100 Picture Books That Celebrate Asians and Asian Americans

Children's Picture Books That Celebrate Asians in Chinese and English

As a Chinese-Korean American family, we’re honored to share children’s picture books that celebrate Asians! Did you know that only 8.7% of children’s books published in the United States feature Asian main characters? In contrast, books with non-Asians and anthropomorphic animals are far more accessible.

Therefore, we need to amplify favorite stories that include Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Singaporean, Taiwanese, Tibetan, Thai, Vietnamese, and multiracial families.

Since we’re raising bilingual children, this list has English and/or Chinese versions when available. ISBN information is included to help you find picture books with Asian protagonists at your favorite library and bookstore!

Explore this: Where to Buy Chinese Children’s Books Online

Related: Where to Buy Korean Books for Kids in the United States

Children's Picture Books That Celebrate Asians in Chinese and English

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How these picture books about Asians are organized

In our bilingual home, we organize our large collection of Chinese language books by topic. On the other hand, we organize our smaller collection of English language picture books by color. Picture books about Asians are mostly mixed with other races!

However, in this post, I have categorized the books by ethnicity because:

  • Asia, the largest continent, includes a diverse variety of countries and cultures.
  • In 1968, Yuji Ichioka & Emma Gee coined the term “Asian American” to unite people of Asian ancestry for social justice. However, individual identities are often erased & blurred into harmful stereotypes (eg, model monority myth). Too often, we are generalized as a monolith, including in literature.
  • Most websites with “Asian book lists” mix us all together, including board, picture, and chapter books. It’s hard to know whether the authors of those websites have actually read those books or just pulled covers and descriptions from Amazon to earn affiliate income…
  • Since our kids have Chinese and Korean heritage, most of our books fall in these categories. However, you may want to jump to a different section and start with books that reflect your family or friends’ ethnicity.
  • Knowing general categories makes me aware of the representation and gaps in our home. In addition to @asianlitforkids on Instagram, I recommend following other Asian blogs that are authentic sources for other ethnicities (listed with the book recs). Feel free to chime in with your book recommendations and suggestions, too!

With that said, many of our experiences as immigrants overlap, and some books have ethnically ambiguous characters. When I read these stories with my children, patterns of nostalgia for family, food culture, language struggles, and racism stood out. In addition, connection with friends and family will be familiar to all.

What age and level are these picture books about Asians and Asian Americans?

These picture books with Asian characters are great for preschoolers to elementary school kids! I’ve taken photos of the inside of most books so you can see which reading level is most appropriate.

For reference, at the time of this review, my daughter is 7 years old and my son is 4 years old. However, I also learned so much by reading these picture books about Asians.

With younger kids, you can focus on illustrations and discuss observations. Even if your kids are reading chapter books like my daughter, you can explore deeper questions such as:

  • What emotions did the main character experience? How can you tell?
  • What would you have done if you were this person?
  • Do you think these biographical summaries are accurate? What information might be missing?
  • Are these stories realistic or portraying a stereotype?
  • What details and patterns do you notice with the text and illustrations?

Children’s picture books that celebrate Asians and Asian Americans in English

Picture books about Asian Americans Who Inspire Us by Analiza Quiroz Wolf and Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars Who Made America Amazing by Phil Amara

Asian Americans Who Inspire Us

Asian Americans Who Inspire Us by Analiza Quiroz Wolf

This collection of short biographies of Asian American trailblazers features Maya Lin, Kristi Yamaguchi, Yo-Yo Ma, Ellison Onizuka, Lisa and Laura Ling, Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, Duke Kahanamoku, Patsy Takumoto Mink, Tammy Duckworth, Sal Khan, Andrew Youn, David Ho, Margaret Chung, Grace Lin, and Haing Ngor. The large font and colorful illustrations are great for kids in Kindergarten and lower elementary grades, including my 7-year-old daughter. Note that these summaries lack dates, so inquisitive kids will likely want to more context.

