by Maggie Block
It is amazing how quickly COVID-19 has changed our world. The biggest day-to-day change for many of us is Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order. Suddenly our schools, jobs, and favorite outdoor activities have been put on hold. While this is the best action in order to keep Washingtonians safe, it’s still very hard to be stuck inside. So, the King County Library System (KCLS) and the South Seattle Emerald are teaming up to bring you the best magic we know of to help get you through these tough times: books.
All you need is a KCLS library card to access our digital collections. If you don’t have one, residents in the KCLS service area (in King County, outside the city of Seattle) can sign up instantly for a digital eCard. Enter your library card and PIN number to search for titles in TumbleBook and hoopla. And the Libby app makes it especially easy to download digital titles through OverDrive. Contact Ask KCLS if you need assistance with your account, or to get help finding and downloading titles. (Don’t worry, Seattle Public Library cardholders, SPL uses these apps too — but you’ll need to contact SPL for any technical issues on their site.)
This week, we’ll celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with stories from Asian and Pacific Islander experiences and authors. Asia makes up a huge geographic area, filled with many countries, that are filled with many cultures and ethnic groups — and that doesn’t even start to encompass the Pacific Islands! My short list will be incomplete and not all-encompassing. Still, I hope these titles will help South End residents celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month from home!
Kids (ages 3 to 6): Red is a Dragon by Roseanne Thong / Available on TumbleBook Library
This sweet book about a Chinese American girl and her family teaches young readers about the concept of colors, using examples from her life and culture. Follow along as she discovers color all around her, from a red dragon at Lunar New Year, yellow incense sticks and white noodles, to her grandfather’s brown hat and orange seashells.
Honorable mentions: They Say Blue and A Map into the World — Both available on OverDrive
Kids and Tweens (ages 7 to 13): Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê / Available on hoopla
One night, Tai is woken up by a strange incident with his grandmother’s jade ring. When he tries to return it, his grandmother tells him the ring has chosen its new owner. After tragedy strikes, Tai learns that the ring — and its legacy of keepers — is very special. The beautiful way this story imagines the refugee/immigrant experience into a superhero narrative is breathtaking and truly moving.
Teens (ages 14 to 17): When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon / Available on OverDrive
Dimple wants to follow her own passions and put her career before marriage. Her parents want her to pursue an Ideal India Husband (IIH), and have made their own plans, unbeknownst to her. Rishi is willing to live the kind of life his parents have set up for him — even if it means leaving his comic art behind — and is excited to meet Dimple, his arranged wife. Hilarity ensues when Dimple meets Rishi under false pretenses. But when they’re teamed up for Insomnia-con over the summer, they both wind up being surprised by how their relationship grows.
Honorable mentions: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali and Frankly In Love / Both available on OverDrive
Adult (ages 18 and older): The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui / Available on hoopla
This graphic novel reveals a beautiful memoir and richly woven family history. Bui’s story begins with her parents’ childhood in Vietnam and chronicles the formation of her family. Following a history of turmoil in the region, Bui’s family makes a heroic and harrowing escape after the war. She reflects on their integration into America, her own childhood living with parents who had PTSD, and finally on her experience of becoming a mother. After reading this graphic novel, I was incredibly grateful to the author for writing it!
Honorable mentions: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and The Poppy War / Both available on OverDrive
Looking for more ways to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?
I know and deeply admire many Skyway residents of Pacific Island descent and wanted to share a few more resources that KCLS has to offer.
Streaming Videos and Movies!
Why stop at just books? Here’s an excellent selection of videos and movies to watch, all accessible with your KCLS library card.
“Pacific Islanders in Communications” series offer great educational content:
- “Skin Stories”
- “Holo Mai Pele”
- “Maori Art: World Indigenous Art”
- “Bitter and Sweet: Beauty, Humor, and Harmony in Australia’s Indigenous Art”
- “Atea: Nature and Divinity in Polynesia Opening Ceremony—Performances”
- “Whale Rider,” one of my all-time favorite movies on hoopla tells the story of a Maori girl trying to find her place in her family’s patriarchal legacy.
- “Boy,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” and “What We Do in the Shadows”
Before Taika Waititi breathed life back into the Thor franchise, he made a number of fantastic smaller movies, including these three.
Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, everyone! I hope these KCLS resources help folks of all cultures celebrate the many achievements and rich cultural history of Asian and Pacific Island Americans.
Maggie Block is the teen services librarian at KCLS’ Skyway Library. When Maggie is not collaborating with community members to create meaningful programming for Skyway’s tweens and teens, she can be found: reading graphic novels; listening to audio books; watching as many movies as she can fit into her week; and cooking batch meals. She lives with her partner of five years, two cats and one dog, and is currently trying to see if she can turn seeds into vegetables in her front yard (wish her luck).
Featured image: courtesy of the King County Library System.