For immediate release | January 23, 2012

Waldman, Chang, Shang, Thompson and Young win 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature

DALLAS – The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) has selected “The Submission,” written by Amy Waldman; “The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking,” written by Ying-Ying Chang; “The Great Wall of Lucy Wu,” written by Wendy Wan-Long Shang; “Orchards,” written by Holly Thompson; and “The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China,” written by Ed Young as recipients for its 2012 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The awards were announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 20-24 in Dallas, and will be presented during the ALA Annual Conference, held June 21-26 in Anaheim.

The Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature honor and recognize individual works about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage with exceptional literary and artistic merit. The awards are given in five categories, including Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction, Children’s Literature, Young Adult Literature and Picture Book.

“The Submission,” written by Amy Waldman and published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux won the Adult Fiction award.

Amy Waldman imagines the fallout when a Muslim American of Indian descent, Mohammad “Mo” Khan, wins an anonymous competition for a 9/11 memorial just two years after the World Trade Center tragedy. Waldman treats her large ensemble of characters with understanding and sympathy. Through the experiences of two very different Asian American, Muslim characters—disenfranchised and privileged, immigrant and second generation—“The Submission” interrogates the definition of America.

“Leche,” written by R. Zamora Linmark and published by Coffee House Press was selected as the Honor Book in the Adult Fiction category.

“The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking - A Memoir,” written by Ying-Ying Chang and published by Pegasus won the Adult Non-Fiction award.

Ying-Ying Chang had the unfortunate task of writing her own daughter’s memoir after her tragic death. This moving memoir takes the reader into the world of Iris Chang, journalist and author of “The Rape of Nanking” (Basic Books, 1997), following her childhood imagination, creative writing, triumphs, motherhood, depression and suicide. Ying-Ying Chang did what she thought was important; to share the story of Iris’s illustrious as well as obscure life, which makes for a touching and poignant tribute to her daughter.

“The Bangladeshi Diaspora in the United States after 9/11: From Obscurity to High Visibility,” written by Shafiqur Rahman and published by LFB Scholarly Publishing, LLC was selected as the Honor Book in the Adult Non-Fiction category.

“The Great Wall of Lucy Wu,” written by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and published by Scholastic won the Children’s Literature award.

Twelve-year old Lucy is going to have the best year yet: she will be a sixth grader, be the captain of her basketball team and have a bedroom all to herself. Her plans change, however, when her Yi Po (great aunt) visits from China and Lucy has to share her room with Yi Po for a few months. This is a hilarious first children’s book for Shang, with a serious undertone as she explores the complexities of racial identity in a Chinese-American family with traditional parents and American-born children.

“Vanished,” written by Sheela Chari and published by Hyperion was selected as the Honor Book in the Children’s Literature Category.

“Orchards,” written by Holly Thompson and published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers won the Young Adult Literature award.

Kanako Goldberg wants nothing more than to spend the summer with her friends in New York, but the loss of her classmate Ruth changes everything, and her parents believe that the best thing for Kanako to do is to be shipped off to her grandparents’ mikan orange farm in Shizuoka, Japan. Written entirely in verse, Kana’s intimate narrative captures the reader as she not only grapples with the death of a friend, but also navigating a place that is not entirely familiar, even if it is a part of her.

“Level Up,” written by Gene Luen Yang and published by First Second Books was selected as the Honor Book in the Young Adult Literature category.

The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China,” writtenby Ed Young and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers won the Picture Book award.

Fragments of artist Ed Young’s childhood are gathered in this memoir, displayed in a variety of hand drawn images, paintings and collages of cut paper and personal photographs. While addressing the issues of World War II and their effect on China, much emphasis is placed on warm vignettes of small, personal moments that all readers can relate to.

“Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji,” written by F. Zia, illustrated by Ken Min and published by Lee & Low Books was selected as the Honor Book in the Picture Book category.

Special thanks to the APALA Literature Awards Committee, including Jury Chair Dora Ho; Adult Fiction Chair Michelle Baildon and members Suhasini L. Kumar, Karen Fernandez, Eileen Bosch and Jerry Dear; Adult Non-Fiction Chair Buenaventura “Ven” Basco and members Eugenia Beh, Samanthi Hewakapuge, Monica Shin and Yumi Ohira; Children’s Literature Chair Ngoc-Yen Tran and members Shu-Hsien Chen, Tamiye T. Meehan, Laksamee Putnam, Katrina Nye and Maria Pontillas; Young Adult Literature Chair Lana Adlawan and members Jade Alburo, Lessa Pelayo-Lozada, Karla Lucht and Candice A. Mack and Picture Book Chair Susan Hoang and members Jeannie Chen, Kate Vo-Thi Beard, Amber Painter and Danielle Date Kaprelian.

An affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) was founded in 1980 by librarians of diverse Asian/Pacific ancestries committed to working together toward a common goal: to create an organization that would address the needs of Asian/Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian/Pacific American communities. For more information about APALA, visit


John Amundsen

Program Officer, Outreach and Communications

Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)

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