AAPI Heritage Month Reading and Watching Recommendations

Join us in celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (also referred to as Asian Pacific Heritage Month), which takes place during the month of May. Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have enriched the culture of the United States and are valuable members of our families and communities. This month is dedicated to celebrating that heritage.

The following list of recently released books and movies can help you celebrate and experience the works of AAPI authors and creators. Because the term "Asian" encompasses 75 countries, this list is by no means comprehensive, but is rather meant to serve as a starting point for learning and understanding.



You're Invited by Amanda Jayatissa: What could be worse than your ex-boyfriend marrying your childhood best friend? Getting accused of her murder… From the award-winning author Jayatissa comes a dangerously addictive new thriller about a lavish Sri Lankan wedding celebration that not everyone will survive.

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang: Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American. With its immersive first-person voice, this novel grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation.

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li: A lush, lyrical heist novel inspired by the true story of Chinese art vanishing from Western museums, about diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of the Chinese American identity

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel: A powerful, feminist retelling of the epic Ramayana, this lyrical novel reimagines the life of the infamous queen, giving voice to an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff: A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful—until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands—in this humorous and razor-sharp debut.

Honor by Thrity Umrigar: In this tender and evocative novel about love, hope, familial devotion, betrayal, and sacrifice, two Indian women, one a victim of a brutal crime and the other an Americanized journalist returning to India to cover the story, navigate how to be true to themselves and to their homeland at the same time.



My Life: Growing Up Asian in America edited by CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) / Introduction by SuChin Pak: A collection of thirty heartfelt, witty, and hopeful thought pieces on the experience of growing up Asian American.

Asian American Histories of the United States by Catherine Ceniza Choy: An urgent social history featuring the lived experiences and diverse voices of immigrants, refugees, US-born Asian Americans, multiracial Americans, and workers from industries spanning agriculture to healthcare.

Have You Eaten Yet? Stories from Chinese Restaurants Around the World by Cheuk Kwan: An eye-opening and soul-nourishing journey through Chinese food around the world that charts a living atlas of global migration, ultimately revealing how an excellent meal always tells an even better story.

Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White America by Julia Lee: Lee lays bare the complex disorientation and shame that stem from this country’s imposed racial hierarchy and ultimately asks what may be the biggest question of all―what can we do?

Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans by Jenny Wang: Dr. Wang explores a range of life areas that call for attention, offering readers the permission to question, feel, rage, say no, take up space, choose, play, fail, and grieve.

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, and Philip Wang: A vivid scrapbook of voices and memories from an era in which our culture was forged and transformed, and a way to preserve both the headlines and the intimate conversations that have shaped our community into who we are today.



Crazy Rich Asians: This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family who happen to be one of the wealthiest families in the country.

Everything Everywhere All at Once: A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led. 

Minari: Set in the 1980s, this is a tender and sweeping story about what roots people that follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream.

Moana: A mythic adventure set around 2,000 years ago across a series of islands in the South Pacific, this film follows the journey of a spirited teenager named Moana as she meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui.

Parasite: Kim Ki-taek's family are all unemployed and living in a squalid basement. When his son gets a tutoring job at the lavish home of the Park family, the Kim family's luck changes and they gradually infiltrate the wealthy Park's home, attempting to take over their affluent lifestyle.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Martial-arts master Shang-Chi confronts the past he thought he left behind when he's drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization from the creators of the Marvel Universe.


Young Adult

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee: A richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto: When Meddy Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. This laugh-out-loud tale is part crime novel, part romantic comedy, part immigration story, and full of heart.

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood: Following two families from Pakistan and Iraq in the 1990s to San Francisco in 2016, this is an inclusive, comic novel about Muslim immigrants finding their way in modern America.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh: A beautiful, mesmerizing, feminist retelling of the classic Korean folktale "The Tale of Shim Cheong".

While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai: A girl with undocumented family members goes viral after saving her crush’s life in disguise. Rai explores personal questions around body image, mental health, and toxic internet culture while interweaving thought-provoking interrogations of U.S. immigration and healthcare policies.

A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo: A sweeping coming-of-age and coming-out historical novel about a biracial woman experiencing love and art for the first time.