During the same week that the House of Representatives joined the Senate in unanimously passing a resolution expressing regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which until its repeal in 1943, prevented the immigration and naturalization of people of Chinese origin; the same week that the Pew Research Center released a much debated study on the growing role and relevance of Asian Americans in the U.S.; the same week that Asian Pacific Americans across the country participated in nationwide town hall revisiting the 30th anniversary of the tragic death of Vincent Chin, the young man who became a victim of violence when he appeared to be “Japanese”; and the same week that America celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, a resolution named after the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress, Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink, and widely known as Title IX – the Library of Congress (LOC) released its list of “Books That Shaped America,” a list of 88 books that the LOC recommended as a starting point for a conversation about books written by Americans that shaped our lives.
With help from our BookDragon blogger, Terry Hong, we decided to join the conversation and offer a list of 53 influential authors from Asian Pacific America. She created two lists for us—pioneers and contemporary writers—the list of pioneers is below. Who do you think should be on the list, contemporary, pioneer or otherwise? Discuss your thoughts on our BookDragon Facebook page. Finally, we know that our list is far from comprehensive nor is it a register of the “best” writers. The list is a humble starting point. It is intended to join a national conversation about books that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list, or not.