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Asian Americans: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about Asian Americans?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Asian Americans. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Asian Americans.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about Asian Americans, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Moving Day to popular sellers like Inside Out and Back Again to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Gauntlet.

We hope this list of kids books about Asian Americans can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Asian Americans

The Gauntlet book
#1
The Gauntlet
Written by Karuna Riazi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube, they know it is up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas book
#2
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim & illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

Danbi Leads the School Parade book
#3
Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Our Favorite Day book
#4
Our Favorite Day
Written & illustrated by Joowon Oh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Charmingly detailed illustrations help tell a touching tale of the bond between grandparent and grandchild in a quiet yet powerful debut. “Thursdays are my favorite days.” “Mine, too.” Every morning Papa follows his normal routine. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up, and takes the bus into town. Papa enjoys his daily tasks, but there’s one day each week that is extra special. That’s the day he might visit the craft store, get two orders of dumplings to go, and possibly pick some flowers he sees along the path. With its spare text and wonderfully warm watercolor and cut-paper illustrations just begging to be pored over, Joowon Oh’s tale of the singular love between a grandfather and granddaughter will nestle within the heart of every reader.

The Dancing Dragon book
#5
The Dancing Dragon
Written by Marcia K. Vaughan & illustrated by Stanley Wong Hoo Foon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A rhyming story that describes a typical Chinese New Year celebration.

Bilal Cooks Daal book
#6
Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed & illustrated by Anoosha Syed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does? This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.

Sam and the Lucky Money book
#7
Sam and the Lucky Money
Written by Karen Chin & illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-hwa Hu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sam must decide how to spend the lucky money he’s received for Chinese New Year.

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom book
#8
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Rebecca Huang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

Grandpa Grumps book
#9
Grandpa Grumps
Written by Katrina Moore & illustrated by Xindi Yan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!

Duck for Turkey Day book
#10
Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Asian Americans and...

Books About Asian Americans and China

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim & illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

The Dancing Dragon
Written by Marcia K. Vaughan & illustrated by Stanley Wong Hoo Foon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A rhyming story that describes a typical Chinese New Year celebration.

The Runaway Rice Cake
Written by Ying Chang Compestine & illustrated by Tungwai Chau
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It’s the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year’s rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. “Ai yo! I don’t think so!” it cries, coming to life and escaping. Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da’s family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs’ generosity doesn’t go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them. Ying Chang Compestine’s heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau’s soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bringing in the New Year - A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year, in a book that includes endnotes discussing the customs and traditions of the Chinese New Year.

  2. Dim Sum for Everyone! - A Chinese American family sits down to enjoy a traditional dim sum meal. Dumplings, cakes, buns, and tarts are wheeled out in little dishes on trolleys, and each family member gets to choose a favorite treat! Lin’s bold and gloriously patterned artwork is a feast for the eyes. Her story is simple and tailor-made for reading aloud to young children, and she includes an informative author’s note for parents, teachers, and children who want to learn more about the origins and practice of dim sum.

  3. The Shadow in the Moon - Join two sisters as they listen to their grandmother tell the tale of the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Hou Yi, a brave archer, saves the world from drought and is given a magic potion for his deeds. Chang’e, his wife, courageously protects the potion from a thief and is transformed into the Lady in the Moon. This is a tale of sweethearts, mooncakes, and how the Mid-Autumn Festival came to be.

Want to see books about China?

Books About Asian Americans and Multigenerational

Our Favorite Day
Written & illustrated by Joowon Oh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Charmingly detailed illustrations help tell a touching tale of the bond between grandparent and grandchild in a quiet yet powerful debut. “Thursdays are my favorite days.” “Mine, too.” Every morning Papa follows his normal routine. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up, and takes the bus into town. Papa enjoys his daily tasks, but there’s one day each week that is extra special. That’s the day he might visit the craft store, get two orders of dumplings to go, and possibly pick some flowers he sees along the path. With its spare text and wonderfully warm watercolor and cut-paper illustrations just begging to be pored over, Joowon Oh’s tale of the singular love between a grandfather and granddaughter will nestle within the heart of every reader.

