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Asian Pacific Immigrant Voices of California

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have made their homes here for many generations, transforming California into one of the most diverse and vibrant states in the nation. Discover some of their stories from the books on this list.

List created by the Linda Fernandes, Asian Pacific Resource Center Librarian (May 2016).

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

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Longtime Californ': A Documentary Study of an American Chinatown

History of San Francisco's Chinatown

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Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor

Terminal Island was the home of some 3000 Japanese American Families who worked for the fisheries. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the Japanese Americans were ordered to into internment camps.

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Desi Dreams: Indian Immigrant Women Build Lives Across Worlds

An Anthropologicial study on Indian immigrant women in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island 1910 -1940

Poetry carved into the wood of the barracks by Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island Immigration Station.

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Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora

Andrew Lam, son of a South Vietnamese General, came Northern California, after Saigon fell.

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Nothing Left in My Hands: The Issei of a Rural California Town, 1900 - 1942

Portrait of a first generation Japanese berry farmers in Pajaro Valley California.

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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong child, Her American Doctors, and the Collison of Two Cultures

A refugee family from Laos and a hospital in Merced, California clash over the care of a child with severe epilepsy.

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America is in the Heart: A Personal History

Carlos Bulosan came to America by sterrage at the age of 17. In California he harvested crops in Central California, worked in fisheries in San Pedro, and became a celebrated writer.

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History of the Okinawans in North America

Translation of Hokubei Okinawajin shi. Includes a history of the Okinawan Club of America as well as profiles of individuals.

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Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco

Primary sources-- a collection of oral histories, letters, testimonials and photos.

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Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America

Lee was born in 1900, she left Korea with her family and went first to Hawaii and then to Riverside, California.

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Bitter Melon: Stories from the Last Rural Chinese Town in America

In 1915 a group of Chinese immigrants built their own town called Locke in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. A collection of thirteen oral histories and photographs.

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Bridging the Centuries: History of the Chinese Americans in Southern California

From Santa Barbara to Mexicali, Los Angeles to Riverside -- a collection of essays covers the oldest Chinese settlements to the newers ones in the San Gabriel Valley.

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An Illustrated History of Samoans in California

Samoans started to arrive in California during the1950's, they faced the challenges of language, coping with a different physical enviromenment,and underemployment -- but found strength their communities and family.

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Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman

Tanaka was born in Japan in 1904 and came to San Francisco in 1923 with her husband. She picked asparagus in Stockton, pears in Walnut Grove, packed peaches in Marysville while raising 13 children and surviving interment camp.

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The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885- 1924

The first history of the Issei - or the first generation of Japanese Immigrants to the United States.

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Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California

Babalon's grandfathers, both native of Numancia, Aklan, arrived on the West Coast and settled in Stockton in 1929. Stockton's Little Manila was once the largest Filipino/a community in the United States.

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Yamato Colony: 1906 - 1960, Livingston, California

Yamato Colony was founded by Kyutaro Abiko a newspaper publisher from San Francisco, in hopes of starting a Japanese agricultural settlement in 1906.

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The House on Lemon Street: Japanese Pioneers and the American Dream

The story of how Jukichi Harada and his wife Ken, immigrants from Japan, bought a house in the names of their three American born children bypassing the California Alien Land Law which denied real estate ownership to non-citizens.

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Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans

The book's scope covers the United States, not just California -- it gives a sweeping blend of oral testimonies, narrative history, and personal recollections.