May is API (Asian Pacific Islander) appreciation month, and I wanted to take this time to continue celebrating and amplifying their voices. Growing up Asian, I never saw myself in the books I read. So when I started dabbling in creative writing on the side as a fun hobby, even the characters I created weren’t Asian. It’s something I had to reflect a lot on over the years. Why wouldn’t I choose to write about experiences of people who had childhoods like me? Is it perhaps it was never seen in publishing that I didn’t think it was a relevant story to include someone who wasn’t white? Is this why even the pen name I had chosen for myself didn’t even include an Asian last name?
I don’t have all the answers but I definitely am moving in the right direction on this blog. I see more and more Asian authors not only proudly put their name on their writing, but also write about their experiences in their characters. These stories are meant to be celebrated as more people are growing in knowledge and appreciation for cultures outside of their own. I learn so much from all the authors and books I’m about to share below, and it’s why I read as many API books as I can find.
This is not to say the following list is exhaustive. I for sure am missing authors that I have yet to explore, but this is where the book community comes in. This is the time to share our stories, share the ones we found and loved, and promote the rhetoric for the next generation that ALL cultures and stories are worth sharing and publishing.
I put together a list last year at this time, and many of these authors are featured in this list too. However, even in the last year, so many more authors have debuted in the YA publishing world that there’s a noticeable difference even then. I hope you’ll find a new author to cherish and learn from among these, and that we open up more conversations among ourselves about the need for all voices to be heard.
API YA Releases in 2022
In honour of celebrating these amazing API authors, I have listed below their recent or upcoming releases this year. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or are anticipating them as much as I am!
Last but not least, though this isn’t the genre I always read although this year I’ve been reading more memoirs, I can’t forget my homeboy and his book that just came out this week!
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.