December reading list

This time of year, everyone is scrambling to find the perfect gift. Luckily for you, we’ve got your back! From stories you can share with your kids to current cultural phenomena, we’ve got some unique books for your holiday gift giving.

1. Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call Hamilton: The Musical one of the most talked about and influential musicals in recent memory. It inspired its audience and sparked a discussion about the importance of diverse storytelling.

This beautifully published volume holds the entire award-winning script and provides an exclusive look behind the scenes. Including full-color photographs, detailed interviews, and Lin-Manuel’s own revealing footnotes, Hamilton: The Revolution provides a look at the development of this award-winning musical.

2. When the Sea Turned to Silver – Grace Lin

Pinmei and the other children of her village have grown up on her grandmother’s exciting tales. But the stories end the night the Emperor’s soldiers come and kidnap the storyteller. Determined to get her grandmother back, Pinmei seeks the one thing she knows the Emperor wants more than anything: the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Along with a mysterious boy named Yishan, Pinmei searches for the Luminous Stone and finds herself facing obstacles found only in her grandmother’s stories.

This U.S. National Book Award Finalist is a fast-paced and beautifully illustrated story of adventure and legend for both the young and old. Best of all, it has two companion novels set in the same universe, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

3. Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History – Sam Maggs

According to author Sam Maggs, who happens to be the best-selling author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy as well, “Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit.”

In this anthology of biographies, meet an allied spy, the woman who revolutionized Chinese textiles, the German painter and scientist who set out on the world’s first scientific expedition, and so many more. Whether for an experienced reader or a young girl looking for role-models, Wonder Women is a fun, feminist read for this holiday season.

4. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly – Sun-mi Hwang

Heralded as a Korean Charlotte’s Web or Animal Farm, this is the story of a hen called Sprout who dreams of escaping the routine of her barnyard life and explore life in the wild.

Whether you’re sharing this with your kids or reading it for yourself, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a brilliant example of a spirited heroine who rebels against tradition, who wants to see beyond the barnyard walls. It’s a tale about freedom, individuality, and motherhood and a unique window into Korean society, through the lens of engaging animal characters. With all the layers and analogies, it’s still pretty fun bestseller sold more than 2 milion copies.

5. Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

The bright new face of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah had a dubious beginning: he was born to a white father and black mother when South Africa’s apartheid made their union criminal. Born a Crime is a compelling look at the life of a man: a childhood hidden out of sight, an unconventional yet loving mother, and the restlessness of a young man trying to figure out his place in a world where he was never meant to exist.

Much like in his comedy, Trevor Noah writes with an honest voice that is at times humorous, at other serious and introspective. He shares an intimate look at the world that shaped him and made him the powerful advocate for diversity and acceptance that he is today.

6. The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

Natasha is practical and fact-driven. She’s definitely not the kind of girl who meets a boy on a busy New York street and falls in love, especially not when her family is facing deportation back to Jamaica. She doesn’t believe in destiny.

Daniel, on the other hand, believes that meeting Natasha is fate. Why else would he feel this way? Normally the good, obedient son to his strict Korean parents, Daniel convinces Natasha to join him for a single day and dreams that their meeting could change everything.

From a superstar of young adult fiction, The Sun is Also a Star is a novel that everyone is talking about!

7. Serpentine – Cindy Pon

In Serpentine, Cindy Pon brings us the first novel in her epic young adult fantasy series and introduces us to Skybright, a young woman with an increasing feeling that she does not belong.

By day, Skybright is a companion and handmaid to one of the wealthiest families in the Kingdom of Xia. But at night, Skybright notices a darkness in herself that has been growing ever since her sixteenth birthday. And as she begins to fall in love for the first time, Skybright must struggle to regain her sense of self even when it becomes hers is a dark destiny.

8. How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity – Patricia Carlin

Not all reading has to be serious, especially in holiday season. Sometimes, when you’re having a bad day, you just want something to make you smile.

Look no further than How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity. Part entrepreneurial guide (capitalize on your kitty!), part chicken soup for the cat lover’s soul, this is a feel good read. It has business plans, guidelines for grooming and the perfect viral video, and, most importantly, adorable and hilarious cat photos. The perfect gift for any cat lover, this will make you laugh out loud and love your feline friend even more than you already do (if that’s even possible!).

If you want more gift ideas for book lovers, check our April Bookshop and take a pick!

April Editors

Actual Voice of Asian Women ❤︎
April Magazine is an online magazine for East & South East Asian Women in the World. We empower Asian women, one voice at a time.

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