Front Desk

PGCMLS
6 min readMay 23, 2024
Photo by Pedro Gonzalez on Unsplash

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, readers looking for recommendations similar in theme might enjoy the following books:

Maizy Chen has just moved to Last Chance, Minnesota with her mother to help her grandparents with their family-owned Chinese restaurant, The Golden Palace. Although the plan was to stay for a short time, plans change and the time that Maizy and her mom spend in Last Chance lengthens. There Maizy must contend with being one of the only Asian-Americans in the area, family secrets, and a mystery surrounding a precious family possession that goes missing.

Although she has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, twelve year Cici is determined to find a way to fund a plane ticket to bring her grandmother to visit her in time for them to celebrate A-Ma’s seventieth birthday together. Cici decides to enter a cooking contest for kids in order to win the money for the plane ticket and hopes that the fact that she only knows how to cook Taiwanese food will not be a barrier to her winning. An ALA top Graphic Novel of 2021.

Pakistani siblings Zara and Zeeshan may be twins, but they cannot stand each other. When their family gets invited for a conference to Key West to honor their mother, who will become the first Muslim woman honored with a pediatrician of the year award, they’re excited to leave New York. With the bickering becoming too much, their parents sentence them to no phones and are forced to be each other’s company. The twins go on an adventure to help a sea turtle, and at the same time they start to realize that their experiences at school aren’t that different.

Maybelline Chen is a Taiwanese American teen who can’t seem to please her mom. While her mom may not be proud of her, she is definitely proud of May’s older brother, Danny. Her perfect brother has been admitted to Princeton, but May realizes not everything is perfect as tragedy strikes the family. May attempts to challenge the racism and stereotypes through her writing, only to realize that she still has a lot to learn.

In 1981, The Lin family arrives in Los Angeles for a family vacation. Or are they? Feng-Li and her older siblings quickly find out that their parents are going back to Taiwan after being unable to secure an extension on their Visas, and that they are leaving them in California to live on their own (with some support and supervision from family friends). Forced to stay in a country where they don’t know the language, the siblings need to find a way to get along as they face a new school, racism, and building a new home. Can they keep the family together?

Everyone seems to think they know what’s best for Korean American Pippa Park, but when a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private is presented to her, she jumps at the opportunity to reinvent herself. Unfortunately, life can’t go too smoothly, as she begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media. What can Pippa do as her carefully built persona is threatened? Can she keep her old and new lives separate?

As mentioned in the episode:

Thirteen-year-old friends Rabi, Miguel, and Joe were practicing for their next baseball game near the Delbe, Iowa meatpacking plant when they discover that the meatpacking plant has caused cows to turn into zombies. The three friends can no longer trust the grownup and will have to grab their bats to protect themselves if they want to stay alive…and maybe even save the world.

Quiz Time!

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

What Inexplicable Youth Fad Were You?

  1. It’s your first day at a new school. What’s your biggest concern?

A) No one will share your same fandom.

B) That your dearest “friend” will die from starvation

C) That you’ll fall backwards in the middle of the hallway

D) You won’t get your allowance in time to visit the kitsch shop after school

E) Scarlet fever!

2. Lunchtime. What’s on your menu?

A) Jello!

B) I eat after my friend eats

C) Whatever it is gives me a chance to zoom to the front of the line

D) Nothing with a messy sauce for my plushy investments

E) As long as it’s not dairy

3. Next period is art class. What are you drawing?

A) Something with striking silhouettes

B) My best friend

C) You’re too busy zooming around checking out everyone else’s canvas to work on your own

D) You spend lots of time drawing eyes. Eyes are the window to the soul.

E) Still life with fruit. And vinegar. And salt. Lots of salt.

4. Uh-oh, now it’s P.E time. What activity are you avoiding?

A) Anything that’s a contact sport. Or heavy machinery.

B) No basketball. Too much potential for crushing both your tiny friend and your nose.

C) Definitely no track!

D) No badminton. You’re too worried about your pint sized buddies being lobbed over the net

E) Ropes. It requires both hands which means you have no snacks.

5. It’s finally the end of the school day. What’s your transportation situation for getting home?

A) Mom is picking you up. Duh.

B) You’ve got the bus taking you home which will allow you some quality time with your tiny pocket friend

C) My feet are all I need, baby!

D) Your carpool gets you home but keeps rejecting your requests to buckle your pint-sized buddies into the backseat for some weird reason.

E) Fortunately it’s possible to pedal a bicycle and suck on a citrus flavored treat.

Scroll down for your results…

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Mostly A’s — Silly Bandz

These silicon rubber band bracelets in different colors and shapes enjoyed a period of extreme and short-lived popularity.

Photo by Roberto Sorin on Unsplash

Mostly B’s — Virtual Pets

Allowing you to nurture a virtual pet, these cute devices were everywhere, just heed the fact that should you neglect them, death would arrive.

Photo by Haberdoedas on Unsplash

Mostly C’s — Heelys

Good for people who weren’t afraid of concussions, these wheeled sneakers allowed the wearer to zoom around like a Roomba on too much caffeine!

Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Mostly D’s — Beanie Babies/Furbies

These adorable stuffed toys have been around for a very long time, from bears to unicorns, they were the IT toy, and they can also make you very rich, but only if you have the right toy.

Photo by Clarissa Watson on Unsplash

Mostly E’s — Pickled Limes

Hardcore Little Women fans enthusiasts may remember this anachronistic treat favored by Amy and her classmates in the novel. This literary reference does seem to have perhaps been based on a historical surge in popularity of pickled limes among school aged children in New England during the late 1800s. These briny treats were perfect for those who loved the taste of salt, citrus and sour.

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

This blog is created by Hannah, Maria and Ella in conjunction with the These Books Made Me podcast, a Prince George’s County Memorial Library System production. Check out the corresponding episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.

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