Bookshelf—Books published by our alumni.

Girl in Translation Book Cover

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, Girl in Translation is an inspiring debut about a young immigrant in America, a smart girl who, living a double life between school and sweatshop, understands that her family’s future is in her hands.

Mambo in Chinatown Book Cover

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok

From the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing. Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (American-born Chinese), Charlie’s entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her eleven-year-old sister, and works— miserably—as a dishwasher.

“But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlie’s natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed—something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. When Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds— eastern and western, old world and new—to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity.

Searching for Sylvie Lee

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes.

Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love.

But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.


Dishwasher Book Cover

Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States by Pete Jordan

Dishwasher is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of Pete Jordan’s transformation from itinerant seeker into “Dishwasher Pete” unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog and how he gave it all up for love.

In the City of Bikes Book Cover

In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Pete Jordan

Pete Jordan, author of the wildly popular Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States, is back with a memoir that tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city’s cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world today.


In the Name of Sarah Pogford Book Cover

In the Name of Sarah Pogford by Jon Jordan

Everyone knows Tucker Harding practically raised himself. They also know he’s brighter and more imaginative than his fellow students. What no one understands is why he’s now getting into fights, not keeping himself clean and having trouble communicating even with his old friends. Has puberty just finally set in, or is he becoming a danger to his fellow students?


Consumers, Tinkerers, Rebels Book Cover

Consumers, Tinkerers, Rebels: The People Who Shaped Europe (Making Europe) by Ruth Oldenziel and Mikael Hård

Who decided how Europeans have dressed and dwelled? Traveled and dined? Worked and played? Who, in fact, can be credited with the shaping of Europe?

Certainly inventors, engineers, and politicians played their parts. But in the making of Europe, consumers, tinkerers, and rebels were an unrecognized force – until now. In this book, historians Ruth Oldenziel and Mikael Hård spotlight the people who “made” Europe – by appropriating technology, protesting for and against it. Using examples from Britain and the Continent, the authors illustrate the conflicts that accompanied the modern technologies, from the sewing machine to the bicycle, the Barbie doll to the personal computer. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of how Europeans have lived – from the 1850s to the current century.


Beyond Good Intentions Book Cover

Beyond Good Intentions by Tori Hogan

Young and idealistic, Tori Hogan travels to Kenya as an intern for Save the Children, intent upon doing her part to improve the lives of refugees. But the cynicism of a young African boy changes Tori’s life and sets her on a course to reconsider everything she thought she knew about helping those in need.