New Releases by AAPI Authors

Every year during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I try to target one AAPI book that I can sit down and read. While I work at the Texas Book Festival, I actually rarely have time to sit down and read and my usual go-to books are cookbooks and graphic novels. So May feels like a special month to me, where I can say I read this book and I feel more connected to my Asian culture. Last year my book of choice was Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Hong Park, which I would highly recommend. It takes quite a bit of research for me to pick a book for May, so I thought I would share my shortlist as well as the book that I eventually chose for this month’s required reading.

Land of Big Numbers: Stories by Te-Ping Chen

Land of Big Numbers: Stories by Te-Ping Chen

This is a collection of short stories about people in China that weave realism and magical realism and explores how people deal with the struggles of making a name for themselves and climbing the social ladder. The subjects of each story are unique and fascinating, from the differences of how twins choose different paths in life to a group of people who are awaiting official permission to leave a subway platform. The latter was the story that drew me in initially, as a big fan of Samuel Beckett, my senior project in college being a theatrical production of Endgame. Buy the book here.

Klara and the Sun


Klara and the Sun
by Kazuo Ishiguro

Written by Nobel Prize in Literature winner Kazuo Ishiguro, this book is a story of Klara, an artificial intelligence friend that is waiting for the day that someone chooses them from the store. Klara observes the world outside from inside the store and tries to explore the meaning of what is love. I was interested in this book because of the similarities to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Buy the book here.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Lila has arrived home after a terrible breakup and she is tasked to help her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant. She has to deal with all of her aunties trying to set her up with new beaus and their criticism of her love life. When one particularly harsh restaurant critic, who is also her ex-boyfriend, drops dead after a moment of confrontation, her life turns from a story of romantic comedy tropes to a murder mystery. When the police are suspecting Lila as the murderer, she decides to start searching for answers on her own. I was drawn to this book for the murder mystery elements with some Asian flair, with Lila’s auntie network helping her figure out the case. It has serious Knives Out vibes that I love to see unfold. Buy the book.

Bestiary by K Ming Chang

Bestiary by K Ming Chang

When Mother tells Daughter about a tiger spirit that lives in a woman’s body, she shrugs it off as an old folk tale and goes to bed, only to find that she has grown a tiger tail overnight. This is the start of several events that are unusual and odd, like her aunt arrives with a snake in her belly and a hole in the backyard the spits up old letters from her grandmother. When Daughter meets Ben, a neighborhood girl with her own powers, they start to read the old letters to uncover why things are happening. This was a 2020 fall book that drew my attention because of how much I love Asian folklore and allegories. Buy the book.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

This book ended up being my pick because it felt like something I could relate to, which is crying in H Mart, a Korean supermarket (which has a store here in Austin). I cry in H Mart for different reasons than this author, but Michelle Zauner’s memoir really hits home with being an outsider in America and in her “mother” country of Korea. This memoir explores grief and coming into her own identity while trying to bridge two cultures, which resonated with me. I’ll be honest that Chapter 4 had me bawling my eyes out as I am still dealing with the grief of my father’s passing, but it is a worthwhile book that deserves its best-seller status. Buy the book.

 

Reads for International Women’s Day

Authors featured in the cover photo: Yaa Gyasi, Jam Sanitchat, and Valeria Luiselli

To commemorate International Women’s Day we have rounded up some great books by female authors that have come to our Festival in the past. Their voices carry a unique perspective that we celebrate here at the Texas Book Festival.

Valeria Luiselli (@ValeriaLuiselli)
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. She is the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and an American Book Award, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kirkus Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney’s, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She attended the 2014 Texas Book Festival with her book, Faces in the Crowd.
Buy the book here.

Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She attended the 2020 Texas Book Festival with her book Transcendent Kingdom.
Buy the book here.

Julia Alvarez (@writerjalvarez)
Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer in residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling. Most recently Julia Alvarez attended the 2020 Texas Book Festival with her book, Afterlife.
Buy the book here.

