The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) recently announced the following titles as winner and honor books in the 2009 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The awards promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage, based on literary and artistic merit. The books were chosen from titles by or about Asian Pacific Americans published in 2008.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth” New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008 was the winner in the adult fiction category. A collection of eight stories, Lahiri, author of “Interpreter of Maladies” and “The Namesake,” continues her exploration of the gulf that separates expatriate Bengali parents from their American-raised children-and that separates the children from India. Honorable mention was given to Fae Myenne Ng’s “Steer Toward Rock.”
Jennifer 8 Lee’s book “Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food,” which details the origins of the fortune cookie was recognized as the adult nonfiction winner.
In the picture book category, Mark Reibstein and Ed Young’s “Wabi Sabi,” a story of a little brown cat learning the meaning of her name in Kyoto, Japan was named picture book winner. Kashmira Sheth and Yoshiko Jaeggi’s “Monsoon Afternoon” took honorable mention honors.
In the youth literature category Many Ly’s “Roots and Wings,” was honored as the winner. The book follows Grace, a young Cambodian girl whose grandmother has died. She and her mother must travel back to the Cambodian community to give her a proper Cambodian funeral. But Grace wants to use the trip to solve a few mysteries, like who her father was, why her mother and grandmother moved from St. Petersburg, Florida to Pennsylvania, where they’re the only Cambodians Grace has ever seen, and what Cambodian culture is really about.
Naomi Hirahara’s “1001 Cranes” and Paula Yoo’s “Good Enough” were given honorable mention recognition. “1001 Cranes,” which was released this month as a Yearling paperback, tells the story of Angela Michiko Kato, a 12-year-old Japanese American girl who must spend her summer with her grandparents and aunt in Gardena, while her parents are going through a marital breakup. Forced to fold origami cranes for her grandparents’ floral and wedding business, Angela begins to gradually understand her own family’s cultural history as well as the delicate balance of relationships in her own life.
Yoo’s book follows Patti, a Korean American daughter, who struggles under the pressures of parental pressure. verything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.
APALA also was founded in 1980 by librarians committed to working together toward a common goal: to create an organization that would address the needs of Asian Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian Pacific American communities.