The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.
This historical fiction is set in San Francisco, 1954, when Chinese Americans and immigrants had to live under increased paranoia, racism and suspicion for having Communist ideas. Lily is interested in discovering what’s outside her Chinatown home. Her parents warned her not to leave their immediate neighborhood, but Lily ventures forth to various places, such as the Telegraph Club, a lesbian bar. This is where she slowly discovers herself and a relationship with her first white friend, Kathleen. All of this means that Lily may end up in dangerous situations and more than she bargained for.
In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki is not pleased when he has to become pen pals with Charlie Levy of Paris, France, who turns out to be a girl. Even though they have a rocky start, the letters continue as their friendship grows, and they share their hopes, dreams and fears. The attack on Pearl Harbor happens, and teenage Alex, and his family are sent to the Japanese concentration camps, while Charlie faces the horrors of the Holocaust. Their friendship and love do not abate, and nothing can take away the light between them.
George Takei, of Star Trek fame, recounts his childhood memories of his family's imprisonment in Japanese internment camps across the United States. Moving between the past and present, it features stark black and white illustrations, and is a heartbreaking, stunning look at familial love, strength and the events that shaped Takei's life as an actor, artist, and activist. The book effortlessly presents the larger societal implications of those in the camp, as well as the aftermath this country still hasn't fully processed. This book joins the likes of Maus and March.
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from poverty in Chinatown, and she gains admittance to a prestigious finishing school through a mix of cunning and bribery. She soon discovers that getting in was the easiest part, and must carve a niche among the spoiled heiresses. When the earthquake strikes on April 18, Mercy and her classmates are forced to a survivor encampment, but her quick-witted leadership rallies them to help in the tragedy's aftermath.