May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and there are lots of great ebooks and audiobooks you will want to make sure to get into the hands and ears of your patrons. And finding great content for AANHPI Month and other celebrations and diverse content is easier than ever in our revamped Resource Center. We’ve updated the layout to help aid discovery, so for instance, you can find several excellent and up to date lists for May under both our Seasonal/Holiday, as well as Diverse Reading.

Now for some of the titles I’m most excited about!

Books you should know about

The Audacity by Ryan Chapman

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From your OverDrive DCL: Guy Sarvananthan has a comfortable life—married to a billionaire genius, all he has to do all day is raise money for charity and occasionally feel wistful about the career he didn’t have as a classical music composer. That is until it’s discovered that his wife’s Theranos-like business is a complete sham and in 72 hours, the fraud will be exposed. Guy decides to spend this final hurrah on a tropical island where other billionaires are meeting to decide how they can save the world. This is an incredibly clever satire of the megarich, and you should absolutely expect to laugh out loud.

Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide by Tahir Hamut Izgil, translated by Joshua L. Freeman

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From your OverDrive DCL: Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for best debut, Izgil’s memoir will stick with you long after you finish. The author is a poet and scholar, and for a time, he managed to live a reasonably happy life in a Uyghur region of China. But when he tried to study abroad, he was arrested and sent to a reeducation camp for several years. From that point on, even after he married, became a successful filmmaker, poet, and teacher, the government was always lurking. As his friends and colleagues began to vanish into the camps, he and his family realized that their only choice was to stay in China, waiting to be arrested, or to attempt to flee and start a new life in America.

The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang

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From your OverDrive DCL: How many lifetimes does it take to get love right? For the lovers in The Emperor and the Endless Palace, the answer is a lot. As in they have been reincarnated and meeting each other again and again for millennia, and they still haven’t quite managed to make it stick. Spanning the years from 4 BCE to the present day, Huang’s debut novel is a beautiful, complex, and very steamy story of two men who seem destined to be together, if they can just figure out how to make it last.

Find Him Where You Left Him Dead by Kristen Simmons

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From your OverDrive DCL: Four teenagers who were present the night their friend Ian died all begin seeing things, including Ian, until they find themselves together and heading back to the cave where Ian vanished. When they arrive, they’re sucked into a parallel world where they have to play a game based on a Japanese matching card game. If they try to cheat, they’ll be punished. And if they don’t win by dawn, the consequences will be dire. But there is more to this game than killer beasts and a tailor who wants their skin for clothes. What’s behind this world? Is Ian still there? Can they save the friend they thought they lost four years before?

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

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From the publisher: Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster, and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn’t be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can’t shake the sense she’s hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than it provides answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made? And if we are made, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?

The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake

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From the publisher: The Atlas Complex marks the much-anticipated, heart-shattering conclusion in Olivie Blake’s trilogy that began with the New York Times bestselling phenomenon, The Atlas Six.

Only the extraordinary are chosen.

Only the cunning survive.

An explosive return to the library leaves the six Alexandrians vulnerable to the lethal terms of their recruitment.

Old alliances quickly fracture as the initiates take opposing strategies as to how to deal with the deadly bargain they have so far failed to uphold. Those who remain with the archives wrestle with the ethics of their astronomical abilities, while elsewhere, an unlikely pair from the Society cohort partner to influence politics on a global stage.

And still the outside world mobilizes to destroy them, while the Caretaker himself, Atlas Blakely, may yet succeed with a plan foreseen to have world-ending stakes. It’s a race to survive as the six Society recruits are faced with the question of what they’re willing to betray for limitless power—and who will be destroyed along the way.

Twilight Territory by Andrew X. Pham

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From the publisher: The peak of the hot season, 1942: The wars in Europe and Asia and the Japanese occupation have upset the uneasy balance of French Indochina. In the Vietnamese fishing village of Phan Thiet, Tuyet ekes out a living at a small storefront with her aunt Coi, her cousin Ha, and her two-year-old daughter, Anh. She can hardly remember her luxurious life in the city of Saigon, which she left just two years ago.

The day Tuyet meets Japanese major Yamazaki Takeshi is inauspicious and stifling, with no relief from the sand-stirring wind. But to her surprise, she feels not fear or wariness, but a strange kinship. Tuyet is guarded, knowing how the townspeople might whisper, yet is drawn to Takeshi’s warmth all the same. A wounded veteran with a good heart, Takeshi grows to resent the Empire for what it has taken—and the promises it has failed to keep. As the Viet Minh begin to battle the French and Takeshi risks his life for the Resistance, Tuyet and her family are drawn into the conflict, with devastating consequences.

A lushly panoramic novel, by turns gritty and profoundly moving, Twilight Territory is at once a war story and a love story that offers a fascinating perspective on Vietnam’s struggles to break free of its French colonial past. At its heart is one woman’s struggle for independence and her country’s liberation.

Sleepless in Dubai by Sajni Patel

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From the publisher: From Sajni Patel, the author of My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding, comes this hilarious, smart, and swoon-worthy rom-com about two teens traveling to Dubai for Diwali.

