The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, together with the Smithsonian BookDragon and HapaMama blogs, are launching a monthly online book club focusing on Asian American literature. In an effort to support and raise the profile of Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and experiences, the club will feature interviews with authors, book reviews, and expert insights, culminating in a livetime virtual discussion.
“As a part of the Smithsonian’s ongoing effort to usher in an Asian Pacific American canon, it’s only fitting that the BookDragon Book Club’s frontier title is Pioneer Girl,” says Adriel Luis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Curator of Digital and Emerging Media. “Bich Minh Nguyen’s novel is a classic for our new era – breaking narrative ground across race, gender, and generations.”
“I’ve been reviewing Asian American novels on my blog, and I know other bloggers are, as well,” says Grace Hwang Lynch, founder of the website HapaMama. “This is a way to pull together some of the different voices discussing Asian American literature.”
“We’re excited to host a vibrant conversation from diverse perspectives within the AAPI community,” says Terry Hong, who created the Smithsonian BookDragon blog in 2009.
On the first Tuesday of each month, the chosen title will be announced, featuring an adult, young adult, children’s, or graphic title from authors of diverse Asian Pacific American backgrounds. The inaugural book club in August will feature Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl, in which a young Vietnamese American woman, newly armed with an American Literature PhD, seeks answers to a multi-generational, cross-cultural, family mystery involving Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. Each Tuesday, new features will be unveiled on the BookDragon website, including reviews from bloggers, interviews and videos. The culminating live virtual discussion will take place every last Tuesday of each month.
Visit smithsonianapa.org and bookdragon.org throughout the month for updates, and follow #APABookClub on Twitter.