Resources:  Books

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This list has been pre-screened. Books in this color were highly recommended by KAAN conference attendees.  Contact Us with additions or corrections.

A Busy Day at Mr. Kang's Grocery Store  by Alice Flanagan    Full of photographs; describes Mr. Kang's daily work at his grocery store.

A Cab Called Reliable  by Patti Kim    Ahn Joo Cho emigrated from Korea to Virginia when she was seven. Two years later, a cab called reliable takes away her mother and infant brother forever. Over the years, Ahn Joo excels at writing while her home life with her old-fashioned father deteriorates. A heart-breaking secret finally sets her free to create her own heritage.

A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China  by Chris Winston    Part memoir, part parenting guide, this book shares how a mother worked to meet her children's needs and, in doing so, birthed a new kind of community.

A Gesture Life  by Chang-Rae Lee    As he did in his debut (Native Speaker), the author explores the dilemma of being an outsider. First, as a native-born Korean, protagonist Franklin Hata bends over backwards to fit into Japanese culture, circa 1944. Then he attempts a similar bit of environmental adaptation in postwar America--more specifically, in the slumbering New York suburb of Bedley Run. But in neither case does he quite succeed, which gives the novel its peculiar, faltering sense of tragedy.

A Ghost at Heart's Edge  by Susan Ito and Tina Cervin (editors)    Fifty short stories and poems reveal the sometimes heartbreaking, often affirming tales of adoption. Written from the point of view of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees, this unique anthology spans nations and cultures. Includes authors Alison Lurie, Isabel Allende, Sandra McPherson, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Louise Erdrich, Chitra Divakaruni, and Lynna Williams.

A Kid's Guide to Asian-American History  by Valerie Petrillo    More than 70 activities including eleven based in Korean culture.

A Person of Interest  by Susan Choi    An Asian-American professor is suspected of terrorism and murder when a colleague is killed. He receives a letter leading him to suspect the true culprit is an old nemesis seeking revenge.

A Ricepaper Airplane  by Gary Pak   A dying man envisions a ricepaper airplane that would carry him back to his Korean homeland and to his wife and children.

A Single Square Picture: A Korean Adoptee's Search for Her Roots  by Katy Robinson    What a beautifully shared story! Kim Ji-yun (Katy) left Korea to be adopted in the United States at the age of seven, and returns as a married 28-year-old to rediscover the family and roots she can hardly remember.

A Step from Heaven  by Ah Na    A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America. Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in Literature.

A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems  by Janet S. Wong   Perceptive, touching, and often amusing poems about the author's Korean, Chinese, and American heritage and her family.

Adopted from Asia: How It Feels to Grow Up in America  by Frances M. Koh    Collection of rich personal stories of eleven adopted Korean-born children.

Aekyung's Dream  by Min Paek    A girl (whose family recently emigrated from Korea) is able to adjust to her new life after learning of the dream of a Korean cultural figure.

After the Morning Calm: Reflections of Korean Adoptees  by Dr. Sook Wilkinson and Nancy Fox, editors    Essays written by Korean adoptees that include photos and brief bios of each writer.

Allison  by Allen Say   A red kimono triggers realization that Allison does not look like her parents. She is upset but works through her feelings with the help of a stray cat.

American Eyes: New Asian-American Short Stories for Young Adults  by Lori M. Chrison   

Are These Kids Yours? American Families with Children Adopted from Other Countries  by Cheri Register    Author discusses issues related to parenting an adoptive child in a caring, thorough manner. If you read only one or two adoption books, make this one a priority.

Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People  by Helen Zia    Discusses the transformation of Asian Americans from a few, small, disconnected ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society.

Because I Loved You: A Birthmother's View of Open Adoption  by Patricia Dischler    Memoir written by a birthmother who chose open adoption for her son in 1985.

Behind the Mask  by Yangsook Choi    A Korean-American boy goes through a trunk of his grandfather's things in search of a good Halloween costume idea, uncovering a valuable piece of family and cultural history.