Anika Fajardo (@anikawriter)
Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. She is the author of a book about that experience, Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family, which was awarded Best Book (Nonfiction) of 2020 from City Pages and was a finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Book Award. She is the author of the middle-grade novel What If a Fish, a 2021 finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. What If a Fish was featured in the 2020 Texas Book Festival.
Buy the book here.

Agustina Bazterrica (@AgusBazterrica)
Agustina Bazterrica is an Argentinian novelist and short story writer. She is a central figure in the Buenos Aires literary scene. She has received several awards for her writing, most notably the prestigious Premio Clarin Novela for her second novel, Tender Is the Flesh. Tender Is the Flesh was featured at the 2020 Texas Book Festival.
Buy the book here.

Jam Sanitchat (@thaifresh)
Born and raised in Thailand, Jam Sanitchat hails from a family of skilled cooks. She learned the craft from her grandmothers and mother beginning at the age of five. Jam moved to the United States to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Texas, then fell in love with Austin and the local food culture. She has fed the community ever since–through her farmers market stand, her cooking classes, and her popular restaurant, Thai Fresh. Her dairy-free ice cream parlor, Gati opened in 2020. Thai Fresh (the cookbook) was featured at the 2020 Texas Book Festival.
Buy the book here.

Ibi Zoboi (@ibizoboi)
Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her YA novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and her debut middle grade novel, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, was a New York Times bestseller. She is the author of Pride, a contemporary YA remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and editor of the anthology, Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. Her most recent bestseller, Punching the Air, is a YA novel-in-verse, co-authored by prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. Raised in New York City, Ibi now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich was a featured title at the 2019 Texas Book Festival.
Buy the book here.

Einat Admony (@chefeinat)
Einat Admony is the author of Balaboosta and chef/owner of New York City’s popular Balaboosta, Kish-Kash, and Taïm restaurants, which have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and New York magazine, among many other newspapers, magazines, and websites. When Admony is not at her restaurants, she can be found at her home in Brooklyn, cooking for the crowd of family and friends who regularly gather around her dining table. Her book, Shuk, was featured at the 2019 Texas Book Festival.
Buy the book here.

Additional Resources:
International Women’s Day Website

A Conversation with Justin Deabler

For our March book club pick, TBF Literary Director Matt Patin will be chatting with native Houstonian Justin Deabler about his first book, Lone Stars. Grab your copy and register today for our discussion on Thursday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Zoom details will be sent to participants closer to the event. Please email bookfest@texasbookfestival with any questions.


“Lone Stars is a multigenerational story, told with sincerity, heart and a profound understanding of what it means to grow up in a community where being homosexual is considered perverse. It’s also a novel about secrets, and not just those pertaining to sexual identity.” – Carol Memmott, Washington Post

2021 book club picks:

February: Memorial by Bryan Washington

January: Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han

2020 book club picks:

December: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

November: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

October: Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

September: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

August: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

July: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

June: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

May: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

April: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

March: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

February: You and I Eat the Same edited by Chris Ying

January: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

 

Watch Bryan Washington on Facebook Live

UPDATE: If you were not able to join us for the Memorial discussion earlier this week, here is Bryan Washington’s panel at the 2020 Texas Book Festival.


For our February book club pick, we will be leading a live discussion while we watch Bryan Washington at the 2020 Texas Book Festival on Facebook Live! Our Communications and Marketing Coordinator Ke’ara Hunt will moderate the conversation about Memorial in the Texas Book Festival Book Club Facebook group. The discussion will take place on Tuesday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. CT. Purchase your copy of Memorial today and come with your questions to chat with us.


Bryan Washington is from Houston, and Memorial is his first novel. He was a featured author during the 2020 Festival for Memorial, which is has been optioned for a television series. Washington came to the Texas Book Festival in 2019 with his collection of short stories, Lot.

Join the TBF Book Club Facebook group to participate and stay tuned for more book recommendations and monthly picks!

