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Books That Matter: Asia

An anti-racist social justice bookshelf that highlights specific books as a way to increase visibility and include everyone!

Asian Authors

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang

Call Number: F128.9.C5 W35 2021

ISBN: 9780385547215

Publication Date: 2021

In Chinese, the word for America, Mei Guo, translates directly to “beautiful country.” Yet when seven-year-old Qian arrives in New York City in 1994 full of curiosity, she is overwhelmed by crushing fear and scarcity. In China, Qian’s parents were professors; in America, her family is “illegal” and it will require all the determination and small joys they can muster to survive. In Chinatown, Qian’s parents labor in sweatshops. Instead of laughing at her jokes, they fight constantly, taking out the stress of their new life on one another. Shunned by her classmates and teachers for her limited English, Qian takes refuge in the library and masters the language through books, coming to think of The Berenstain Bears as her first American friends.  Inhabiting her childhood perspective with exquisite lyric clarity and unforgettable charm and strength, Qian Julie Wang has penned an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.

Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life by Sari Nusseibeh

Call Number: DS119.7 .N825 2007

ISBN: 0374299501

Publication Date: 2007

A teacher, a scholar, a philosopher, and an eyewitness to history, Sari Nusseibeh is one of our most urgent and articulate authorities on the conflict in the Middle East. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at the Hebrew University through his appointment by Yasir Arafat to administer the Arab Jerusalem, he has held fast to the principles of freedom and equality for all, and his story dramatizes the consequences of war, partition, and terrorism as few other books have done. Once Upon a Country brings rare depth and compassion to the story of his country.

Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed

Call Number: PZ7.1.S24 Bil 2019

ISBN: 9781534418103

Publication Date: 2019

Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?

Whale Snow: Iñupiat, Climate Change, and Multispecies Resilience in Arctic Alaska by Chie Sakakibara

Call Number: E99.E7 S3126 2020

ISBN: 9780816529612

Publication Date: 2020

Using multispecies ethnography, Whale Snow explores how every day the relatedness of the Iñupiat of Arctic Alaska and the bowhead whale forms and transforms “the human” through their encounters with modernity. Whale Snow shows how the people live in the world that intersects with other beings, how these connections came into being, and, most importantly, how such intimate and intense relations help humans survive the social challenges incurred by climate change. In this time of ecological transition, exploring multispecies relatedness is crucial as it keeps social capacities to adapt relational, elastic, and resilient. In Whale Snow, we see how climate change disrupts this ancient practice and, in the process, affects a vital expression of Indigenous sovereignty.

Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law

Call Number: HV9304 .L389 2021

ISBN: 9781620976975

Publication Date: 2021

 

Electronic monitoring. Locked-down drug treatment centers. House arrest. Mandated psychiatric treatment. Data-driven surveillance. Extended probation. These are some of the key alternatives held up as cost-effective substitutes for jails and prisons. Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law reveal that many of these so-called reforms actually weave in new strands of punishment and control, bringing new populations who would not otherwise have been subject to imprisonment under physical control by the state. Prison by Any Other Name exposes how a kinder narrative of reform is effectively obscuring an agenda of social control, challenging us to question the ways we replicate the status quo when pursuing change, and offering a bolder vision for truly alternative justice practices.

Tell Me Who You Are: A Road Map for Cultivating Racial Literacy by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi

Call Number: E184.A1 G945 2021

ISBN: 9780593330173

Publication Date: 2021

In this deeply inspiring book, Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi recount their experiences talking to people from all walks of life about race and identity on a cross-country tour of America. Spurred by the realization that they had nearly completed high school without hearing any substantive discussion about racism in school, the two young women deferred college admission for a year to collect first-person accounts of how racism plays out in this country every day—and often in unexpected ways. In Tell Me Who You Are, Guo and Vulchi reveal the lines that separate us based on race or other perceived differences and how telling our stories—and listening deeply to the stories of others—are the first and most crucial steps we can take towards negating racial inequity in our culture. 

Western Asia Stories

Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life by Sari Nusseibeh

Call Number: DS119.7 .N825 2007

ISBN: 0374299501

Publication Date: 2007

A teacher, a scholar, a philosopher, and an eyewitness to history, Sari Nusseibeh is one of our most urgent and articulate authorities on the conflict in the Middle East. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at the Hebrew University through his appointment by Yasir Arafat to administer the Arab Jerusalem, he has held fast to the principles of freedom and equality for all, and his story dramatizes the consequences of war, partition, and terrorism as few other books have done. Once Upon a Country brings rare depth and compassion to the story of his country.

Southern Asia Stories

Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed

Call Number: PZ7.1.S24 Bil 2019

ISBN: 9781534418103

Publication Date: 2019

Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?