Honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Updated: May 2022

In 1978, the first ten days of May were officially recognized as Asian American Heritage Week after President Jimmy Carter signed a resolution. This week expanded into a month-long recognition in 1990, then was officially renamed Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by President George H.W. Bush. The month of May was chosen as a tribute to the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in 1843.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system is honored to recognize this diverse community by sharing the following materials from our catalog.

Nonfiction:

  • Anuradha Bhagwati’s memoir Unbecoming details her transformation into a Marine Captain despite her strict Indian-American upbringing.  
  • Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know describes the author’s journey to learn about her Korean heritage and past after she was adopted at two months old. 
  • Wajahat Ali’s memoir Go Back to Where You Came From, is a humorous account of the xenophobia he experienced while growing up in America.
  • Afterparties, Anthony Veasna So’s short story collection, portrays the lives of Cambodian-Americans in California and was on multiple 2021 “Best Books” lists.
  • Maui native Alana Kyser shares Hawaii’s food history in Aloha Kitchen, a collection of diverse recipes.
  • Cathy Erway, author of the blog The Art of Eating In, explores Taiwanese cuisine in her The Food of Taiwan.
  • Top Chef alum Preeti Mistry dishes out Indian-Ugandan-American recipes and anecdotes in The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook
  • Kian Lam Kho’s Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees is a must for any home chef seeking authentic Chinese cooking techniques.
  • Top Chef alum Leah Cohen explores her Filipino roots with Southeast Asian recipes in Lemongrass and Lime.

Fiction:

Amy Tan rose to fame with 1991's portrayal of Chinese-American women in The Joy Luck Club.  Discover these other Asian-American authors today!

  • Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans is a family saga/murder mystery, following a California family after their immigrant father’s death.
  • Fans of Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane will enjoy her novel China Dolls, the story of three Chinese-American women in 1940s San Francisco. 
  • Lisa Ko's 2017 The Leavers, a finalist for the National Book Award, explores the relationship between a single Chinese immigrant and her abandoned U.S. born son.
  • Chia-Chia Lin’s debut The Unpassing features a Taiwanese-American family’s coping with death in the wake of the Challenger tragedy.
  • Jean Kwok’s Searching for Sylvie Lee, one of the most anticipated summer reads, unearths a Chinese immigrant family’s secrets after a sister goes missing. 

Click here to find all titles listed above.

We have more than just books celebrating Asian Americans! Chinese American Jon Chu directed the immensely popular Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan’s book series. Indian-American director M. Night Shyamalan is known for his suspenseful, twisting thrillers. Hawaiian-born Bruno Mars keeps you dancing all night long with his mixes of R&B, reggae, soul and pop music. Try one of these Asian-American artists!

  • Korean American indie rock band Run River North.
  • Korean American R&B singer/rapper Jay Park
  • Check out the multitalented rapper and songwriter Anderson.Paak (also half of the 2022 Record of the Year Grammy winners Silk Sonic).
  • Michelle Zauner pulls double duty as the lead vocalist for the band Japanese Breakfast and author of the critically acclaimed memoir Crying in H. Mart.
  • Catch Awkwafina’s Golden Globe winning performance in The Farewell, and other films that celebrate AAPI heritage on Kanopy, free once you log in with your Library card.
  • Kanopy also has an entire section devoted to Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Did you know the Library has materials in more than a dozen languages, including Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi and Vietnamese? Contact your local branch to see what languages are offered.   

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has all the resources you need to discover a new culture or embrace your heritage!

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This blog was written by Kristi Atkins, librarian at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.