Talking Books Talk

Talking Books Talk provides news and updates about the Kansas Talking Books Service (KTBS). Talking Books staff will highlight relevant announcements from KTBS and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Questions: or 800-362-0699

View All Posts

May 21

YA Reads: Celebrating Books by AAPI Authors

Posted on May 21, 2021 at 9:01 AM by Maggie Witte

Every other month, we’ll feature a great list of books written for young adults. YA books are often relatable and deal with the same social, cultural, and economic issues many young adults face today. We’re so excited to be starting this series on our blog.

For this first month, we’re focusing on books written by AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) authors. AAPIs have had a significant impact on American history and society which continues today. We take this time to honor their contributions.

Check out our featured review and the other books on this list. They’re great books just waiting to be read.

Reviewed Book
DB 29021 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Annotation: In 1949 four Chinese women living in San Francisco founded the Joy Luck Club where they met to play mah jong, tell stories, and "feast" on scraps. Forty years later one of the women dies, her daughter takes her place at the club, and a secret is revealed that unleashes in each person the need to reach back and remember. Bestseller. 1989.

Told from the perspectives of each of the mothers and daughters, the stories that make up the narrative of the club portray the complicated relationships between family members, friends, and cultures, as well as links between the past and the present. The challenges that the mothers faced before coming from China to America differed in many ways from those faced by their American-born daughters, but they are shown to have unexpected parallels. This book explores themes such as sacrifice, hope, combating intolerance and trauma, knowing one’s own worth, and legacies passed down through the generations. I read this book a long time ago, and was impressed by the strength of the female characters, expressed through their deeply personal stories. I liked how the author gave readers a peek into a different time and place with the backstories of the mothers, and the resolution of conflict between the mothers and daughters.

By Amanda Diggs, Production Manager and Readers’ Advisor

More Books
DB 37265 Finding my voice by Marie G. Lee
Annotation: Ellen Sung is sixteen, a senior, and the only Asian-American student in her school. She is also the sister of brilliant Michelle, who is at Harvard. The pressures on Ellen are great as she strives to be a dutiful daughter to her strict parents and an ordinary, fun-loving teenager. Her troubles are compounded by racial taunts and the serious bigotry of Marsha, her rival on the gymnastics team. Some strong language. For junior and senior high and older readers.

DB 62295 Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
Annotation: Eight-year-old Moon Shadow sails from China in 1903 to join his father in San Francisco, in the Land of the Golden Mountain. The two endure poverty and ridicule while making the father's dream of a flying machine come true. For grades 6-9. Newbery Honor Book. 1975.

DB 99698
Parachutes by Kelly Yang
Annotation: When Claire, a wealthy Chinese teen, is sent to America to finish high school, she becomes an unlikely housemate to Dani, an impoverished teen determined to find her way into Yale. Violence, descriptions of sex, and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.

DB 96074 Spin the dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Annotation: Disguising herself as her brother Keton to compete for the position of imperial tailor, Maia must somehow complete the impossible task of sewing three magic gowns for the emperor's bride-to-be from the sun's laughter, the moon's tears, and the blood of stars. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

DB 99949 The silence of bones by June Hur
Annotation: In Joseon Dynasty-era Korea, sixteen-year-old Seol, an indentured servant within the police bureau becomes entangled in a politically-charged investigation into the murder of a noblewoman. Some violence. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2020.

DB 96670 My so-called Bollywood life by Nisha Sharma
Annotation: Betrayed by Raj, whom she thought she was fated to marry, teenaged Winnie teams with fellow film fan Dev to get her life back on track and find her true soul mate. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

DB 90693 Saints and misfits by S.K. Ali
Annotation: Janna Yusuf, book nerd and daughter of the only divorced mother at her mosque, tries to make sense of the events that follow when a holy star in the Muslim community attempts to assault her. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2017.

DB 85851 Outrun the moon by Stacey Lee
Annotation: San Francisco, California; 1906. Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong--daughter of Chinese immigrants--struggles to hold her own among the spoiled heiresses at prestigious St. Clare's School for Girls. When tragedy strikes, everyone must put aside their differences and band together to survive. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2016.

DB 95248 The candle and the flame by Nafiza Azad
Annotation: When one of the most important Djinn of order and reason dies in the city of Noor, Fatima finds herself drawn into the intrigues of the court, the affairs of the Djinn, and the very real dangers of a magical battlefield. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2019.