Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: A Reading List
This month is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month—a celebration of the varied and integral contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the United States’ past and present. To commemorate this month-long celebration, we’ve compiled a reading list featuring some of our favorite web content from Asian-American and Pacific-Islander writers.
Here you’ll find Mia Alvar‘s moving story of a member of the Filipino diaspora—a devoted brother who accepts, to his detriment, a job in Saudi Arabia. In Sally Wen Mao‘s “Xianning,” a woman returns to her grandmother’s home, remembering a time when she wished her family could all share a house.
In Marie Matsuki Mockett‘s When the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye, the author travels to Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mourning her father’s death and the damage to Japan, Mockett meets a young woman who lost her father in the tsunami.
Graphic memoir excerpts from artists MariNaomi and Thi Bui illustrate two narrators grappling with their families’ heritage—MariNaomi takes a job at a bar for Japanese expats to immerse herself in her mother’s culture, while Bui struggles to reconcile her father’s stories of the Vietnam War with stories she’s heard in the United States.
Finally, featured here are poems from two PEN Award-winning collections: Chord by Rick Barot, and The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa, translated by Sawako Nakayasu.
For further reading, visit Kundiman, an organization devoted to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Asian-American literature; Hyphen Magazine, which “illuminates Asian America through hard-hitting investigative features”; and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, dedicated to creating, publishing, and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans.
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
Beauty is the ultimate democracy, because a beautiful thing, particularly if it exists in nature, belongs to everyone. More