Grandpa Grumps
Written by Katrina Moore & illustrated by Xindi Yan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Piece of Home - “When Hee Jun’s family moves from Korea to West Virginia, he struggles to adjust to his new home. His eyes are not big and round like his classmates, and he can’t understand anything the teacher says, even when she speaks s-l-o-w-l-y and loudly at him. As he lies in bed at night, the sky seems smaller and darker. But little by little Hee Jun begins to learn English words and make friends on the playground. And one day he is invited to a classmate’s house, where he sees a flower he knows from his garden in Korea, “mugunghwa,” or Rose of Sharon, as his friend tells him and Hee Jun is happy to bring a shoot to his grandmother to plant a “piece of home” in their new garden.”—Provided by publisher.

  2. Leila in Saffron - A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me. When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like. Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

  3. Popo's Lucky Chinese New Year - When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.

  4. Take Me Out to the Yakyu - You may know that baseball is the Great American Pastime, but did you know that it is also a beloved sport in Japan? Come along with one little boy and his grandfathers, one in America and one in Japan, as he learns about baseball and its rich, varying cultural traditions. This debut picture book from Aaron Meshon is a home run—don’t be surprised if the vivid illustrations and energetic text leave you shouting, “LET’S PLAY YAKYU!”

Books About Asian Americans and Immigration And Emigration

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written & illustrated by Anna Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet Danbi, the new girl at school!

Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Inside Out and Back Again - Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

  2. Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland - Will Chee-Kee ever fit in? The Loo family has traveled very far to start a new life. For little Chee-Kee Loo, everything is strange—he looks and feels so different. But when some bears find themselves in a jam, Chee-Kee might be just the right panda to save the day. In this heartfelt and lovable story, meet Chee-Kee the panda, a one-of-a-kind in all the best ways.

  3. Hannah Is My Name - “Based on her own immigration story, Yang’s offering is a winner — a spot-on depiction of the immigration experience in America.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS It’s a long way from Taiwan to San Francisco, but Hannah’s family has made the journey because they want to make America their home. In America, Baba tells his daughter, people are free to say what they think, and children can grow up to be whatever they choose. As Hannah takes a new name, starts a new school, learns a new language, and adjusts to a new way of life, they all wait — and hope — for the arrival of the green cards that will assure they are finally home to stay.

  4. Krista Kim-Bap - Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

Books About Asian Americans and Multicultural

Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed & illustrated by Anoosha Syed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does? This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The beloved Cilla Lee-Jenkins returns for a third book in this middle-grade series about family, heritage, and overcoming great obstacles through love.

Pricilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins has already written a “Bestseller” and a “Classic”—now it’s time for her to write an Epic Story. Epics are all about brave heroes overcoming Struggles to save the world, and this year, Cilla is facing her toughest struggles yet:

· Cilla is in fifth grade and, unlike her classmates, not at all ready to start middle school. · She has two younger sisters to look after now and they don’t exactly get along. · Her beloved grandfather YeYe has had a stroke and forgotten his English, and it’s up to Cilla to help him find his words again.

With humor, heart, and her mighty pen, Cilla Lee-Jenkins will use her powers to vanquish every foe (the mean girls in her class), help every citizen (especially Ye Ye), and save the world.

Katie Woo's Neighborhood
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Laura Zarrin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her community. But it’s not just the parks, stores, and services that make the neighborhood great—it’s the all of the people who build the community and make it work. With every new neighbor Katie meets, she’s inspired to find new ways to be an awesome neighbor herself!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh - Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from happy sunny yellow to courageous red. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?

  2. Karma Khullar's Mustache - In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

  3. The Year of the Book - This fully illustrated chapter book follows Anna, a young Asian-American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.

  4. Boo, Katie Woo! - Disappointed that her monster costume does not frighten anyone, Katie Woo still finds a way to have a happy Halloween.

Books About Asian Americans and Girls And Women

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Written by Teresa Robeson & illustrated by Rebecca Huang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: Romance, Adventure, and plenty of Drama like Cilla s struggles to be more Chinese, be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva s wedding, and learn how to share her best friend.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire
Written by Susan Tan & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir include: - How she dealt with being bald until she was five - How she overcame her struggles with reading - How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:

    • How she dealt with being bald until she was five
    • How she overcame her struggles with reading
    • How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different
    Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

  2. Nina Soni, Former Best Friend - The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends. Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery—and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita’s birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of. Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth’s endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.

