#ownvoices asian book recs because it’s asian heritage month!

it’s may, and that means – 1. we are already five months done with this crazy year – how did that happen? and 2. it is asian heritage month! as an asian, it means a lot to me seeing book bloggers share their favorite asian books and asian tbr. i hope to create something special for the occasion as well, so here’s a list of my favorite #ownvoices asian books, catered to the tastes of readers with different preferences ❤

FOR THE SOFT ROMANTICS

i see the difference now, between loving someone from afar and loving someone up close. when you see them up close, you see the real them, but they also get to see the real you.

to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han

to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han (korean american)
recommended for those who like: fake-to-real relationships, korean food, sibling love

when dimple met rishi by sandhya menon (indian american)
recommended for those who like: romantic clichés, coding and computer science, humor

american panda by gloria chao (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: humor, family dynamics, self discovery

this time will be different by misa sugiura (japanese american)
recommended for those who like: family, american history (the protagonist’s family members were moved to japanese internment camps in world war ii), the friends-to-lovers trope, plant symbolism

something in between by melissa de la cruz (filippino american)
recommended for those who like: discussions about undocumented immigrants, diverse characters, strong female friendships

FOR THE WANDERLUSTERS AND TRAVELERS

and suddenly i realize that making things real is more than just “pretty fun.” making things real means i feel so many things all at once and on a truly visceral level – deep in my bones and my heart and my soul. and right now, all of those things feel amazing.

i love you so mochi by sarah kuhn

i love you so mochi by sarah kuhn (japanese american)
recommended for those who like: art and design, upcycled fashion, japanese food (especially mochis!)

somewhere only we know by maurene goo (korean american)
recommended for those who like: korean pop, food, discussions about body image and mental health

the astonishing color of after by emily x.r. pan (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: discussions about mental health, incredibly beautiful prose (it’s been more than a year and i’m still not yet over it), magical realism

FOR THE POETIC SOULS

perhaps we are all immigrants
trading one home for another
first we leave the womb for air
then the suburbs for the filthy city
in search of a better life
some of us just happen to leave entire countries

the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur

on earth we’re briefly gorgeous by ocean vuong (vietnamese american)
recommended for those who like: self discovery, first love, lgbtq+ rep

love & misadventure by lang leav (cambodian american)
recommended for those who like: yearning, joy and heartbreak in romantic relationships

no matter the wreckage by sarah kay (japanese american)
recommended for those who like: pleasant surprises, female empowerment, spoken word poetry (search up a youtube video of the author performing her poem and read along! that’s what i did, and it was such a lovely experience.)

the sun & her flowers by rupi kaur (indian canadian)
recommended for those who like: discussions about feminism, toxic masculinity and rape culture, simple, thought-provoking drawings, emotional healing and recovery

500 words or less by juleah del rosario (filippino-chamorro american)
recommended for those who like: poetic storytelling, high school drama, self love

inside out & back again by thanhha lai (vietnamese american)
recommended for those who like: history (the story is set in the vietnam war), discussions about race and discrimination, coming-of-age stories

FOR THOSE WHO DREAM OF MAGIC AND ADVENTURE

for immigrants, children of immigrants, and diaspora readers everywhere: never forget that you are the dragon warriors and heroes of your own stories.

the dragon warrior by katie zhao

a wish in the dark by christina soontornvat (thai american)
recommended for those who like: classic retellings (this book is based on the 1862 victor hugo novel les misérables!), beautiful male friendships, discussions about social issues

where the mountain meets the moon by grace lin (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: chinese mythology, the wizard of oz, full-color and beautifully drawn illustrations

the dragon warrior by katie zhao (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: chinese mythology, family love, dragons, food, friendship, chinatowns – this book has it all!

the empress of salt and fortune by nghi vo (vietnamese american)
recommended for those who like: lgbtq+ rep, feminism, mythical creatures, women supporting women, board games

OTHER FAVORITES

little fires everywhere by celeste ng (chinese american)
recommended for those who like: discussions about wealth disparity and white privilege, ethical dilemmas, court battles, cliffhanger endings

internment by samira ahmed (indian american)
recommended for those who like: dystopian fiction, activism, discussions about islamophobia – i really hope that everyone will read this, because the topics explored in this book are important and greatly relevant in today’s society.

the year of the dog by grace lin (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: wholesomeness, gaining confidence, family and friends, discussions about racism and discrimination

the prince and the dressmaker by jen wang (taiwanese american)
recommended for those who like: sequential art, lgbtq+ rep, fashion design


have you read any of the books included in this post? did you find something you think you’ll like? what is your favorite book written by an asian author? let me know in the comments! 🙂

18 thoughts on “#ownvoices asian book recs because it’s asian heritage month!

  1. i love this list! so many of these are sitting in my tbr (i really need to get reading!) and the ones that aren’t i’m adding right now! you mentioning “where the mountain meets the moon” made me so happy because i feel like it’s a middle grade book that isn’t talked enough about + the fact that it was *the very first* diverse book i ever read! anyways, thank you for compiling these recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oh my goodness, this post was so lovely!! Where The Mountain Meets The Moon is definitely a childhood favorite of mine! i’m currently reading I Love You So Mochi, and it is so adorable & fluffy. 😊 Little Fires Everywhere, the TATBILB series, and The Astonishing Color of After have been on my tbr for a while as well. 😉 this was so fun to read, thank you for all the great recommendations! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks ash! i read where the mountain meets the moon back when i was a kid too, and it makes me so happy that we share a childhood favorite! also, i love you so mochi is honestly so cute, and i cannot wait to hear your thoughts once you finish reading it! i hope you pick up little fires everywhere, tatbilb and the astonishing color of after soon – i think you’d really enjoy them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. this post was PERFECT omw! it makes me so happy to see bloggers posting about #ownvoices books because they are soso important !! “when dimple met rishi” was one of the personal favorites, it the *sweetest* book EVER. there wasn’t a chapter where i wasn’t smiling because of how adorable the two of them were. i haven’t read too many books from this post, but they all seem full of things i love, *especially* from the poetry section. i love your book reviews so much chloe! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so happy you like my post, vaishnavi! and yes, #ownvoices books are so important: authors get to share their diverse cultures and experiences, and readers also have the chance to see themselves authentically represented. i hope you give the books from the poetry section a try, especially ocean vuong’s. ❤

      Like

  4. Thank you so much for these! I think I saved most, if not all, after reading your post. Where Asian books are concerned, I think I’ve only read Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’m always looking to expand my reading list and try out different kinds of books by different authors.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So many good recommendations!! I love how you categorised them, that’s so helpful! And they all seem like really great choices:)

    Liked by 1 person

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