Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander: What We’re Reading

From expanding our policy fight to becoming a more inclusive and belonging organization, Food Bankers always seem to have our noses in books, blogs, and articles that help us be more effective in our work. Below is a list of recommendations that some Food Bankers have found helpful (or just really liked). We hope you find them helpful, too.

Please consider supporting one of our amazing local bookstores!

Bandung Books
Oakland

Moe’s Books
Berkeley

Pegasus Books
Berkeley & Oakland


What we’re reading for AANHPI Heritage Month – May 2022

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister
Jung Chang

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, intrigue, bravery, glamour and betrayal, which takes us on a sweeping journey from Canton to Hawaii to New York …

They Called Us Enemy: Expanded Edition
By George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steve Scott and Harmony Becker (Illustrator)

Now with sixteen pages of bonus content from George Takei and his co-creators: a new afterword plus a behind-the-scenes tour of the process of researching, writing, drawing, and promoting They Called Us Enemy, featuring historical documents, scripts, sketches, photos, and more!

How Much of These Hills Is Gold
By George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steve Scott and Harmony Becker (Illustrator)

Born in Beijing, C Pam Zhang is mostly an artifact of the United States. She is the author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold, winner of the Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award and the Asian/Pacific Award for Literature.

Honor Before Glory: The Epic World War II Story of the Japanese American GIs Who Rescued the Lost Battalion
By Scott McGaugh

On October 24, 1944, more than two hundred American soldiers realized they were surrounded by German infantry deep in the mountain forest of eastern France. As their dwindling food, ammunition, and medical supplies ran out, the American commanding officer turned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to achieve what other units had failed to do.

Eat a Peach: A Memoir
David Chang

From the chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious—an intimate account of the making of a chef, the story of the modern restaurant world that he helped shape, and how he discovered that success can be much harder to understand than failure.

The Sympathizer
Viet Thanh

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties.

He Mele A Hilo: A Hilo Song
Ryka Aoki

Ryka Aoki is a writer, performer, and educator who has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of transgender people.”

The Accidental Asian
Eric Liu

In The Accidental Asian, Liu writes with a heavy dose of humor and irony as he explores themes of race and identity. 

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
Cathy Park Hong

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America.

Strangers from a Different Shore
Ronald Takaki

Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans is a work of nonfiction by Ronald Toshiyuki Takaki. First published in 1989 by Back Bay Books, the work discusses 150 years of Asian American history through recollections, interviews, and historical facts.

America is Not the Heart
Elaine Castillo

There is much more than the average “Asian expatriate in the US” story to be found in the debut novel by Elaine Castillo. America Is Not the Heart offers some genuine insights into love, life and what constitutes a home as well as an absorbing family saga set between the Philippines and the Bay area of San Francisco.

My Year of Meats
Ruth Ozeki

A cross-cultural tale of two women brought together by the intersections of television and industrial agriculture, fertility and motherhood, life and love — the breakout hit by the celebrated author of A Tale for the Time Being.

The Stationery Shop
Marjan Kamali

A poignant, heartfelt new novel by the award-nominated author of Together Tea—extolled by the Wall Street Journal as a “moving tale of lost love” and by Shelf Awareness as “a powerful, heartbreaking story”—explores loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.

Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama
Diane C. Fujino

On February 12, 1965, in the Audubon Ballroom, Yuri Kochiyama cradled Malcolm X in her arms as he died, but her role as a public servant and activist began much earlier than this pivotal public moment. Heartbeat of Struggle is the first biography of this courageous woman, the most prominent Asian American activist to emerge during the 1960s.

Pachinko
Lee Min-jin

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant — and that her lover is married — she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan.

Afterparties
Anthony Veasna So

Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.

Dear America
Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
Anthony Veasna So

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called “the most famous undocumented immigrant in America,” tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life
Ali Wong

Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero), 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.