The month of May has been full of celebrations of Asian American Pacific Heritage Island month. I can’t say I often find much that highlights Pacific Island Heritage. It’s estimated that the Pacific Islands consist of 20,000-30,000 islands and is divided into three specific regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Three blogs I would suggest following to keep up with children’s and YA lit in this region are the following.
And, you’ll never go wrong following Asian Pacific American Librarians Association’s website. In addition to highlighting members, they feature articles which answer “What’s Your Normal?”, sponsor literature awards, mentor new members, offer grants and scholarships and sponsor Talk Story , a literacy program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) children and their families.
The following are a few of the recent books set in this region.
Island boyz Graham Salisbury In this rich collection, Salisbury’s love for Hawaii and its encircling sea shines through every story. Readers will share the rush a boy feels when he leaps off a cliff into a ravine or feasts his eyes on a beautiful woman. They’ll find stories that show what it takes to survive prep school, or a hurricane, or the night shift at Taco Bell, or first love. Graham Salisbury knows better than anyone what makes an island boy take chances. Or how it feels to test the waters, to test the limits, and what it’s like when a beloved older brother comes home from war, never to be the same.
The Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer Minke is a young Javanese student of great intelligence and ambition. Living equally among the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, he battles against the confines of colonial strictures. It is his love for Annelies that enables him to find the strength to embrace his world.
Aloha, Kanani and Good Job, Kanani by Lisa Yee Kanani loves helping out in her family’s store and sharing the wonders of Hawaii with visitors. When her chic cousin Rachel from Manhattan comes to stay for a month, Kanani can’t wait to get to know her cousin and help Rachel feel at home. But a clash of cultures ensures, and Kanani feels ignored. She tries to extend hospitality but everything she does seems to make Rachel unhappy. How can she find a way to connect with her cousin and make things better? Sometimes people who want help the least need it the most– her mother tells her. After a mixup with a diary leads to a fight, Kanani reaches out to Rachel in an openhearted spirit of caring and good will, and discovers that she has misjudged her cousin. In the process, Kanani learns the true meaning of Hawaii’s aloha spirit.
Tall story by Candy Gourlay Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.
Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.
In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Johnson (links to review on this blog)
Book descriptions from Amazon.com.
What other books or blogs have you found that highlight Pacific Island literature for children or teens?