  • Author: Analiza Quiroz Wolf
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781073718184

Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars Who Made America Amazing

Picture book about Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars Who Made America Amazing by Phil Amara

This is a chronologically organized anthology of a diverse array of Asian Americans, including Tyrus Wong, Bruce Lee, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mindy Kaling, Jeremy Lin, Lea Salonga, Steven Chu, Satya Nadella, David Chang, Yuri Kochiyama, Sammy Lee, Helen Zia, Chrissy Teigen, Dr. Jane Luu, Daniel K. Inouye, Dolly Gee, Shahid Khan, Victoria Manolo Draves, Sono Osato, and Flossie Wong-Staal. Given the length and detail of each biography, this would be most suitable for mid-to-upper elementary students and middle schoolers.

  • Authors: Phil Amara, Oliver Chin
  • Illustrator: Juan Calle
  • Publisher: Immedium
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781597021500

Picture books with Cambodian American protagonists

Cambodian Dancer

Cambodian Dancer by Daryn Reicherter - Asian picture books for kids

Based on a true story of a Cambodian refugee named Sophany Bay, this book looks into a life of a dancer and teacher who fled Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge. We learn about the joy she had in teaching and that the genocide of most Cambodians also included loss of dance and ancient temples.

When Sophany arrives to the US, she struggles to heal and feels that she and other children are like shadows without their home. Over time, she finds purpose in creating a Cambodian dance school and teaching young children.

Beautiful illustrations, and the back of the book includes a song written in Khmer language.

  • Author: Daryn Reicherter
  • Translator: Bophal Penh
  • Illustrator: Christy Hale
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780804845168

Picture books with Chinese and Taiwanese American protagonists

Chinese and Taiwanese American stories for kids - picture books about Asian people

Since we have the most amount of these books, please see this dedicated review post: 50 Picture Books About Chinese and Taiwanese Americans for Kids. Whether or not you are Chinese / Taiwanese, you’ll find great stories about life, food, family, science, culture, and trailblazers!

Picture books with Filipino American protagonists

Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore

Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore - children's picture book about Filipino American culture

Cora is thrilled to have a chance to help her Mama cook in the kitchen! She gets the honor of considering which favorite Filipino dish to cook, and decides to make a noodle dish. Through relatable experiences of fun with exploring and creating delicious food, we learn a few words in Tagalog as well as the special family bond. Really adore this book! This is an “own voices” book written by Filipina-Italian American author Dorina Lazo Gilmore.

  • Author: Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
  • Illustrator: Kristi Valiant
  • Publisher: Lee and Low Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781885008480

Journey for Justice – The Life of Larry Itliong

Journey for Justice - The Life of Larry Itliong - children's book about a Filipino American hero

This is a well-researched, detailed biographical picture book about Larry Itliong for older kids and even adults! We learn about Larry Itliong’s childhood and his immigration to the United States where he devotes his life to social justice and co-founds the United Farm Workers Union. Each page is accompanied by expressive, realistic illustrations.

  • Author: Dawn B. Mabalon, Gayle Romasanta
  • Illustrator: Andre Sibayan
  • Publisher: Bridge and Delta Publishing
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781732199323

On our to-read list:

When Lola Visits

  • Author: Michelle Sterling
  • Illustrator: Aaron Asis
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780062972859

All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids

  • Author: Gidget Roceles Jimenez
  • Illustrator: Corazon Dandan-Albano
  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780804848480

Filipino Celebrations: A Treasury of Feasts and Festivals

  • Author: Liana Romulo
  • Illustrator: Corazon Dandan-Albano
  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780804838214

Picture books with Hmong American protagonists

The Most Beautiful Thing

The Most Beautiful Thing, Written by @kaokaliayang, Illustrated by @khoa.le.artwork, Published by @lernerbooks

This incredibly stunning and heartwarming “own voices” book celebrates a little girl, Kalia, who is grounded by her strong and softhearted Hmong grandmother. The story begins with the child sharing how “nobody knows how old grandma is”. Kalia (and all of us readers) learn about grandma’s stories, experience, and wisdom through the intimate experience that family only understands – trimming grandma’s toenails: “I squeezed her feet in my arms and pulled them close to my heart, a hug for the hard road she’s walked to get to me.”