  3. Katie's Happy Mother's Day - When Katie’s mother feels unwell on the day before Mother’s Day, Katie wants to do everything she can think of to help her mother get well—but she forgot to get a present.

  4. Julie Black Belt - The long-anticipated sequel is here! In this second story, Julie continues her lessons, but she also learns the importance of friendship and the right attitude. Julie proudly wears her yellow belt and is eager to attain her next rank: orange! Inspired by the movie star Brandy Wu, Julie now meets a new kid in her class…but is he better than her? Julie grapples with unexpected challenges but another mentor enters the picture too. With some wise and helpful advice, can Julie earn her own Belt of Fire? - - - “My daughter was happy to see this as she too is a little ball of energy and there aren’t many English books with Asian girl characters like her! The comic book style fits well with the high energy character and Chua’s illustrations are great fun. We can’t wait for the next Julie Black Belt book!” - Perogies & Gyoza

Books About Asian Americans and Holidays

Katie Saves Thanksgiving
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When a snowstorm causes the power to go out, Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie manages to save the day. Simultaneous.

My First Chinese New Year
Written & illustrated by Karen Katz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz’s warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!

Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The second heartfelt story of friendship and sisterhood in this charming new chapter book series, starring a Japanese-American girl! It’s a big weekend for Jasmine Toguchi! She’s excited to celebrate Girl’s Day—a Japanese holiday honoring women and girls—with her sister, mother, and best friend, Linnie. On Friday after school, Linnie comes over to plan their outfits for the Girl’s Day celebrations. And Jasmine’s neighbor, Mrs. Reese, lets them search through her old clothes for the perfect accessories. But the clothes are in her dark garage, which is kind of scary. And Linnie decides to go home early, which is kind of weird. And Jasmine’s big sister, Sophie, doesn’t seem to want to join in the Girl’s Day fun this year, which is kind of confusing. WHAT is going on? As her big weekend plans start to unravel, Jasmine must use her sleuthing skills to spot the clues around her—and within herself. Then maybe, just maybe, she can put everything back in order before Girl’s Day is over!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Katie Saves the Earth - With Earth Day coming up, Katie decides to have a yard sale with her friends and recycle her old toys.

  2. Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune - A delightful debut about two sisters with big dreams provides a charming introduction to the doljabi, a Korean first birthday tradition. Twig’s first birthday is coming up, and her whole family — especially her older sister, Hazel — is eager to see what she will choose at her doljabi. Whatever item Twig chooses will tell her fortune: Will she pick a hammer and grow up to be a builder? Will she pick a lute and grow up to be a musician? Hazel is hoping that Twig will choose the yarn, just like she did when she was Twig’s age. When the big day arrives and Twig makes an unexpected choice, will Hazel be able to help figure out what the future might hold for her little sister? Sweet, serious Hazel and the adorable Twig are certain to win the hearts of readers, who will long to enter their cozy woodland world.

Books About Asian Americans and Pakistani Americans

Bounce Back
Written by Hena Khan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the third book in an exciting chapter book series about a scrawny fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Zayd has a plan. He’s ready to take the reins as team captain of the Gold Team. But when an injury leaves him on the sidelines, his plans get derailed. Can Zayd learn what it means to be a leader if he’s not the one calling the shots?

Yasmin the Builder
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

As their makerspace project the students in Yasmin’s second grade class are building a city: there are houses, a school, a church, even a castle, but Yasmin is not sure what to build—until inspiration strikes.

Yasmin the Fashionista
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

While her parents are out to dinner, a bored Yasmin decides to try on some of her mother’s clothes, including her new shalwar kameez, which gets ripped—but with the help of Nana, Nani, and a glue-gun, the garment gets fixed, and Yasmin puts on an impromptu fashion show when her parents get home.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Yasmin the Painter - Unsure about her artistic skills, second-grader Yasmin is not looking forward to the art competition at school—but with the support and encouragement of her family she produces a prize-winning painting.

  2. Power Forward - From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way. For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together. His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore. As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.

