13 Books By AAPI Authors to Read Right Now

13 Books By AAPI Authors to Read Right Now from MomAdvice.com

Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month with these 11 AAPI authors.

May is AAPI Heritage Month, and we want to celebrate these voices with a well-curated book stack. In case you didn’t know, the month of May was chosen for AAPI Heritage Month because it commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States on May 7, 1843. .

In honor of this month, Kristin from Fables Books joins the show to talk about the bookstore’s StoryGraph reading challenge and share some of their best picks for a memorable reading month.

Listen to the show (the show notes are here) or scroll below for some of our favorite recommendations!

13 Books By AAPI Authors to Read Right Now

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

In this award-winning coming-of-age memoir, Zauner returns home to care for her mother as she battles an arduous journey with cancer.

As with all mother and daughter relationships, this relationship has a lot of complexity, and Zauner struggles with not meeting her mother’s expectations. 

To bring comfort to her mother, she longs to recreate all of the Korean dishes she grew up with to comfort her mother (and herself) through this time.

Zauner brings much humor to the beginning of this book, as she shares her childhood memories of her mother’s younger days.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

I’ve read all of Choi’s books and this book remains my favorite.

If you are looking for a YA read that is just as sweet and adorable as Eleanor & Park you are going to be madly in love with this unlikely love story.

Penny and Sam both have complex relationships with their mothers  and have had their own share of struggles in love.

It is when Sam is having a panic attack over the news that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant that Penny enters his life and goes from becoming an acquaintance to his, “emergency contact.”

The two begin texting and it is through these texts that their relationship grows and blossoms.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan 

I was craving a fantasy escape and Scribd editors recommended this audiobook. This is the first book in a new fantasy series called the Celestial Kingdom.

Their blur said, “This dazzling debut whisks readers away to a beautiful world full of mythological creatures and magic as a girl attempts to free her imprisoned mother, the moon goddess, and is forced to choose between family and the fate of the world. A new imagining of Chinese folklore, Tan’s epic adventure, and a coming-of-age tale will leave fantasy lovers eager for more.” 

This novel is not a young adult read but could be shared with a young adult in your life. This year, I could see this being added as an Alex Award nominee because it would appeal to a younger audience. The allegiance to your family also makes this a great pick for a family book club or a fun road trip audiobook. 

If The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was one of your book club favorites, I think you will fall in love with this magical story too. The themes of family, loyalty, and love really resonated with me.  

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua 

Craving an adventure story? If you are a fan of Lisa See’s writing, you will fall in love with this gorgeous debut. SPOILER ALERT: this one has “big backlist book club” potential for our 2023 year!

Scarlett works in a factory where she meets and falls in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. When Boss discovers she is pregnant with his first son, he sends her away to America, where she can be cared for by the top doctors and kept on the proper diet and regime to ensure he will have the healthy son he has always wanted.

Unfortunately, this place that Boss has sent her to is nothing like it had been described in the brochures. The conditions are horrible, the caretaker is evil, and Scarlett would do anything to escape.

Follow along as Scarlett escapes this life in a story you will be unable to put down.

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

This book is for you if the world feels positively dystopian around women’s rights.

Being a good mother is challenging, but this dystopian nightmare acts as a social commentary on the unrelenting demands of motherhood.

In this story, Frida Liu struggles to keep afloat at her job and balance the challenges of parenting a toddler as a single mother. As Frida tries to keep up with these daily demands, she decides to run out to grab a file while her daughter is at home napping. This grave error doesn’t go unnoticed because the state has eyes on mothers who aren’t doing a good job. 

The consequences of this action require her to go to school to learn how to be a good mother, and it is BRUTAL. Chan uncovers all of our tender spots as mothers and lays them bear on how they don’t measure up. 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

A beautiful book from start to finish, this is a sweeping, intergenerational Korean family story set in Japan and the cultural struggles that they face over the years.

The book begins in the early 1900’s with the unplanned pregnancy of a Korean girl, named Sunja. Sunja faces a lot of humiliation when she discovers she isn’t the only one who has captured her lover’s eye. When her path crosses with a tubercular minister, he offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life as thanks for helping him through his difficult illness.

The story then unfolds as generation after generation deal with their own cultural challenges, the discrimination they must face, and the poverty that threatens to take everything away from them.

At almost 500 pages, this one is a bit of a commitment, but I finished it in just a few short days because I had to know what would happen to these characters. 

Read this and then watch the Apple+ series to further immerse yourself!

A Good Family by A.H. Kim

A Good Family by A.H. Kim

Need a soapy beach bag read for the summer? This domestic drama should fit the bill perfectly.

ADHD medication sure would be a lot easier to give if it was created into gummies, wouldn’t it?  

What if the messaging of the drug could allow for a wider range of customers with a better (and more deceptive) marketing message too?

One successful pharmaceutical agent moves up the corporate ladder with these “savvy” marketing ideas and ends up behind bars, thanks to a whistleblower.

Who would want to see her behind bars so badly and what was to gain?

This mystery, told in alternating perspectives, made this into one fantastic novel that was just as good as any Netflix drama.

Fans of, Inventing Anna will also appreciate all the details of this prison scene and how she makes the most of every minute behind bars.

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

When their mother dies, Lucia starts hearing voices and it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia plows ahead and marries an incredible man, only to leave him and have a baby with a young Latino immigrant.

Once she has her child though, she finds that the voices are beginning again, impacting her ability to care for her child. She moves her new family to Ecuador and back again, but no matter where she is, her mental illness follows her.

If you are on the hunt for a great book to discuss with your own book club, this is such a good one.

It really explores what our roles are when someone we love has a mental illness and the blurred lines of caring for them while still allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions about their health.

Need more ideas? Here is what is on my AAPI reading wish list this year!

Four Treasures of the Sky

The Fortunes of Jaded Women

Nuclear Family

Siren Queen

Fables Books Recommends:

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Park Chan

The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu

Monstress

Monstress by Marjorie Liu 

Sari Not Sari by Sonya Singh

Sari Not Sari by Sonya Singh

Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu

Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu

What book would you recommend for AAPI Heritage Month?

13 Books By AAPI Authors to Read Right Now from MomAdvice.com

Published May 06, 2022 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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