2000)
Middle school in Hawaii is no picnic for Emi-Lou - and now her best friend Von has come out as a lesbian.
Girls for Breakfast (2005)
Do girls avoid Nick Park because he’s the only Korean American at school?
Storm Rider (2004)
As an orphan of 13, Hiko travels to San Francisco and ends up in Baltimore, adopted by a wealthy American business. Based on the true story of Joseph Heco.