  3. Yasmin the Explorer - When Yasmin’s father explains to her about explorers and maps, Yasmin decides to make a map of her neighborhood and she brings it along on a trip to the farmers’ market with her mother—but will the map help her when they are separated?

  4. On Point - From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the second book in an exciting new chapter book series about a scrawny fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Now that Zayd has made the Gold Team, he’s hustling hard and loving every minute of the season. But when team starts to struggle, Zayd can’t help wondering if it has something to do with him. Even worse, his best friend Adam suddenly starts acting like he doesn’t care about basketball anymore, even though they are finally teammates. He stops playing basketball with Zayd at recess and starts hanging out with other kids. Then, Adam up and quits the Gold Team to play football instead. While his uncle’s wedding preparations turn life into a circus at home, Zayd is left on his own to figure things out. He has to decide how to still be friends with Adam and step up to fill the empty shoes he left on the court. Does Zayd have what it takes to be on point and lead his team back to victory?

Books About Asian Americans and Japan

Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Book four in this charming chapter book series, starring a spunky Japanese- American heroine. Jasmine’s best friend, Linnie, has just gotten a puppy. And now Jasmine wants a pet of her own—a flamingo! So when her grandmother sends Jasmine a daruma doll as a surprise gift, Jasmine colors in one doll eye and wishes for a flamingo to keep. Next, Jasmine tries to convince her parents that she’s responsible enough for a pet. She cleans her room, brushes her teeth, takes out the trash, and, most importantly, researches everything she can about flamingos. But soon it becomes clear that her wish may never come true! Will Jasmine’s daruma doll ever get its second eye? Luckily her big sister, Sophie, has a surprise planned that fulfills Jasmine’s wish beyond her wildest dreams. Debbi Michiko Florence is at her best in this sweet, special story of sisterhood and new responsibilities!

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Written by Chieri Uegaki & illustrated by Qin Leng
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though sheÍs only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfatherÍs words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.

Barbed Wire Baseball
Written by Marissa Moss & illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Traces the childhood dream of Japanese-American baseball pioneer Kenichi Zenimura of playing professionally and his family’s struggles in a World War II internment camp where he introduces baseball to raise hope.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Wabi Sabi - The award-winning and New York Times bestselling book about a cat named Wabi Sabi who searches for the meaning of her name Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant. At last, the master Says, “That’s hard to explain.” And That is all she says. This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect. Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.

  2. Grandfather's Journey - The author-artist of Tree of Cranes provides a moving, beautifully illustrated study of his family’s own cross-cultural experience, in personal reminiscences of his grandfather’s life in America and Japan that convey a love for both countries.

  3. Dust of Eden - In 1942, 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. All they can do is wonder when America will remember that they, too, are Americans. This memorable and powerful novel in verse, written by award-winning author Mariko Nagai, explores the nature of fear, the beauty of life, and the hope of acceptance triumphing over bigotry.

  4. Kira-Kira - kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister Lynn makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who with her special way of viewing the world teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill and the whole family begins to fall apart it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

Want to see books about Japan?

Books About Asian Americans and Places And Regions

Write to Me
Written by Cynthia Grady & illustrated by Amiko Hirao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Dear Miss Breed . . .”

A touching story about Japanese American children who corresponded with their beloved librarian while they were imprisoned in World War II internment camps.

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be sent to prison camp. Before they are moved, Breed asks the children to write her letters and gives them books to take with them. Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences. Using excerpts from children’s letters held at the Japanese American National Museum, author Cynthia Grady presents a difficult subject with honesty and hope.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Written & illustrated by Grace Lin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Caldecott Honor Book! A gorgeous picture book that tells a whimsical origin story of the phases of the moon, from award-winning, bestselling author-illustrator Grace Lin Pat, pat, pat… Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake. Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble? In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.

Grandpa's Stories
Written by Joseph Coelho & illustrated by Allison Colpoys
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa’s Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Life Made by Hand - Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) was an influential and award-winning sculptor, a beloved figure in the Bay Area art world, and a devoted activist who advocated tirelessly for arts education. This lushly illustrated book by collage artist Andrea D’Aquino brings Asawa’s creative journey to life, detailing the influence of her childhood in a farming family, and her education at Black Mountain College where she pursued an experimental course of education with leading avant-garde artists and thinkers such as Anni and Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg. Delightful and substantial, this engaging title for young art lovers includes a page of teaching tools for parents and educators.