Although we are a different ethnicity from the protagonist, the story reminded me of my own grandmother who had few teeth and an estimated age. This wonderful story triggered memories that I could share with my children.

  • Author: Kao Kalia Yang
  • Illustrator: Khoa Le
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781541561915

Picture books with Korean American protagonists

Picture books for kids about Koreans and Korean Americans

To understand our children’s heritage, we also have 25 realistic picture books about Koreans and Korean Americans reviewed in detail here. Please be sure to check out this book for favorites, such as Rice from Heaven, Bee-Bim Bop, Paper Kingdom, and The Name Jar.

Related: Bullying Prevention Resources for Multilingual and Multicultural Kids

Books about Korean culture, festivals, Lunar New Year

Picture books about Asians - Korean Lunar New Year Books for Kids

Check out our 10 favorite Korean Lunar New Year books for kids in English and Korean in this post!

Picture books with Japanese American protagonists

Books by Allen Say

Allen Say is a Japanese American author and illustrator who has written several books based on his own family. His books came highly recommended by my Japanese American friend.

Tea with Milk

Tea with Milk by Allan Say - Japanese American picture book for kids

This story is about how author Allen Say’s own parents met! His mother, May, grows up in California with Japanese traditions at home and American customs outside of her house. When they move back to Japan, she struggles with the traditional culture and longs for America. Soon enough, she meets a man at work who understands her and they decide to create their own home together.

  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780547237473

Grandfather’s Journey

Grandfather's Journey by Allan Say - Japanese American picture book for kids

This Caldecott medal winner book is another personal tribute to Allen Say’s family. His illustrations capture emotions like old photographs, and we get a glimpse at his Grandparents balancing Japanese and American culture. Please note that this phrase “yellow men and red men” is used, but we should make it clear to our children that these descriptions are outdated and offensive. In addition, the Japanese child in the book has a blond and blue-eyed doll, the only option during this time in history. This can be a discussion point about diversity in toys.

  • Publisher: Sandpiper
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780547076805

The Piano Recital

The Piano Recital by Akiko Miyakoshi - children's story with Asian Japanese girl

This is a cute story about a girl, Momo, who’s nervous about her first piano recital. As she tries to reassure herself “I’ll be okay … I’ll be okay …”, she hears a little mouse saying the same words! Momo discovers a tiny theater with fancily-dressed mice performers; she keeps the little mouse company but then realizes she was the one performing all along!

  • Author & illustrator: Akiko Miyakoshi
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781525302572

Shark Lady

Shark Lady: How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating - picture book about Japanese Asian Women's History Month

Shark Lady is a favorite of both of my children! This science picture book celebrates Eugenie Clark, a Japanese-White American marine biologist who passionately studied sharks.

Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists.

Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

An inspiring story by critically acclaimed zoologist

On our to-read list:

All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids

  • Author: Willamarie Moore
  • Illustrator: Kazumi Wilds
  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9784805314401

A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

  • Author: Andrea D’Aquino
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781616898366

Baseball Saved Us

  • Author: Ken Mochizuki
  • Illustrator: Dom Lee
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781880000199

It Began With a Page

  • Author: Kyo Maclear
  • Illustrator: Julie Morstad
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780062447623

Picture books with South Asian protagonists

British Pakistani

马拉拉的神奇画笔 / 馬拉拉的魔法鉛筆 Malala’s Magic Pencil

马拉拉的神奇画笔 Malala's Magic Pencil - picture book about Pakistani South Asian protagonist
马拉拉的神奇画笔 / 馬拉拉的魔法鉛筆 Malala’s Magic Pencil

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai wrote this autobiographical story about the power of the human voice. She starts with a childhood memory about a TV show that inspired her to dream of a magic pencil. As she grows up, she realizes the magic is her own voice and bravery to speak and write for human rights. Of note, Malala alludes to the time she was shot by a Taliban gunman vaguely as: “My voice became so powerful that the dangerous men tried to silence me. But they failed.” Highly recommend along with Malala’s video introduction of her book!

