Suggested Reads for Asian Heritage Month
May is Asian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their diverse and vital contributions to our nation and culture. The Toronto Public Library has many Asian Heritage Month programs happening all month long to celebrate.
On Wednesday, May 24, world famous Chinese-Canadian writer Xue YiWei will present a talk entitled Life and Love in Capitalist China about his first book in English, Shenzheners, at the Don Mills Branch. The book is inspired by the young city of Shenzhen, a town that became an experiment in introducing capitalism to Communist China. At S. Walter Stewart Branch, Leslie Shimotakahara will talk about her book After the Bloom, the story of a daughter's search for her missing mother, which in turn reveals her family's past in a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending Catherine Hernandez's talk on her debut novel, Scarborough. Catherine candidly shared her experience of writing the novel, read from the novel, and got all of us engaged in a lively discussion afterwards. It was exciting and inspiring to meet someone who captured the stories of this community in such an authentic way. Catherine's novel tells character-driven stories – about people in Scarborough, from newcomers, to those struggling through poverty, to people navigating institutions – that are at times shocking, at times sad, but always extremely real and poignant. It was great to meet her and hear her share these stories.
In addition to Asian Heritage Month celebrations, the library has a wide range of books by Asians authors that you can access year-round. Here are some of my personal favourites. Some are serious, some a bit more light hearted. Have you read any of these? Any other books by Asian authors you'd like to recommend? Please share them in the comments below!