  2. Make-Believe Class - One cold, gray, winter day, Miss Winkle leads Katie Woo and the rest of her class on an imaginary journey, challenging them to find ways to complete their lessons on a sunny island, under the sea, or on the moon.

  3. Katie in the Kitchen - Katie wants to be helpful, and so she starts making dinner on her own.

  4. Katie and the Fancy Substitute - There is an elegant substitute teacher in class today, but Katie’s attempts to impress her keep going wrong.

Books About Asian Americans and Facing Fears

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark
Written by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang & illustrated by Nathan Reed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Sam Wu is NOT afraid of the dark. But it’s hard to prove you’re brave when you’re about to face your greatest challenge: camping. That means confronting terrifying things like grizzly bears, vampire bats, aliens, and the worst person in the WHOLE UNIVERSE—Ralph ZInkerman! When something starts haunting the woods, can Sam and his crew band together to become Masters of the Dark? And could they even have . . . FUN?

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks
Written by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang & illustrated by Nathan Reed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

On a class trip to the aquarium, certified ghost hunter Sam Wu encounters something even scarier than ghosts: a giant shark who TOTALLY tries to eat him. Sam has no intentions of taking any more chances with these people-eating creatures. But then his classmates plan a birthday bash . . . on the BEACH! Can Sam overcome his fear of becoming fish food before he misses out on the fun?

Fly High, Katie!
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is flying to Florida to visit her grandmother, but she has never been on an airplane before.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Nervous Night - Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents’ house.

  2. Katie Goes Camping - Katie has a wonderful time camping with her friends Pedro and JoJo, but when it gets dark the shadows make ordinary things seem frightening.

  3. Flower Girl Katie - Katie is delighted when her Aunt Patty asks her to be a flower girl—but then she starts thinking about everything that could go wrong and worries that she will spoil her aunt’s wedding.

Books About Asian Americans and Easy Readers

Yasmin the Superhero
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Yasmin gathers a cape and mask and sets out to find a villain to defeat with her “super powers”—however there are no villains hiding on her block, just neighbors who need a little help.

The Tricky Tooth (Katie Woo)
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Everyone in Katie Woo’s class has lost a tooth, except her! She tries everything she can think of to make her wiggly tooth fall out, but nothing works. Will she ever lose her tricky tooth?

Too Much Rain
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When heavy rain causes flooding, Katie Woo and her parents spend the night in a shelter.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Red, White, and Blue and Katie Woo! - As Katie, her parents, and friends celebrate Independence Day with a parade, games, a picnic, and fireworks, the few things that go wrong do not interfere with their fun.

  2. Katie's New Shoes - Katie’s toes are feeling very squished in her old shoes. It’s time to shop for some new ones! She’s looking for just the right pair. They must have lots of pizzazz to be perfect for Katie.

  3. Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

  4. Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! - Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving—people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

Books About Asian Americans and School

Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths—tree-climbing, mochi making, collage—none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent.

When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent—and the difference between being the best and trying your best.

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Ghosts
Written by Kevin Tsang and Katie Tsang & illustrated by Nathan Reed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Don’t call him scaredy cat! After an unfortunate incident in the Space Museum, Sam goes on a mission to prove that he’s not afraid of ANYTHING—just like the heroes on his favorite show, Space Blasters. And when it looks like his house is haunted, Sam may just get to prove how brave he is. A funny tale of ghost hunting, escaped pet snakes, and cats with attitude!

Katie's Lucky Birthday
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie looks forward to celebrating her birthday at school, and then finds a way to make it even more special when her friend Pedro mentions that he has a summer birthday.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Katie Woo Has the Flu - Katie misses school while she is home with the flu.

  2. Katie and the Class Pet - Katie is so excited when her name is drawn to take the class pet, Binky,home for the weekend. Things start off great, and Katie takes good care of Binky. But when she loses him, she dreads telling her teacher and classmates.

  3. Katie Finds a Job - As Career Day at school approaches, Katie has great ideas for helping her friends present their future professions, but cannot think of a job that she would like to do.

