The following list of books may be of interest to parents and youth of Asian descent. Some are specifically about Asian American families while others speak generally about youth development. We do not endorse or have any intention of promoting any particular book. We also do not endorse any particular ideas contained in the books below. Rather, we suggest that you consider reading multiple perspectives. For instance, if you choose to read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, we suggest you also read The Hybrid Tiger, which was written in response to the former. Reading both will provide contrasting viewpoints and experiences. Summaries of the books below are taken from Amazon.com.
The Hybrid Tiger: Secrets of the Extraordinary Success of Asian-American Kids by Quanyu Huang
Why do Asian and Asian-American students consistently perform so well on standardized tests? Why are students of Asian descent disproportionately admitted to America’s top colleges? This informative and entertainingly written comparison of educational methods in America and China answers these questions and more, while assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each culture’s distinctly different education systems. Education expert Quanyu Huang notes that both Asian and Asian American students excel early on at mastering lesson material and test-taking, whereas many of their non-Asian American peers do not perform as well. The author also points out that American students generally demonstrate far more creativity and independence than students in China, where conformity and rote learning are emphasized. This is evident from the American record of award-winning innovations and discoveries. By contrast, the Chinese educational system has not yet produced a Nobel Prize winner in science.
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
Home Bound: Filipino American Lives across Cultures, Communities, and Countries by Yen Le Espiritu
Filipino Americans, who experience life in the United States as immigrants, colonized nationals, and racial minorities, have been little studied, though they are one of our largest immigrant groups. Based on her in-depth interviews with more than one hundred Filipinos in San Diego, California, Yen Le Espiritu investigates how Filipino women and men are transformed through the experience of migration, and how they in turn remake the social world around them. Her sensitive analysis reveals that Filipino Americans confront U.S. domestic racism and global power structures by living transnational lives that are shaped as much by literal and symbolic ties to the Philippines as they are by social, economic, and political realities in the United States.
Espiritu deftly weaves vivid first-person narratives with larger social and historical contexts as she discovers the meaning of home, community, gender, and intergenerational relations among Filipinos. Among other topics, she explores the ways that female sexuality is defined in contradistinction to American mores and shows how this process becomes a way of opposing racial subjugation in this country. She also examines how Filipinos have integrated themselves into the American workplace and looks closely at the effects of colonialism.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Interpreter of Maladies is a book collection of nine short stories by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri published in 1999. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in the year 2000 and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. It was also chosen as The New Yorker's Best Debut of the Year and is on Oprah Winfrey's Top Ten Book List. The stories are about the lives of Indians and Indian
Americans who are caught between the culture they have inherited and the "New World."
"A Temporary Matter"
"When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine"
"Interpreter of Maladies"
"A Real Durwan"
"This Blessed House"
"The Treatment of Bibi Haldar"
"The Third and Final Continent"
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ignited a global parenting debate with its story of one mother’s journey in strict parenting. Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children’s individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way – and the remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking results her choice inspires. Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is one of the most talked-about books of our times.
Family Tightrope by Nazli Kibria
In recent years, the popular media has described Vietnamese Americans as the quintessential American immigrant success story, attributing their accomplishments to the values they learn in the traditional, stable, hierarchical confines of their family. Questioning the accuracy of such family portrayals, Nazli Kibria draws on in-depth interviews and participant observation with Vietnamese immigrants in Philadelphia to show how they construct their family lives in response to the social and economic challenges posed by migration and resettlement. To a surprising extent, the "traditional" family unit rarely exists, and its hierarchical organization has been greatly altered.