2021 book club picks:

January: Nights When Nothing Happened by Simon Han

2020 book club picks:

December: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

November: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

October: Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

September: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

August: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

July: The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

June: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

May: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

April: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

March: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

February: You and I Eat the Same edited by Chris Ying

January: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

Literature Live Around the World: A Global Virtual Lit Confab

Join a conversation with author Dave Eggers and TBF 2007 featured author Vendela Vida on Friday, February 12 as they discuss writing and activism via a conversation with our friends at the Bay Area Book Festival. This year, with support from literary festivals from around the country, the BABF is representing the USA as part of Lit Bergen’s (Norway) twelve-nation Literature Live Around the World (LLAW) series.

The series is entirely free, broadcasts on YouTube, and lasts for twelve whole hours beginning at 5:00 a.m. Central Time. A full schedule can be found here, and Bay Area’s Eggers/Vida session, which begins at 2:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, February 12 can be found here. The full program livestream on YouTube can be found here, and sessions from all twelve nations will be available for rewatch beginning 24 hours after the live broadcast and through February 22. 

Black History and Presence

During Black History Month, we want to not only remember Black history and literary classics but also recognize Black authors and storytellers today. Throughout the month we will be sharing special content that celebrates Black authors, literature, and culture in Texas and beyond.

This month, we’re looking forward to sharing cookbook recs, poetry, and community events — there may even be some Instagram takeovers on the horizon! While it may not be possible to feature the entire wealth of Black art in our community, this is a chance to introduce a few Black authors and storytellers, and, hopefully, open the door for readers to discover many more.

If there’s a Black author, past or present, that you would like the TBF community to know about, take a moment to share over on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages. If you’re interested in kicking off your reading this month with a Texas author and TBF alum, check out Bryan Washington’s Memorial, our February Book Club pick.

RHCB Art School Live at TBF!

Random House Children’s Books invites parents, teachers, and their young artists to join bestselling illustrators and graphic novelists for an hour of non-stop fun! Learn how to draw fearless knights and superhero cats, challenge illustrators to draw something crazy, and ask them your silliest questions. Rewatch now on Crowdcast!

Practice your own artwork with this RHCB Activity Kit and Sampler!

Enter to win a RHCB Art School Swag Bag!

You could win a Random House Children’s Books prize pack! Enter by submitting an illustration/drawing/post on Instagram and using #RHCBArtSchool and tagging @RandomHouseKids and @rhkidsgraphic with permission from a parent or legal guardian over the age of 18 years old. All the rules are details are HERE!

Don’t forget to buy these books from BookPeople! 

 

TTBF and Barrio Writers Workshop Registration

Texas Teen Book Festival and Barrio Writers are teaming up to offer a free writing workshop during Festival weekend! Taking place on Saturday, October 31, at 1 p.m., this hour-long virtual workshop, youth writers will explore blackout or erasure poetry and how it can be used to express a poetic message across cultural and historical contexts. They will use a topical article about the pandemic to create their own blackout poems and reflect on their experiences during the current times.

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to sharpen your writing. If you’re interested, register here!

Lit Crawl with Desert Door

Even though we can’t be together this year at Lit Crawl, we will still gather around our authors, poets, and storytellers through the 2020 Lit Crawl Austin…virtually!

To help make this a special event, our friends at Desert Door will provice a Camp Mocha cocktail kit for the first 200 people who register for Literary Death Match and the Typewriter Tarot Brunch.

Register for Literary Death Match!

Register for Typewriter Tarot Brunch!

Cocktail pickup will take place on Saturday, November 7 from 12-5pm outside the Texas Book Festival office: 1023 Springdale Road, Building 14, Suite B, Austin, Texas 78721. All recipients must be 21 years of age or older, and we will check IDs. Please wear your mask! We will also have sparkling water from Rambler Sparkling Water.

Desert Door Texas Sotol is a distilled spirit from wild-harvested sotol plants and hand-crated in Driftwood, Texas. Desert Door is happy to provice Camp Mochas and additional goodies for attendees of the Literary Death Match and Typewriter Tarot Lit Crawl events.

Lit Crawl Austin is presented by Texas Monthly

Random House Children’s Books at the 2020 Virtual TBF!

 

 

 

Don’t miss RHCB Art School LIVE at the Virtual Texas Book Festival on Wednesday, November 11th at 11 AM CST!

 

Sign up here!