In this hate-to-love teen rom-com, Nikki, an aspiring photographer, accompanies her family on a trip to Dubai to celebrate the five days of Diwali in style. It would be the trip of a lifetime, if Yash, the boy next door—with whom Nikki has a rocky history—wasn’t also on the flight.

Oblivious to the tension, Nikki’s matchmaking family encourages Nikki to get better acquainted with Yash. It turns out a lot can change on a 12-hour flight beyond just continents. But can betrayals and conflicting ambitions be set aside long enough for the two teens to discover the true meaning of the Festival of Lights?

No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies by Julian Aguon

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From the publisher: Part memoir, part manifesto, Chamorro climate activist Julian Aguon’s No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies is a collection of essays on resistance, resilience, and collective power in the age of climate disaster; and a call for justice—for everyone, but in particular, for Indigenous peoples.

In bracing poetry and compelling prose, Aguon weaves together stories from his childhood in the villages of Guam with searing political commentary about matters ranging from nuclear weapons to global warming. Undertaking the work of bearing witness, wrestling with the most pressing questions of the modern day, and reckoning with the challenge of truth-telling in an era of rampant obfuscation, he culls from his own life experiences—from losing his father to pancreatic cancer to working for Mother Teresa to an edifying chance encounter with Sherman Alexie—to illuminate a collective path out of the darkness.

A powerful, bold, new voice writing at the intersection of Indigenous rights and environmental justice, Julian Aguon is entrenched in the struggles of the people of the Pacific to liberate themselves from colonial rule, defend their sacred sites, and obtain justice for generations of harm. In No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies, Aguon shares his wisdom and reflections on love, grief, joy, and triumph and extends an offer to join him in a hard-earned hope for a better world.

Lei and the Fire Goddess by Malia Maunakea

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From the publisherCurses aren’t real. At least, that’s what twelve-year-old, part-Hawaiian Anna Leilani Kamaʻehu thinks when she listens to her grandmother’s folktales about sacred flowers and family guardians. Anna’s friends back home in Colorado don’t believe in legends, either. They’re more interested in science and sports—real, tangible things that stand in total contrast to Anna’s family’s embarrassing stories.

So when Anna goes back to Hawaiʻi to visit her Tūtū, she has no interest in becoming the heir to her family’s history; she’s set on having a touristy, fun vacation. But when Anna accidentally insults Pele the fire goddess by destroying her lehua blossom, a giant hawk swoops in and kidnaps her best friend, and she quickly learns just how real these moʻolelo are. In order to save her friends and family, Anna must now battle mythical creatures, team up with demigods and talking bats, and evade the traps Pele hurls her way.

For if Anna hopes to undo the curse, she will have to dig deep into her Hawaiian roots and learn to embrace all of who she is.

More lists for Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Must-Watch Films

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

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When an interdimensional rupture threatens to unravel reality, the fate of the world is suddenly in the hands of a most unlikely hero: Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), a flustered immigrant mother. As bizarre and bewildering dangers emerge from the many possible worlds, she must learn to channel her newfound powers and fight her way through the splintering timelines to save her home, her family, and herself in this big-hearted and irreverent adventure through the multiverse.

Hollywood Chinese (2007)

Watch on Kanopy here

A captivating revelation on a little-known chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film produced in 1917, to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain nine decades later, Hollywood Chinese brings together a fascinating portrait of actors, directors, writers, and iconic images to show how the Chinese have been imagined in movies, and how filmmakers have and continue to navigate an industry that was often ignorant about race, but at times paradoxically receptive.

Home from the Eastern Sea (1990)

Watch on Kanopy here

This is the story of the immigration of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos to America. The documentary explores the history of each nationality through the personal stories of representative families.

The film begins with the story of the Yee family of Seattle, which represents four generations of Asian Americans in the United States. Their roots go back to the building of the transcontinental railway, and there are fascinating archival photographs of these events. The Hondas of Spokane are a lively testament to the resilience of Japanese Americans. Having suffered discrimination during the war, they display a strength of character engendered by their wartime experiences. Lorena Silva lives in a close-knit Filipino American community, where extended family ties give support.

Intercut with family stories and rare archival footage are the observations of scholars, community activists, and writers.

Home from the Eastern Sea was awarded the American Scene Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Seattle Chapter. It was also nominated for Outstanding Documentary Historical/Biography by the same organization.

A little Extra something

Ground News empowers readers to compare headlines across the political spectrum and spot media bias using data-driven ratings.

This is a perfect source for keeping up on news about AANHPI Month and the rest of the world!

Test run Libby Extras to see how each service can entertain and educate your patrons.

Thank you for joining us on this round up of AANHPI Month materials! Reach out to your Digital Content Librarian or Account Manager for more information on how to provide the best content for your community.


About the author: Shelia Mawdsley did everything from answering questions at the Reference Desk to tech training to running a classic lit book club in her 17 years in public libraries. Now she helps other public libraries make the most of their OverDrive collections. In her spare time, she’s either writing or reading, usually with an opera playing in the background. If you ever run into her, ask Shelia about #WITMonth.