Who are we?

WE ARE HERE: 30 INSPIRING ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS WHO HAVE SHAPED THE UNITED STATES By Naomi Hirahara, illustrated by Illianette Ferandez (New York: Running Press Kids, 2022, 128 pp., $17.99, hardcover) People from Asia and the Pacific arrive on these shores and imagine their lineage still linked to their country of origin. They […]

‘Charming ghost story’ meets adventure novel

TEMPLE ALLEY SUMMER By Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa. (New York: Restless Books, 2021, 240 pp., $18, hardcover) Walking down the back streets of the Minami Odori District, traces of a secret past come to life in “Temple Alley Summer,” a captivating modern-day mystery that is both a charming […]

Asian American trailblazers

More Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Citizens who Energized America Written by Phil Amara and Oliver Chin, and illustrated by Juan Calle. (San Francisco: Immedium, 2022, 132 pp., $17.95, paperback). Reading ages 5-14 years  “In 2050 minorities will become the majority in America.” But we still have a long way to go. Here’s a book describing […]

On LA agriculture’s ‘unique triracial hierarchy’

Transborder Los Angeles: An Unknown Transpacific History of Japanese-Mexican Relations By Yu Tokunaga (Oakland, Calif.: University of California Press, 2022, 274 pp., $29.95, paperback) In this work, adapted from a doctoral thesis produced at the University of Southern California, author Yu Tokunaga explores the relations between transnational Japanese and Mexican communities in the Los Angeles […]

More than miso soup

JAPANESE SOUPS: 66 NOURISHING BROTHS, STEWS AND HOTPOTS By Keiko Iwasaki (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2021, 128 pp., $16.99, hard cover) When asked to name or identify a Japanese soup, you’ll probably think of miso, but can you think of many more? In her book, “Japanese Soups,” Keiko Iwasaki shares 66 different soups, all […]

‘Brilliant’ work relies on oral histories of JA hibakusha

AMERICAN SURVIVORS: TRANS-PACIFIC MEMORIES OF HIROSHIMA & NAGASAKI By Naoko Wake (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 408 pp., $29.95, hard cover) In 1974, Betty Mitson and I co-edited a modest and virtually self-published and crudely fabricated book titled “Voices Long Silent: An Oral Inquiry into the Japanese American Evacuation.” It was conceived and developed […]

Bento-making 101

Ultimate Bento: Healthy, Delicious and Affordable 85 Mix-and-Match Bento Box Recipes By Marc Matsumoto and Maki Ogawa (North Clarendon, Vt: Tuttle Publishing, 2020, 168 pp., $19.99, hard cover) As a mother who currently has to make lunch five days a week for a child, I saw the cover of this book and was immediately ready […]

The untold story of a South Dakota Nisei veteran

A Place for Harvest: The Story of Kenny Higashi By Lauren R. Harris, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Pierre, S.D.: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2022, 32 pp., $19.95, hard cover) Many of us are familiar with Executive Order 9066. More than 100,000 persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast were forced to leave their […]

The sound of redemption

THE PERFECT SOUND: A Memoir in Stereo By Garrett Hongo (New York: Pantheon Books, 2022, 544 pp., $30, hard cover) The poet, Garrett Hongo, recounts his life in “The Perfect Sound,” a lengthy, detailed and beautifully written tome that follows his journey as a barefoot boy born in Hawai‘i, to his tenured faculty position at […]

A ‘vibrant,’ non-linear approach to Asian America’s histories

ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORIES OF THE UNITED STATES By Catherine Ceniza Choy (Boston: Beacon Press, 2022, 206 pp. $26.95, hard cover) In the mid-1990s, while teaching history classes at California State University, Fullerton, I was asked to join a professor from the Education Department in designing an academic minor curriculum for the university’s new Asian American […]