Kanopy Spotlight: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Are you looking for the next film to watching during movie night? Your Livingston Public Library card offers you access to Kanopy, which gives you access to thousands of films from the comfort of home. This month Kanopy has a selection of films in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Tell us in the comments below what films you will be enjoying.

The Farewell

From Kanopy: In this funny, heartfelt story, Billi’s (Awkwafina) family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch–the only person that doesn’t know she only has a few weeks to live.

Golden Globe winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival.


From Kanopy: Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) lives with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin (John Cho), a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them.

Lucky Grandma

From Kanopy: In the heart of Chinatown, New York, an ornery, chain-smoking, newly widowed 80-year-old Grandma (Tsai Chin) is eager to live life as an independent woman, despite the worry of her family. When a local fortune teller (Wai Ching Ho) predicts a most auspicious day in her future, Grandma decides to head to the casino and goes all in, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck…suddenly attracting the attention of some local gangsters. Desperate to protect herself, Grandma employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang (Corey Ha) and soon finds herself right in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.

Director Sasie Sealy brings to life a dark comedy about immigrant life, the vulnerabilities of aging and an unexpected friendship. Set in alleyways underground mahjong parlors with a cast of richly drawn characters (including Taiwanese movie star Corey Ha), LUCKY GRANDMA is a love letter to Chinatown and an homage to all the badass elderly women who inhabit it.

Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded

From Kanopy: SLAYING THE DRAGON is a comprehensive look at media stereotypes of Asian and Asian American women since the silent era. From the racist use of white actors to portray Asians in early Hollywood films, through the success of Anna May Wong’s sinister dragon lady, to Suzie Wong and the ’50s geisha girls, to the Asian-American anchorwoman of today, this fascinating videotape shows how stereotypes of exoticism and docility have affected the perception of Asian-American women.

SLAYING THE DRAGON: RELOADED looks at the past 25 years of representation of Asian and Asian American women in U.S. visual media — from blockbuster films and network television to Asian American cinema and YouTube — to explore what’s changed, what’s been recycled, and what we can hope for in the future.

Meet the Patels

From Kanopy: In this real-life “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” an Indian-American man who is about to turn 30 gets help from his parents and extended family so he can start looking for a wife the traditional Indian way.

Slanted Screen

From Kanopy: From silent film star Sessue Hayakawa to Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle, THE SLANTED SCREEN explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles. The film presents a critical examination of Hollywood’s image-making machine, through a fascinating parade of 50 film clips spanning a century.

Winner of the Best Short Documentary award at the NY International Independent Film & Video film festival, THE SLANTED SCREEN envisions a new, exciting future in the entertainment industry, where the diversity of our culture and society is fully recognized and represented.

Forever Chinatown

From Kanopy: A documentary about unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth. This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day.

A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank’s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife.

Bad Rap

From Kanopy: This award-winning documentary follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into hip-hop culture, which often treats them as outsiders. Sharing dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, these artists are driven to make the most skeptical critics into believers.

Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival. Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The Grace Lee Project

From Kanopy: When award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. As an adult, however, she moved to New York and then California, where everyone she met seemed to know “another Grace Lee.” But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were nice, dutiful, piano-playing bookworms?

This refreshing film reveals the intriguing contradiction of the “Grace Lee” persona–simultaneously impressive and forgettable, special and generic, an emblem of a subculture and an individual who defies categorization. With wit and charm, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT challenges the cultural investments made in the idea of Grace Lee, all the while sending her a love letter.

Official Selection at the SXSW Film Festival. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Bitter Melon

From Kanopy: When a Filipino-American family reunites for a Christmas party, the holiday takes a dark turn when they conspire to murder the abusive bully of the family in this dark comedy by filmmaker H.P. Mendoza.

Best Narrative Feature winner at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Princess Kaiulani

From Kanopy: The true story of a Hawaiian princess’ attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.


From Kanopy: Gaysians is an exploration of family, immigration and language through the voices of five queer and trans Asian-Americans from New York City. The subjects share stories about their families, and in doing so, shed light on the complicated histories that have shaped these intimate and personal relationships. This moving short is an illuminating patchwork documentary exploring family and culture through the personal stories of a diverse panoply of LGBTQ individuals.

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Helpful Resources

Eating a well balanced and wholesome diet is important for our wellbeing and it can be done without digging a deep hole in our pockets. Especially in times of financial distress, it becomes more important to plan, shop for and prepare foods and meals in a budget wise manner.

As part of our “Wellness Wednesdays” series of programs offered in collaboration with The Department of Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS), a part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the topic of the session on May 5th at 11 am is “Healthy Eating on a Budget”, where you will learn ways to save while planning healthy meals for the entire family.  You can register for it here.

Listed below are some online resources, library materials and community resources that will also help.

Online resources and articles:

This video from Consumer Reports will help you shop smart for foods with health benefits


Save big bucks on your food shopping with this video from Consumer Reports



This link from the USDA’s website Choose My Plate offers useful tips like creating a grocery game plan, shopping smart and preparing easy healthy meals

Here is useful information on food planning during the pandemic



Books and Ebooks available with your Livingston Library card:

Affordable Paleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot : Quick  Clean Meals On a Budget by Jennifer Robbins

Robbins shows you how to use easy-to-find, less expensive ingredients to create amazingly flavorful, healthy meals in half the time with your Instant Pot® or other multifunction cooker. These recipes make healthy eating easy and attainable on any budget, any night of the week.