  • Author: Malala Yousafzai
  • Illustrator: Kerascoët
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Where to buy:

Indian American

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris - picture book with South Asian (Indian) and Black American family

This picture book is based on a childhood memory of vice president Kamala Harris and her sister. While the family is South Asian (Indian) and Black American, the story focuses on the kids’ passion and perseverance for creating a lovely community play space!

  • Author: Meena Harris
  • Illustrator: Ana Ramírez González
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780062937407

Holi · Festival of Colors

Holi · Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishta Sehgal - Hindu South Asian Indian book for kids

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu holiday. This is a gorgeous book geared for preschoolers and Kindergartners, but the vibrant illustrations are attractive for myself! The story focuses on hos the Holi colors are made from natural flowers. Many of our close friends are Indian American, so this was a fun introduction to this festival!

  • Author: Kabir Sehgal and Surishta Sehgal
  • Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781481420495

Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali!

Let's Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! South Asian Indian American picture book for kids

This vivacious books gives an overview of Diwali India’s Festival of Lights. Told from the perspective of the children, Maya and Neel, we learn about family bonding, Dhanteras, Diwali sweets, Rangoli drawings, and fireworks!

  • Author: Ajanta Chakraborty
  • Illustrator: Vivek Kumar
  • Publisher: Bollywood Groove
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781945792052

On our to-read list:

A Gift for Amma

  • Author: Meera Sriram
  • Illustrator: Mariona Cabassa
  • Publisher: Barefoot Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781646860623

Always Anjali

  • Author: Sheetal Sheth
  • Illustrator: Jessica Blank
  • Publisher: Mango and Marigold Press
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781684019687

Hair Twins

  • Author: Raakhee Mirchandani
  • Illustrator: Holly Hatam
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780316495301

South Asian American family blogs:

Picture book with Tibetan protagonist

Seed of Compassion

Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama "own voices" picture book about Nobel Peace Prize Tibetan monk

This is a true “own voices” book written by the 14th Dalai Lama who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. However, he presents himself humbly in this autobiographical picture book as a regular child growing up in a small village in Tibet and credits his mother as his first great teacher of compassion. Realistic illustrations show the Dalai Lama in traditional Buddhist attire talking to racially diverse children (dressed in Western clothing) about the importance of kindness.

  • Author: His Holiness The Dalai Lama
  • Illustrator: Bao Luu
  • Publisher: Kokila
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780525555148

Picture books with Thai protagonists

Mela and the Elephant

Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk - Thai folktale for children

This adorable fable is about a girl, Mela, who explores the river outside her village but ends up lost when her boat ends up in a jungle. She asks for help from various animals and offers them a reward in return. However, they all take Mela’s reward without helping her. Finally, she meets an elephant who volunteers to help without asking for anything in return. Great message about true kindness and generosity.

  • Author: Dow Phumiruk
  • Illustrator: Ziyue Chen
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781585369980

Hush! A Thai Lullaby

Hush! A Thai Lullaby - picture book with Asian family; calming for bedtime story

This beautiful book is so calming and peaceful to read for bedtime! Through rhythmic repetition, a Thai mother asks various animals to hush because her baby is sleeping!

