May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month—but with so many amazing books by authors and illustrators with Asian and Pacific heritage, you’ll need more than just one month to read them. Here are some of our favorites of 2020, perfect to enjoy this month, next month and all year round.
Little Gods by Meng Jin
Crossing continents and spanning decades, Meng Jin’s intimate, emotionally complex debut novel is an awesome achievement.
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez
Simon Jimenez brings emotional intelligence and a contemporary fear of lost time to his spellbinding debut novel.
The Resisters by Gish Jen
This chilling critique of capitalism is a warning about how governments can exploit inequality for nefarious means.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro has a wicked bite that even the darkest of grimdark fantasy often lacks.
New Waves by Kevin Nguyen
Readers deeply immersed in our increasingly tech-savvy environment will delight in Kevin Nguyen’s piercing take on race and gender issues in the workplace.
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Alka Joshi’s prose is rhythmic and alluring, and her characters are multidimensional and alive.
Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang
A young Chinese American woman offers thoughtful reflections on gender, relationships and racial and ethnic identity in 21st-century America.
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
C Pam Zhang’s laser-sharp reexamination of America’s myth-laden past is likely to bring clarity to many issues that continue to challenge us.
Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
After becoming the subject of a viral Twitter thread, an ex-model finds love in the arms of her devoted bodyguard.
Sensei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita
A potent mashup of Jane Austen and Japanese American culture, Sansei and Sensibility is both entertaining and profound.
The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh
An engaging, literary take on language and its role in the diaspora of a scattered family, The Magical Language of Others speaks from—and to—the heart.
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
In Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong offers a fierce excavation of her hardships as an Asian American woman living and working as a poet and artist.
Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran
Phuc Tran has written the great punk rock immigrant story and the best, the funniest and the most heartfelt memoir of the year.
What We Carry by Maya Shanbhag Lang
Maya Shanbhag Lang is an affable narrator who offers a blend of revelatory personal history and touching insight about her mother’s Alzheimer's disease.
Fairest by Meredith Talusan
For anyone who has wondered how their identity is impacted by the ways others see them, Fairest is an extraordinary story of one woman’s self-reckoning.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Heartwarming, honest and at times hilarious, Loveboat, Taipei is a story of learning and growth over the course of one incredible summer.
Anna K by Jenny Lee
Readers will need no previous knowledge of Tolstoy to appreciate the social stakes, heartbreak, humor and moral complexity of Jenny Lee’s addicting Anna K.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
In The Kingdom of Back, bestselling author Marie Lu resurrects Nannerl Mozart and restores her to her rightful place in history.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
The story of one high school basketball team’s extraordinary season, Dragon Hoops epitomizes the best kind of storytelling possible in the comics format.
This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio
This Is My Brain in Love is both a romance and a tension-packed drama about overcoming the social stigmas and shame that can be associated with mental illness.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Maggie Tokuda Hall’s first YA novel reads like an undiscovered classic with impressively modern flair.
The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion
The Paper Kingdom is an affectionate picture book tribute to the bonds of family and the memories we form when we perform seemingly mundane tasks together.
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
The latest middle grade novel from Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park, Prairie Lotus offers a new perspective on the era of westward expansion and its impact on the lives of those whose stories are often overlooked.
Love, Sophia on the Moon by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Mika Song
A flurry of communiques between mother and daughter after the latter is sent to time-out form the basis of this tender, funny epistolary picture book.
On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Kenard Pak
On the Horizon’s remarkable poems are a powerful reminder of our shared humanity in times of conflict and a gift from one of our most distinguished writers and talented illustrators.
We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly
We Dream of Space, a middle grade novel from Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly, chronicles the lives of three siblings in the lead-up to the Challenger space shuttle explosion and pulses with contemporary relevance.