By Claire W.

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a chance to pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

During this month, check out these graphic novels by AAPI authors and about AAPI experiences.

Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran 

A memoir in graphic novel format about the author’s experiences as the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon describes how he learned his tragic ancestral history and the impact of the Vietnam War on his family while visiting their homeland years later

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui 

The author describes her experiences as a young Vietnamese immigrant, highlighting her family’s move from their war-torn home to the United States in graphic novel format.

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib 

The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada 

The autobiography of a South Korean woman’s student days under an authoritarian regime, and how she defied state censorship.

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life.

Displacement by Kiku Hughes

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself stuck back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tíên still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tíên, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang 

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott

A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon — and America itself — in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.

Claire W.
Location Manager

Claire W.

Claire is a lover of stories and creative, artistic expression who believes that the public library is an ever-evolving and adaptable community touchstone. She frequently contemplates the existence of unicorns and other magical creatures and spends much of her time with her three very real dogs and husband.

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