  • Author: Minfong Ho
  • Illustrator: Holly Meade
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780531071663

On our to-read list:

All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids

  • Author: Elaine Russell
  • Illustrator: Patcharee Meesukhon, Vinit Yeesman
  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780804844277

Picture books with Vietnamese American protagonists

A Different Pond

A Different Pond by Bao Phi - picture book about Asian Vietnamese family
  • Author: Bao Phi
  • Illustrator: Thi Bui
  • Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781623708030

Drawn Together

Drawn Together by Minh Lê picture book with Vietnamese American family  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

A young American boy and his Vietnamese grandfather have trouble communicating and connecting. Grandpa speaks only Vietnamese, while his grandson speaks English. They eat different foods. But one day, grandpa brings a sketchbook and the previously distant pair grow close by creating beautiful art “that even words can’t describe”. Gorgeous illustrations celebrate the relationship in this Vietnamese American family.

On our to-read list:

  • Author: Minh Lê
  • Illustrator: Dan Santat
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781484767603

All About Vietnam: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids

Available for pre-order! Anticipated release July 2021.

  • Author: Phuoc Thi Minh Tran
  • Illustrator: Dong Nguyen, Hop Thi Nguyen
  • Publisher: Tuttle
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780804846936

10 Khúc Đồng Dao 10 Nursery Rhymes from Vietnam

  • Author and illustrator: Tiny Wrist
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9798721248795

Vietnamese American blogs:

Picture books with children of diverse abilities

Lianne Ong books – A Place for Us series

Liane Ong picture books about children and adults with special needs - A Place for Us
A Place for Us series by Lianne Ong

A Place for Us is an encouraging series that centers people of all ages with diverse abilities. While the focus is on their struggles and successes rather than Asian culture, it brings awareness and compassion to a topic that is normally taboo in Asian culture. (Read my interview with Singaporean author, Lianne Ong, in this post).

  • Author: Lianne Ong
  • Illustrator: Nicolas Liem
  • Publisher: Armour Publishing
  • Where to buy:

A Friend for Henry

A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey - picture book about an Asian boy with Autism spectrum disorder

This endearing book is from the perspective of an east-Asian appearing boy named Henry who is trying to make friends. Social discussions are challenging for Henry to decode, and it takes time for him to find a friend (Katie) who is compatible with his rules. While his diagnosis isn’t explicitly mentioned in the book, the story was inspired by the author’s son who has autism spectrum disorder. (Read interview with author Jenn Bailey on the Los Angeles Public Library Website.)

  • Author: Jenn Bailey
  • Illustrator: Mika Song
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9781452167916

Gracie’s Ears

Gracie's Ears - picture book about Chinese Asian adopted child with hearing loss

Inspired by her adoptive daughter, author Debbie Blackington, shares this story about a girl, Gracie, who is getting hearing aids. Once Gracie gets her hearing device, she is excited about all of the sounds, and her family and friends were happy for her. While this book is lauded for getting kids excited about hearing amplification, please note that it does n persons in the Deaf community prefer no hearing devices.

  • Author and illustrator: Debbie Blackington
  • Publisher: Pebbleton Press
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780976001119

Related: Living with Hearing Loss and Becoming a Bilingual Audiologist and Mom

Picture books with multiracial Asian children

In the most recently published Pew Research data, 17% of newlyweds (670,000 people) “entered into a marriage with someone of a different race or ethnicity” in 2015. However, very few picture books with mixed race Asian families exist.

The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say -  Picture book about a mixed race Asian Japanese / Caucasian family.

As mentioned earlier, Allen Say is a well-known Japanese American author who writes many stories about his family. This story is about his biracial Japanese-White daughter, Yuriko, who’s classmates make fun of her name. Even the teacher accidentally calls her “Eureka!” When she wants to rename herself “Michelle”, ther father patiently listens and guides her through this difficult time.

  • Author and illustrator: Allen Say
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780545176620

Let’s Go on a Hike! 我们去远足吧!我們去遠足吧!

Let's Go on a Hike! 我们去远足吧!我們去遠足吧! Picture book about a mixed race Asian / Caucasian family.

This cute rhyming picture book features a little boy who enjoys a hike with his Asian mom and White dad!

