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Asian American Experiences & Anti-Racism Resources

Contributed to by Anne, Cristina, and Heather

The Deerfield Public Library stands with the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) in its recent statement condemning ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes that have permeated our country over the past year. Our Library strives to be a place of safety, inclusion, and diversity. We work to provide a respectful and welcoming space for civic discourse and the expression of diverse voices. As information professionals, we strive to curate resources that represent diverse experiences. Our staff has put together a list of resources highlighting Asian American authors, Asian American experiences, and anti-rascism.

Get Recommendations for Adults and Youth: Books, Movies, TV, Audio


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel featuring three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in popular culture.

Bright Lines (e-audio only) by Tanwi Nandini Islam follows a Bangladeshi American family as they navigate life in a gentrifying Brooklyn. 

Exhalation by Ted Chiang is a short story anthology by the author of the short story that influenced the movie Arrival. Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth—What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?—and ones that no one else has even imagined. 

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem (e-book and e-audio only) by Paula Williams Madison follows her quest to discover her family’s origins in the Chinese immigrant communities of Jamaica all the way to a village in China. 

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu tells the story of two men who become friends through rebelling against tyranny and then turn against each other in defense of irreconcilable ideals. Liu, prolific science fiction and fantasy author, sets this tale in a unique fantasy world.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu features Willis Wu, a man who considers himself a bit player, even in his own life.  After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today’s America. 

The Leavers by Lisa Ko is a complex portrait of a boy born to an undocumented Chinese immigrant mother, and their complicated family life.  

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. 

Lucky by Henry Chang is a mystery featuring NYPD detective Jack Yu that involves crime and community in New York’s Chinatown. Chang, who was born and raised and still lives in New York’s Chinatown, recreates his community with loving detail. 

New Super-Man: Made in China (e-book only) by Gene Luen Yang starts with an impulsive act of heroism that thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. 

Night Sky With Exit Wounds (e-book only) by Ocean Vuong is a collection of poetry by the best-selling novelist and essayist. 

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee presents a comprehensive overview of the arrival of Asians in America, what brought them here, and how their many communities have evolved.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong is a collection of essays about the nuances of the Asian American experience. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born–a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam–and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. 

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen follows a Viet Cong agent as he spies on a South Vietnamese army general and his compatriots as they start a new life in 1975 Los Angeles.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu is a near-future trilogy by one of China’s most beloved science fiction authors. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang is a humorous tale of a Chinese American family that had it all and lost it and the road trip they take across America that binds them back together. 

Other Media 

#AsianAmCovidStories is a YouTube documentary series covering Asian American experiences and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Big Sick (DVD & BluRay) features Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail who connects with grad student Emily after a standup set. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing.

The Chinese Exclusion Act is a PBS Documentary that aired as part of the Asian American Experience series and looks at the history of the first immigration ban in American history. 

The Farewell (DVD & BluRay) follows Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi as she reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself.

Fresh Off the Boat (Seasons 1-4) is a comedy TV series that follows an Asian American family through their move from DC’s Chinatown to Orlando, Florida. 

Minding the Gap follows documentarian Bing Liu as he uses 12 years of footage to weave a story of skateboarding, friendship, and fathers and sons into a coming-of-age journey of courageous vulnerability.

The Mindy Project (Seasons 1-4) is a comedy TV show about Mindy, a single OB/GYN who wants her life to be like a romantic comedy but just can’t find the right leading man. As she attempts to balance her unpredictable workplace with some truly offbeat dating situations, Mindy soon discovers that the prescription for happiness is filled with comical side effects.

Parasite (DVD & BluRay) is an award-winning thriller from Korea. Kim Ki-teak’s family are all unemployed and living in a squalid basement. When his son gets a tutoring job at the lavish home of the Park family, the Kim family’s luck changes. One by one they gradually infiltrate the wealthy Park’s home, attempting to take over their affluent lifestyle.

Self Evident: Asian Americans Stories is a podcast that aims to challenge the narratives that exist about Asian Americans. You can listen through the site or subscribe anywhere podcasts are available. 

Children’s and Teen books about the Asian American experience

Picture Books for kids ages 0-6

Chapter books for kids ages 7-12

Teens, ages 13-18


More Ways to Get Involved

If you are looking for a more proactive way to get involved in stopping anti-Asian racism, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago is putting on Bystander Intervention Training during the month of April. It is being held virtually and will teach strategies to help keep communities safe against racial harassment and hate. Hollaback also does virtual bystander intervention training and has been recommended by the Chicago chapter of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 

In addition to Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Chicago Chapter, The Chicago Community Trust Asian Giving Circle works locally to contribute to nonprofit organizations serving Asian American residents of metropolitan Chicago. Consider donating to either of these or one of the many other organizations that work nationwide for Asian American communities and causes. New York Magazine has a round-up of 61 such organizations. See below for more Chicago organizations that work with and advocate for Asian Americans. 

Learn more about anti-Asian discrimination and violence.

Report Violence and Harassment

Organizations Working in Chicago:

If you are seeking specific recommendations, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. The easiest way to get in touch is to email us at or chat with us by clicking “Question? Ask a librarian!” in the bottom right corner of every page of our website. 

Though the most well-known incident of racism in Deerfield’s past did not directly involve the Asian American community, we invite community members to share your perspectives, reflections, and stories during this moment in history. Insights will become part of the Library’s local history archives as we continue to reflect on the Fight to Integrate Deerfield and document resources related to racism and antiracism, past and present.

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