  4. No Valentines for Katie (Katie Woo) - Katie Woo’s class had a special celebration for Valentine’s Day. Katie had lots of fun reading the little candy hearts that her teacher handed out. But when everyone got a special valentine except her, she felt terrible. Could it be that nobody likes Katie Woo?

Books About Asian Americans and Feelings And Emotions

No More Teasing
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A mean boy always teases Katie Woo. It makes Katie sad and mad. How can she make the bully stop teasing her?

Moving Day
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo’s family is moving to a new house. Katie will miss her old room, and she thinks her new house seems a little weird. Her parents say it will feel like home soon enough, but she’s just not sure.

The Big Lie
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Jake’s new toy plane is missing. No one knows where it is, except Katie Woo. But Katie wants to keep the plane. What should she do?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Goodbye to Goldie - Katie Woo’s dog, Goldie, was very old. Goldie became sick and died. Katie will miss her friend. She is glad that she has lots of happy memories of Goldie.

  2. Star of the Show - Katie is sad when she is cast as an earthworm in her school play, because that means she cannot be the star.

  3. Cartwheel Katie - Katie is enrolled in a gymnastics class, but when she has trouble doing some of the moves she gets discouraged and considers dropping out.

  4. Katie Woo Where Are You? - Katie and her parents are off to the mall for a day of shopping. While her mom looks for a new dress, her dad is checking out the lawn mowers and televisions. And Katie is nowhere to be found. Does Katie even know that she’s lost?

Books About Asian Americans and Friendship

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie—something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before. But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?

Katie's Spooky Sleepover
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie’s friends have come for a sleepover, and telling a scary story seems like a good idea—until she has a dream about a monster under her bed, and she wakes up to find her lucky kimono missing.

Katie Woo, Super Scout
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

On a hike with the Super Scouts, Katie is paired up with a girl she does not know who seems much better at scouting then Katie is, but eventually Katie finds that she has discovered a new friend.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Boss of the World - It was supposed to be a fun day at the beach, but Katie Woo is being bossy. Can she stop being bossy and have fun with her friends?

  2. Best Season Ever - Katie and her friends Pedro and JoJo disagree over which season of the year is the best.

  3. Piggy Bank Problems - Katie goes to the bank with her friends JoJo and Pedro, and learns the value of having a place to keep her money.

Books About Asian Americans and Performing Arts

Katie's Noisy Music
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo wants to learn an instrument, but she is having trouble deciding what kind of music suits her best.

Keep Dancing, Katie
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie loves being the best dancer in her dance class, so when Mattie joins the class and begins to outshine her, Katie is jealous.

Tara Takes the Stage
Written & illustrated by Tamsin Lane
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

There are many ways this story can go. YOU decide what happens next. And if you don’t like how it ends? Just start again! The Yes No Maybe So series is an interactive reading experience about friendships, family, and all the feelings. Every day before and after school, Tara Singh helps her parents at their Indian sweet shop, but the only business Tara is interested in is show business. When a local theater announces a casting call for The Wizard of Oz, Tara is determined to wear the ruby slippers. As she prepares for the audition, Tara is distracted by some unexpected drama: There is Rohan, the delivery boy her parents hired. Hiro, her forever crush, who wants to rehearse with her. And Desmond, a shy theater nerd who has started lighting up her heart. Can Tara win the part and get the guy? You have the power to choose what happens…and the chance to choose differently next time!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Major Eights 1: Battle of the Bands - Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together, but are they ready to perform in front of a real audience in a Battle of the Bands competition? Find out in the first book of this early chapter book series! Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together in Jasmine’s basement. Maggie bangs on the drums, Becca strums her guitar, Jasmine plunks the keys of her keyboard, and Scarlet wails into her hairbrush mic. Even though they may not have the best equipment, or an audience, they have fun making music to their own beat. But when Jasmine’s brother tells her about an upcoming Battle of the Bands competition, Jasmine thinks this could be their chance to prove they’re a real band. Now she just has to convince the other girls. . . . With each book told from a different girl’s perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

  2. Daddy Can't Dance - Katie and her father are invited to a Daddy-Daughter dance, the only problem is that her father is not a good dancer—he frequently steps on his partner’s feet.

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