  • Author: Katrina Liu
  • Illustrator: Heru Setiawan
  • Where to buy:

You Were the First

We got this book just before my second child was born! It’s a beautiful ode to the firstborn, a reminder that they are loved so much even with new younger siblings around. In this picture book, the mother appears Asian while the father is white-passing.

  • Author: Patricia MacLachlan
  • Illustrator: Stephanie Graegin
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780316185332

Nine Months

Chinese-American author Jason Chin is known for his science-based books, including Nine Months which has true-to-life-sized embryo/fetus pictures! The illustrations are incredibly stunning and detailed, and the science facts are satisfying for curious kids, including my preschool-aged son and 2nd grade daughter. The family in the story is based on the author’s brother’s family: Chinese American father and Mexican American mother. In the beginning of the story, the family of 3 is sitting on a bed reading a book titled “Hola!”, and I really appreciate these multicultural details!

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

As mentioned above, this picture book is based on true experiences of vice president Kamala Harris and her sister. While the family is South Asian (Indian) and Black American, the story focuses on the kids’ passion and perseverance for creating a lovely community play space!

  • Author: Meena Harris
  • Illustrator: Ana Ramírez González
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • Where to buy / English ISBN: 9780062937407

For black/white families, please check out these helpful books about families preparing for new siblings and 米可 Chinese books about potty training, new baby, and school. To aspiring authors reading this post, please consider featuring stories about multiracial families!

Children’s picture books that celebrate Asians in Chinese

Finding interesting and relatable picture books about Asians by native Chinese / Taiwanese authors has been a challenge. Culturally, fables, comics, and anthropomorphic stories have been the most common in Chinese culture. For Chinese books with realistic Asian protagonists, we have been reading translated Japanese books.

100 Picture books for kids that celebrate Asians!

What other favorite picture books with Asian characters do you recommend?

If you end up reading this book, let me know what you think in the comments below!

We’d love to hear about your learning experience and if you agree or disagree with our review! What other books do you recommend?

Happy reading, friends!

18 Comments

  1. Thank you! What a great list! I also recommend The Day I Woke Up Different by Andy Nguyen. It’s about a Vietnamese boy who discovers the contrasting differences between western school life and his traditional home life.

  2. Ahh I’m so excited about this list! There are a few on here that we’ve read — Holi: Festival of Colors, Bee-Bim Bop, The Name Jar, Dear Juno, and Cora Cooks Pancit. But most are new to me. I am excited about: Eyes that Kiss in the Corner, The Invisible Boy, and Let’s Go on A Hike!

  3. Some books recs from me:

    Japanese Protagonists
    Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth
    The Sound of Silence by Julia Kuo and Katrina Goldsaito

    Chinese Protagonists
    Two Bicycles in Beijing by Teresa Robeson

    Afghani Protagonists
    The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman
    Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
    Four Feet Two Sandals by Karen Williams and Khadra Mohammed

    Nepalese
    I, Doko: The Tale of a Basket by Ed Young

    Bengali
    Grandma and the Great Gourd by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

    Indian
    Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal
    Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji By F. Zia
    Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (graphic novel – upper el)

    Pakistani
    Laila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz
    Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan (I LOVE this one and Hena Khan’s books tend to be quite lovely + beautifully illustrated)

    Hope you enjoy if you get a chance to read!

    1. This is amazing, Leticia!! Heartfelt thank you for taking the time to share these recommendations. I’m so excited to explore these with my kids!! 😀

  4. This is the list that I have been looking for! I remember growing up and having no options when choosing a Barbie that could represent me. Whenever I played Archie comics with my friends, I’d always be Veronica because she had black hair. It’s so nice to finally be represented more in books and movies. I am so happy my daughter will have more available to her than what I felt I had growing up. We’ve entered your contest in instagram! My daughter would love Shark Lady and Queen of Physics! We love the inspiring stories! Also would love to see stories where the hero is Asian, but she’s the hero because of who she is, not just because of her race, if that makes sense?

  5. Thank you for your thorough review! I loved gifting Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao to the daughter of my childhood friend who is Chinese-food historian and cookbook writer and I Dream of PoPo to my nephew who lives across the country from my mom (his grandma) and me. I’m always buying social-emotional intelligence books for my son because that’s the most important thing to learn in life, so any books with Asian American (specifically Chinese or Filipino!) protagonists would be a must-buy for our library.

  6. Thanks for the recommendations! It’s helpful to have book titles to search for at the library!

    My current recommendation: My cousin recently sent me this book from Taiwan about Chinese New Year: 好棒的農曆新年. It has zhuyin and a rhyming English translation. It’s a board book that has moving/pull out parts, which makes it really fun for my 1.5 yr old!

  7. Great book suggestions! Would love to check these out someday and hopefully it will be available in our local library too for diversity! Would love to see more books that shows more the culture and traveling so it would feel like you’re there too and maybe when there’s no more pandemic and be able to visit places mentioned in the book so the LOs able to connect more. Always looking forward to all your book suggestions! ❤️👍🏻

  8. Thanks for compiling such a great list! I have always wonder how to make my child be proud of their origin at a young age. Love the book about lunar new year celebration!

    Love to see more activities ideas on the blog/IG! I have been saving many of them on my list☺️

  9. This is a really thoughtful and comprehensive listing that you put together! It’s always incredible to see books on inspiring Asians, but love that you’ve incorporated books with Taiwanese (as well as Korean and Philippino) protagonists as well. My parents are from Taiwan, so the country and of course the Chinese language will always be something I treasure as an adult. I didn’t always appreciate my heritage as a child but now that I have a better understanding I hope that one day my children will have the same heart for learning Chinese ♥️

  10. Betty, first of all, thank you so much for all the time, effort and hard work you put into posts like this, content you create, and your over arching projects championing diversity in children’s resources – such an inspiration!

    To spotlight only a couple out of the amazing books here you’ve recommended, Eyes That Kiss in The Corners by Joanna Ho, and A Different Pond by Bao Phi (as well as Bao’s many amazing works of beautiful diasporic poetry) are two of my favourite children’s books. I am a second generation Chinese-Canadian and both my parents and their families were a part of the hundreds of thousands of refugee boat people who fled Vietnam in the late 1970s. I remember crying when I first read Eyes That Kiss in The Corners – not long ago, because it touched me so deeply and really hit a nail on the head of the sort of representation in books, specifically when I was younger that I didn’t have access to.

    As I grow older, I am excited to see more diversity and growth in this area of children’s education because I think it is so so incredibly important, and hope to be able to share and teach my future children. A topic I am looking forward to seeing more content on is kid-friendly history. Specifically around the Vietnam war, the refugees that fled, and hardships and sacrifices that so many families endured.

    You are an inspiration, and I am wishing you the absolute best on your continued journey of sharing and creating this incredibly important work!

  11. Our favorite right now is Bee-Bim Bop! We are working on learning new words, and this book really got my son excited to actually try to say words because he loves food. We’ve read it probably 50 times now. I love that there is rhyming and one syllable words that are easy for him to try to say. We are starting to look at other books too, like Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, and I Found It! Thank you for sharing this amazing list. I can’t wait to share these with my son!

  12. Hi Betty!
    Thank you for such an amazing collection of books. We have some of these ourselves and I would love to see more books that have Asian characters but do not focus on a specifically Asian experience. Perhaps, some Asian Christian literature for kids? Or Asian books that teach about character growth.
    Thanks again for the inspo, I’ll be diving into some of those history choices because I’m a former history teacher about to have my 3rd child and I would love to teach my kids about amazing individuals they would never have a chance to learn about in school.

    1. I would also say my recent favorite are Eyes that kiss in the Corners and I dream of Popo. We got both for the kids as Easter gifts and they both touch on issues that they can relate to and understand but written in a simple way, as well as illustrated beautifully.

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