Alhambra Civic Center Library

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Reading Recommendations


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Must-Read Books for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May) by reading a few stories by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and cultures


Dear Girls

by Ali Wong

Collects the standup comedian’s humorous and heartfelt letters to her daughters, covering everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession and how she trapped their dad.


White Chrysanthemum

by Mary Lynn Bracht

Having spent her entire youth under Japanese occupation, a young woman in World War II-era Korea follows in her mother's footsteps as an elite female diver, only to be forced into prostitution in order to save her beloved younger sister.

How Much of These Hills is Gold

by C Pam Zhang

Two orphaned Chinese immigrant siblings flee the threats of their gold rush mining town across an unforgiving landscape where their survival is tested by family secrets, sibling rivalry and disparate goals.

The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club.


L.A. son: my life, my city, my food

by Roy Choi

Filled with over 85 inspired recipes, L.A. Son embodies the sense of invention, resourcefulness, and hybrid attitude of the city from which it takes its name, as it tells the transporting, unlikely story of how a Korean American kid went from lowriding in the streets of L.A. to becoming an acclaimed chef.

Another ­world lies be­yond: cre­at­ing Li­u Fang Yuan, the Hunt­ing­ton's Chi­ne­se ­gar­den

From the Lake of Reflected Fragrance to the Pavilion for Washing Away Thoughts to the Isle of Alighting Geese, this gorgeously illustrated volume explores the Huntington's Chinese Garden--Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance--one of the largest such gardens outside China.

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States

by Erika Lee

In America for Americans, acclaimed historian Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era.


Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng
Traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

The Mountains Sing: a Novel

by Phan Qûé Mai Nguŷẽn

The multigenerational tale of the Tr̀ân family, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

Audiobook on CD

All You Can Ever Know: a Memoir

by Nicole Chung

A Korean adoptee who grew up with a white family in Oregon discusses her journey to find her identity as an Asian American woman and a writer after becoming curious about her true origins.

Children’s Collection

I am Malala: How One ­Girl S­tood Up ­for E­d­u­ca­tion and Changed the ­World

by Malala Yousafza­i

Describes the life of the young Pakistani student who advocated for women's rights and education in the Taliban-controlled Swat Valley, survived an assassination attempt, and became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Paper ­Son: the In­spir­ing S­to­ry of Tyrus Wong, Im­mi­grant and Artist

by Julie Le­ung

Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo. He traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Eventually, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime--and using sparse brushstrokes and soft watercolors, Tyrus created the iconic backgrounds of Bambi.

Prairie Lo­tus

by Linda Sue Park

Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father's shop, and making at least one friend.

The Mag­no­li­a S­word: a Bal­lad of Mu­lan

by Sher­ry Thomas

When her ailing father is conscripted to fight invaders from the north, Mulan dresses as a man to take his place in the army, but an old enemy and an attraction for her troop's commander complicate her mission.

Oji­ichan's Gift

by Chieri Ue­gak­i

Helping tend the rock garden her grandfather created for her at his home in Japan when she was born, young Mayumi endeavors to figure out how to keep the memory of their garden alive when her grandfather becomes old and has to move away.

 Teen & Young Adult Collection

This ­Time Will Be D­if­fer­ent

by Misa Sugiu­ra

Preferring a simple future to her mother's ambitions for her, a 17-year-old Japanese-American teen discovers her talent for flower arranging before her mother tries to sell the flower shop to the swindlers responsible for their hardships.

Frankly in Love

by David Yoon

Torn between his love for his white girlfriend and his sense of duty to the matchmaking parents who made hard sacrifices to move to the United States, a Korean American teen looks for solutions along with a friend who has a similar problem.

Amer­i­can ­Pan­da

by Gloria Chao

MIT freshman Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations, but she soon finds that she cannot keep secrets hidden from her parents if she wants to truly be herself.

Dar­ius The Great Is Not Okay

by Adib Khor­ram

Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.

Amer­i­can Born Chi­nese

by Gene Luen Yang

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.