Cook Once, Eat All Week : 26 Weeks of Gluten-free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity by Cassy Joy Garcia

This book includes twenty-six weeks’ worth of dinners each centered around one protein, one vegetable, and one starch. From those basic components, Garcia shows you how to put together three varied and flavorful dishes that will seem anything but repetitive.

Cooking On A Budget: A Short Read on Simple Strategies & Solutions that Work for Saving Money & Eating Healthy: Eat Healthy & Save Money  by Ash Mahoney (Audiobook)

Are you thinking about eating healthy, but not sure how to save money? Would you like to begin healthy eating all while you budget like a pro? Then, Cooking on a Budget is for you!

Delicious Food On A Budget by Angela Oranye

A comprehensive book of recipes of divergent food designed to eat healthily on a budget.

Eating Well On a Budget : Amazing Meals For Less Than $3 a Serving by Jessie Price

This book shows you how to make nutritious dinners that everyone in the family will love and get them on the table quickly without spending more–in most instances–than $3 a person. It costs out the ingredients, tells readers how to get the most nutrition bang for their buck, and even shows them where to splurge and where to save.

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown

Created for people who have to watch every dollar—but particularly those living on the U.S. food stamp allotment of $4.00 a day—this is a cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes backed by ideas that will make everyone who uses it a better cook. The more than 100 recipes maximize every ingredient and teach economical cooking methods. Plus there are tips on shopping smartly and the minimal equipment needed to cook successfully.

How to Feed Yourself : 100 Fast, Cheap, and Reliable Recipes for Cooking When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing 

Offers healthy, simple, and affordable recipes for everyday meals, including such dishes as all-day breakfast tacos, curry chicken salad, beef chili ramen, loaded shrimp nachos, Mediterranean toast, easy fried rice, and bacon-wrapped dates.

Instant Loss On a Budget : Super-Affordable Recipes for the Health-Conscious Cook by Brittany Williams

As a busy mom of three, Brittany knows how important it is to create nutritious meals that will please the pickiest eaters without breaking your budget. Featuring 125 delicious, crowd-pleasing recipes that all cost less than $10 to make–most can be made for less than $5–this book is proof that wholesome food doesn’t have to be expensive.  

Jamie’s Food Revolution : Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals by Jamie Oliver

British chef Jamie’s approximately 100 recipes support his eat-better crusade by encouraging the trying of mix-and-matching ingredients, especially when fashioning the basics of, say, an omelet or a salad. 

100 Days of Real Food On a Budget : Simple Tips and Tasty Recipes To Help You Cut Out Processed Food Without Breaking The Bank by Lisa Leake

Leake shares practical secrets for saving money in the kitchen: learning to plan ahead, getting the best deals on staple items, knowing what to make versus what to buy, growing your own herbs, and even reducing waste — which is currently twenty percent of all food purchased. This full-color cookbook includes shopping lists and prices for each recipe.

Secrets of Great Second Meals : Flexible Modern Recipes That Value Time and Limit Waste by Sara Dickerman

Learn to cook smarter, save time and money and enjoy great meals crafted from leftovers in a practical and creative cookbook that teaches readers to plan and prepare great “second meals.” 

Simply Ming One-Pot Meals : Quick, Healthy & Affordable Recipes  by Ming Tsai & Arthur Boehm

Chef Tsai believes there are four basic needs in everyday cooking today: taste, healthfulness, simplicity, and affordability. So, in this groundbreaking cookbook, he tackles all four while offering 85 recipes for one-pot cooking.

Supermarket Healthy : Recipes and Know-How For Eating Well Without Spending a Lot by Melissa D’ Arabian

Food Network personality D’Arabian shows you how to make healthy meals for your whole family and still save lots of money and time, in a cookbook with 120 new dishes. 

Traditional Meals For the Frugal Family : Delicious, Nourishing Recipes For Less by Shannon Stonger

The recipes in this book are focused on unprocessed ingredients, pastured animal products and frugal foods that people have thrived on for generations.  Find tips and tricks for cutting down on costs while prioritizing nutrient density per dollar. Follow easy directions for sprouting or soaking grains and legumes to unlock their full nutritional value, then use them in yummy meals like A Better Kefir-Chia Soaked Granola or Soaked Gluten-Free Artisan Bread. Learn to tactfully utilize more expensive produce, with foolproof recipes like higher-protein, lower-cost Stretched-Out Guacamole. 

Vegan On a Budget : 125 Healthy, Wallet-fFriendly, Plant-Based Recipes by Nava Atlas

Enjoy plant-based dishes every meal, every day–even burgers, pizza, and pasta. AND do it on a budget! In addition to pennywise but irresistible recipes, Nava Atlas supplies an arsenal of money-saving tips ranging from plant-based protein bargains, buying in bulk, and safe non-organic produce to coupons, apps, and ready-made vegan sauces

Resources for Food Assistance

Community Food Bank of NJ


Hunger Free America


Meals on Wheels


NJ 211 Food Programs and Community Resources


NJ Snap (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian