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April 17, 2024

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

By Preet G., Public Services Assistant

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. HEPL’s very own Preet G. shares her experience of growing up in the United States as an Asian American. Read on to learn more!


Growing up in the United States as an Asian American has its many ups and downs. My family immigrated to the United States from India in the late 1990s and raised me in a completely new and unfamiliar culture. It has been wonderful; I get to experience the best of two different cultures. I get to eat twice as much wonderful food and celebrate twice as many holidays. It’s also been hard. There are times when I find it difficult to connect to my Indian side when I’m away from home, and there are times when I find myself feeling not quite “American enough”. There is always this ongoing effort to find balance within the two cultures.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to explore more books written by AANHPI authors that share this same experience, and it has made me feel seen and understood. I don’t feel as alone, and find comfort and peace in reading stories about others with similar experiences. I have talked to many people with similar backgrounds and have found that a lot of us turn to stories and food to reconnect and ground ourselves within the cultures of our ancestors, as well as maintain our American identities. Here are a few nonfiction books from our collection that touch upon growing up in the United States as an Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander:

Blame This on the BoogieBestiaryThey Called Us Exceptional

Crying in H Mart – Zauner, Michelle

They Called Us Exceptional – Gupta, Prachi

Blame This on the Boogie – Ayuyang, Rina

Bestiary – Chang, K-Ming

The Good Immigrant – Shukla, Nikesh

Homeland Elegies – Akhtar, Ayad

Minor Feelings – Hong, Cathy Park

If you find getting into non-fiction difficult, I’ve found that memoirs are a great place to start. They’re stories of people’s lives and their experiences. They’re captivating and inspiring.

So many people have also found connection with their backgrounds in cooking and food. Here are a few cookbooks that the library has in its collection that may help connect you to your roots, or explore a whole new culture and cuisine:

Aloha KitchenArabiyya

Aloha Kitchen – Kysar, Alana

The Asian Home Kitchen – Tan-Boisgillot, Leemei

Arabiyya – Assil, Reem

Filipinx – Dimayuga, Angela

Vietnamese Food Any Day – Nguyen, Andrea Quynhgiao

The New Filipino Kitchen – Dumlao-Giardina, Rowena