Book Reviews

Shining inspirations

I Am Able to Shine By Korey Watari, illustrated by Mike Wu (Two Lions, 2022, 40 pp., $10.29, hard cover) This book was written about a Japanese American girl named Keiko who is very self-confident. She is determined to shine. “Her generous heart fills her with strength and purpose.” Her mother inspires her and Keiko […]

A celebration of community, multiculturalism through cuisine

Dumplings for Lili By Melissa Iwai (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2021, 48 pp., $17.95, hard cover) “Dumplings for Lili” is a heartwarming intergenerational story of heritage, culture and food. Lili is thrilled when her Nai Nai asks her to help make bao. The “bundles of warm, doughy, juicy yumminess” are Lili’s favorite food. […]

On cultivating an aesthetic

SIMPLICITY AT HOME: JAPANESE RITUALS, RECIPES AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR THOUGHTFUL LIVING By Yumiko Sekine and Jenny Wapner Photography by Nao Shimizu. (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2021, 224 pp., $27.50, hard cover) Yumiko Sekine shares a distinct aesthetic that blends Japanese simplicity with western influences and touches. While the book has recipes, it is best read […]

Bedtime hijinks

I Can Be Anything Written and illustrated by Shinsuke Yoshitake (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2020, 56 pp., $15.99, hard cover) The first thing that appealed to me about this book was the cute daughter and mother family. The main character is a little girl, Natsumi, who spends every day playing with her mother. Not wanting […]

The ‘revolutionary Aunties’

The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice Edited by Mai-Linh K. Hong, Chrissy Yee Lau and Preeti Sharma (Oakland, Calif.: University of California Press, 2021, 288 pp., $24.95, paperback) In every immigrant community, we can find skilled seamstresses and resourceful crafters. It’s a survival skill passed down in our […]

A pandemic mystery in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

AN ETERNAL LEI : A Leilani Santiago Hawai‘i Mystery By Naomi Hirahara (Altadena, Calif.: Prospect Park Books, 2022, 200 pp., $17.99, paperback) When what at first appears to be a giant jellyfish floating off the coast turns out to be a lady, Dani screams out to her sister Sophie for help. They drag the limp […]

‘Historical insight into the management of marginalized aliens’

CLOSING THE GOLDEN DOOR: ASIAN MIGRATION AND THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF EXCLUSION AT ELLIS ISLAND By Anna Pegler-Gordon (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2021, 344 pp., $29.95, paperback) Anna Pegler-Gordon’s new book centers on the mythic immigration station at New York’s Ellis Island. The author makes a novel and convincing case […]

A classroom favorite and must-have for families

Hello Maggie! Revised 2nd Edition By Shigeru Yabu, illustrated by Willie Ito (Camarillo, Calif.: Yabitoon Books, 2021, 42 pp., $19.95, paperback) “Hello Maggie!” is the true childhood story of author Shig Yabu and his best friend, a magpie named Maggie. It is also a chronicle of Shig and his family’s forced removal from their life […]

Finding hope behind bars

LOVE IN THE LIBRARY By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura (Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2022, 40 pp, $18.99, hardcover) To many of us, the wartime incarceration is an impossible story. We thought we were free. We are American citizens with all the privileges that holds. So we find it impossible to believe that our […]

‘The American democratic and multicultural promise’

THE KINDNESS OF COLOR: THE STORY OF TWO FAMILIES AND MENDEZ, ET AL. V. WESTMINSTER, THE 1947 DESEGREGATION OF CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS By Janice Munemitsu (Self-published, 2021, 211 pp., $14.99, paperback) In 1949, when I was 10 years old, my family moved from New Jersey to Goleta, Calif., where I enrolled as a sixth grader […]

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