Arts & Entertainment

Classic haiku poems in beautiful dreamscapes

MY FIRST BOOK OF HAIKU POEMS Translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, illustrated by Tracy Gallup (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2019, 48 pp., $16.99, hardcover) “My First Book of Haiku Poems” introduces children to classic haiku written by Japanese haiku masters such as Basho, Issa and Shiki. Each poem, lyrically translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, a professor […]

Scaring versus sharing

Let’s Scare Bear By Yuko Katakawa (New York: Holiday House, 2019, 40 pp., $17.99, hardcover) “Let’s Scare Bear,” based on a classic Japanese rakugo (comic storytelling) tale, is a funny, entertaining story with a surprise ending and an important lesson for young readers. Mouse, Fox, Spider and Snake love manju, a Japanese sweet. The four […]

Text ‘enrichens’ knowledge of Asian Americans in the South

A Different Shade of Justice: Asian American Civil Rights in the South By Stephanie Hinnershitz (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2017, 296 pp., $39.95, hardcover) In “A Different Shade of Justice,” Stephanie Hinnershitz details the struggles for equality by ethnic Asians in the American South. For more than a century, Asian laborers […]

Dysfunction and sacrifice as binding ties

REPENTANCE By Andrew Lam (North Point, Fla.: Tiny Fox Press, 2019, 283 pp., $15.95, paperback) Andrew Lam, the author of the book under review, studied history at Yale University — where he graduated summa cum laude — and afterward became a retinal surgeon. His third book, “Repentance,” is a work of historical fiction that is […]

Sequel leads adoptee from HI to WWII concentration camps in NorCal

By Alan Brennert (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2019, 320 pp., $27.99, hardcover) Daughter of Moloka‘i First and foremost, writer Alan Brennert is a wonderful world builder. It’s not surprising that he has received a glowing review of his latest novel, “Daughter of Moloka‘i,” from Games of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin. They both are […]

Accidental sleuth

ICED IN PARADISE: A Leilani Santiago Hawai’i Mystery By Naomi Hirahara (Altadena, Calif.: Prospect Park Books, 2019, 216 pp., $16, paperback) Stepping into “Iced in Paradise,” author Naomi Hirahara immediately establishes a local vantage point, from behind the counter of Santiago Shave Ice. When a mainlander asks about Waimea Wonder, her grandmother’s signature combination, lead […]

Unearthing one family’s history

TADAIMA! I AM HOME: A TRANSNATIONAL FAMILY HISTORY By Tom Coffman (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018, 176 pp., $17.99, paperback) The volume under review, the most recent of many documentary books by award-winning veteran independent researcher, writer, and producer Tom Coffman, characteristically incorporates historical themes pertaining to Hawai‘i. What makes “Tadaima! I Am Home” […]

‘Respectable’ biography on Norman Mineta falls short of potential

Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II By Andrea Warren (New York: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House, 2019, 224 pp., $22.99, hardcover) When I was in elementary school, I was introduced to the American Revolution through the biography of Johnny Tremain, which may […]

Willow finds her way

PILU OF THE WOODS Written and illustrated by Mai K. Nguyen (Portland, Ore.: Oni Press, 2019, 160 pp., $12.99, paperback) “Pilu of the Woods” is a charming book featuring both a profound message that children will be able to resonate with, and simplistic yet colorful visuals. The plot mostly follows the actions of a girl […]

Netflix’s ‘Always Be My Maybe’ a groundbreaking film for Asian Americans and Hollywood

Sometimes the media revolution hits not with a bang, but in a sweet and subversive romantic comedy. Make no mistake. “Always Be My Maybe,” a recently released Netflix original starring Randall Park and Ali Wong, is one of the most culturally authentic mainstream films yet on Asian Americans. At the same time, “Always Be My […]

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