Random House Children’s Books invites parents, teachers, and their young artists to join bestselling illustrators and graphic novelists for an hour of non-stop fun! Learn how to draw fearless knights and superhero cats, challenge illustrators to draw something crazy, and ask them your silliest questions. Register now on Crowdcast!

GIVEAWAYS: All art students will receive a FREE downloadable activity pack and FREE digital sneak peek of six graphic novels for kids. All you need to do is register on Crowdcast and we’ll email all of this to you right before the event starts! You can even submit your own illustrations for a chance to win a deluxe RHCB Art School Prize Pack that includes Random House Graphic tote bags, enamel pins, coloring pencils, books, and more. School is in session and all we’re missing is…you!

Meet the Teacher Illustrators and our Host: John Gallagher (Max Meow: Cat Crusader), Lincoln F. Peirce (Max & the Midknights), Stephanie Yue (Katie the Catsitter), and Colleen VF Venable (Katie the Catsitter, moderator)

All of these awesome illustrators’ and authors’ books are available for purchase at BookPeople here! RHCB and BookPeople are teaming up to offer fun book swag with the purchase of any of the listed titles, like a lanyard, chapter sampler pack, or temporary tattoo sheet!

Download your own copy of the Random House Graphics Middle Grade Sampler here! RH Graphics Sampler

Join our Parents newsletter for age-specific book recommendations, engaging printable activities, and news about the latest children’s titles! Sign up for the Parents newsletter here!

 

Love Graphic Novels? Sign up for the RH Graphic newsletter to hear about the latest fantastic stories, get a behind-the-scenes peek at their creation, activities, giveaways, and more! Sign up for the RH Graphic newsletter here!

 

Download our free Kids Virtual Pass for fun interactive activities here! Complete 5 bookish activities and you’ll get a special prize pack from the Texas Book Festival! To download the Pass in Spanish, click here!

 

Learn more about our authors and illustrators!

John Gallagher is the art director of the National Wildlife Federation’s “Ranger Rick” magazine and has been drawing comics since he was five (John learned to read through comics and went on to earn the distinction of reading every book in his elementary school library!). John is also the cofounder of “Kids Love Comics” (an organization devoted to using graphic novels to promote literacy) and leads workshops teaching kids how to create their own comics. John lives in Virginia with his wife and their three kids. Visit him at MaxMeow.Com, on twitter @johnBGallagher, on facebook @MaxMeowCatCrusader and on instagram @johngallagher_cartoonist.

Lincoln Peirce is a New York Times bestselling author and cartoonist. His comic strip Big Nate appears in over 400 newspapers worldwide and online at gocomics.com/bignate. In 2010, he began a series of illustrated novels based on the strip, introducing Nate and his classmates and teachers to a new generation of young readers. In the past seven years, sixteen million Big Nate books have been sold. The New York Times bestselling Max and the Midknights originated as an unfinished spoof of sword and sorcery tales. Returning to the idea years later, Lincoln rewrote the story around Max, a ten-year-old apprentice troubadour who dreams of becoming a knight. When he is not writing or drawing, Lincoln enjoys playing ice hockey, doing crossword puzzles, and hosting a weekly radio show devoted to vintage country music. He and his wife, Jessica, have two children and live in Portland, Maine

Colleen AF Venable is the author of the National Book Award Nominated graphic novel Kiss #8 and is making her middle grade debut with Katie the Catsitter. Colleen is a lifetime comic fan and has designed numerous award winning graphic novels at First-Second books. She’s also is an avid rollerskater, animal rescuer, and once started a national holiday (true story). Colleen lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two pet rabbits. (photo credit: Amber Harrison)

 

Stephanie Yue grew up in Atlanta, Beijing, and Hong Kong. She’s a lifetime comic fan and martial artist (with a black belt in Kung Fu) and travels the world by motorbike. Stephanie was the colorist for the megahit, industry changing, Smile by Raina Telgemeier and Katie is her debut as a middle grade graphic novel illustrator. Stephanie currently divides her time between Boston and Hong Kong, where she’s working on the second Katie. Visit her online at http://stephanieyue.com and on twitter @quezzie.com. (photo credit: Timothy Wade Jr.)