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Canadian Asian Heritage Month:  

Banner image with plum blossom reading Canadian Asian Heritage Month, May 2019

About this resource list


May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada. This sampling of resources has been created in celebration of the many talented and diverse Canadian authors of Asian heritage featured in our library's collection.

If you have suggestions for books written by Canadian authors of Asian descent that are not yet part of our collection, please let us know by emailing your ideas to library@camosun.ca.

National Film Board of Canada


Film still from

Minoru: Memory of Exile

Michael Fukushima, Director, Design, & Animation
National Film Board of Canada
1992

Film still from

Everything Will Be

Julia Kwan, Director & Writer
National Film Board of Canada
2013

This film contains scenes of nudity and/or sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.

Film still from

Pasalubong: Gifts from the Journey

Hari Alluri, Director
National Film Board of Canada
2010

Film still from

A Tribe of One

Eunhee Cha, Director
National Film Board of Canada
2003

Film still from

The Girl Who Hated Books (based on the book by Manjusha Pawagi)

Jo Meuris, Director & Animation
National Film Board of Canada
2006

Film still from

The Apology

Tiffany Hsiung, Director & Writer
National Film Board of Canada
2016

Fiction

Cover art for That Time I Loved You

That Time I Loved You

Life is never as perfect as it seems.

The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth – new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone's dreams come true. Moving from house to house, Carrianne Leung explores the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows, always returning to June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian coming of age in this shifting world. Through June and her neighbours, Leung depicts the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life, and examines, with insight and sharp prose, how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.

That Time I Loved You has been longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads competition and was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award.

Cover art for The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

A group of young girls descends on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets and camp songs by the fire. Bursting with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore follows these five girls – Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina and Siobhan – through and beyond this fateful trip. We see the survivors through the successes and failures, loves and heartbreaks of their teen and adult years, and we come to understand how a tragedy can alter the lives it touches in innumerable ways. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves – and the pasts we can't escape.

Cover art for Kim's Convenience

Kim's Convenience

Mr. Kim is a first-generation Korean immigrant and the proud owner of Kim's Convenience, a variety store located in the heart of downtown Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood. There, he spends his time serving an eclectic array of customers, catching petty thieves, and helpfully keeping the police apprised of illegally parked Japanese cars. As the neighbourhood quickly gentrifies, Mr. Kim is offered a generous sum of money to sell – enough to allow him and his wife to finally retire. But Kim's Convenience is more than just his livelihood – it is his legacy. As Mr. Kim tries desperately, and hilariously, to convince his daughter Janet, a budding photographer, to take over the store, his wife sneaks out to meet their estranged son Jung, who has not seen or spoken to his father in sixteen years and who has now become a father himself.

Wholly original, hysterically funny, and deeply moving, Kim's Convenience tells the story of one Korean family struggling to face the future amidst the bitter memories of their past.

Cover art for This One Summer

This One Summer

Rose and Windy are summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. Sure, Rose's dad is still making cheesy and embarrassing jokes, but her mother is acting like she doesn't want to be there. Plus, being at the cottage isn't just about going to the beach anymore. Now Rose and Windy are spending their time renting scary movies and spying on the teenagers who work at the corner store, as well as learning stuff about sex no one mentioned in health class.

Pretty soon everything is messed up. Rose's father leaves the cottage and returns to the city, and her mother becomes more and more withdrawn. While her family is falling to pieces, Rose focuses her attention on Dunc, a teenager working at the local corner store. When Jenny, Dunc's girlfriend, claims to be pregnant, the girls realize that the teenagers are keeping just as many secrets as the adults in their lives.

No one seems to want to talk about the things that matter. When the tension between Dunc and Jenny boils over, Jenny makes a desperate and destructive move and Rose's mother is galvanized into action.

Cover art for The Conjoined

The Conjoined

On a sunny May morning, social worker Jessica Campbell sorts through her mother's belongings after her recent funeral. In the basement, she makes a shocking discovery – two dead girls curled into the bottom of her mother's chest freezers. She remembers a pair of foster children who lived with the family in 1988: Casey and Jamie Cheng – troubled, beautiful, and wild teenaged sisters from Vancouver's Chinatown. After six weeks, they disappeared; social workers, police officers, and Jessica herself assumed they had run away.

As Jessica learns more about Casey, Jamie, and their troubled immigrant Chinese parents, she also unearths dark stories about Donna, whom she had always thought of as the perfect mother. The complicated truths she uncovers force her to take stock of own life.

Moving between present and past, this riveting novel unflinchingly examines the myth of social heroism and traces the often-hidden fractures that divide our diverse cities.

Cover art for The English Patient

The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning best seller lyrically portrays the convergence of four damaged lives in a bomb-riddled Italian villa in the last days of World War II. Hana, the grieving nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the emotionally detached sapper, Kip – each is haunted in different ways by the riddle of the man they know only as the English patient, a nameless burn victim who lies swathed in bandages in an upstairs room. It is this man's incandescent memories – of the North African desert, of explorers' caves and Bedouin tribesmen, of forbidden love, and of annihilating anger – that illuminate the story, and the consequences of the mysteries they reveal radiate outward in shock waves that leave all the characters forever changed.

Cover art for The Boat People

The Boat People

When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and 500 fellow refugees from Sri Lanka's bloody civil war reaches Vancouver's shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with news headlines speculating that among the "boat people" are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks-and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada's national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son's chance for asylum.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan's fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis.

Cover image for The Jade Peony

The Jade Peony

Chinatown, Vancouver, in the late 1930s and 40s provides the setting for this poignant first novel, told through the vivid and intense reminiscences of the three younger children of an immigrant family. They each experience a very different childhood, depending on age and sex, as they encounter the complexities of birth and death, love and hate, kinship and otherness. Mingling with the realities of Canada and the horror of war are the magic, ghosts, paper uncles and family secrets of Poh-Poh, or Grandmother, who is the heart and pillar of the family.

Wayson Choy's Chinatown is a community of unforgettable individuals who are neither this nor that, neither entirely Canadian nor Chinese. But with each other's help, they survive hardship and heartbreak with grit and humour. The Jade Peony was a 2010 Canada Reads Selection.