Motherhood

5 Kids’ Books by Asian-American Authors

eyes that kiss in the corners

What children’s books have you enjoyed recently? This weekend, I found five new-to-us books written by Asian and Asian-American authors, and the boys have loved them…

First up: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho. How lovely is that title? We also really liked A Different Pond by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui; When the Cousins Came by Katie Yamasaki; and The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.

If the kids in your life are ready for chapter books, Superbeetle by S. Michele Chen looks amazing. It tells the story of an eight-year-old girl who visits her grandmother in Taiwan. She discovers that her grandmother is planning to close her dumpling shop because she feels too old to run it. Also, a giant multicolored beetle is sitting in the bathtub! One thing that’s cool about Superbeetle is that the author explains how to pronounce certain Mandarin Chinese words within the story.

I’d love to hear more recommendations, if you have them. xoxo

P.S. Children’s books with female characters, and children’s books by Black authors. Plus, the beauty uniform of Ruth Chan, a children’s book illustrator.

  1. Jillianm says...

    When my kids were really little, they enjoyed the board books by Joyce Wan. The illustrations are very Japanese pop culture inspired and exceptionally cute. Plus there’s one about dragons. :)

  2. Meriwether Evans says...

    One of my close friends from high school – and incredible woman – Christina Soontornvat – writes wonderful children’s stories. Even though my children are too little for it now, I have read and adored “A Wish in the Dark,” an adaptation of “Les Miserables” set in Thailand. I’ve also started “All Thirteen,” a beautifully constructed and written book about the rescue of the boys’ soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand. I’m incredibly proud to know her. And she just learned that both are 2021 Newbery Honor Books!

  3. Angela Koloszar says...

    When You Trap A Tiger by Tae Keller – my 10 year old loved this book. It is best as a tween/middle grade read.

  4. Erica says...

    We love “the Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele about a (half Asian) piglet who grows up in a pretty white space – super wonderful for thinking about some of the things that come up for kids that may not look like one or both of their parents (eg one of the pigs at school asks the main character “is that your babysitter?” “No that’s my mom” the main pig kid answers)

  5. Nina Franey says...

    Haven’t read all the comments, so maybe this has already been said, but the Ruby Lu books by Lenore Look are some of our most favorite. Made me laugh out loud reading them with our kids in their early elementary years, such good lessons on kindness and bring true to yourself too.

  6. Thanks for sharing these books and opening up this message thread, Joanna! We’re Woods in the Books, an indie bookshop in Singapore and we published a counting book which might be of interest to parents with young kids who would like to introduce concepts of diversity and inclusivity, on top of learning numbers 1 – 12! It serves to teach the kids who are learning to notice the differences between themselves and friends that we are all the same, no matter our skin colour, or the language we speak. You may check it our here: https://www.woodsinthebooks.sg/collections/homegrown-stories/products/friends-counting-book
    (also available on Amazon)

  7. Jing says...

    J. kenji lopez-alt’s – every night is pizza night – a great book about food & community & trying new things.

    the big winner in our home is hands down – lion dancer: Ernie wan’s Chinese New Year. It was published in 1990 by scholastic & it is the most requested book in our home. My toddler will happily read this book several times a day for several weeks at a time. It’s reminiscent of an old time magazine photo spread detailing a Chinese American family’s celebration on New Years in New York’s Chinatown. Hooray for Ernie wan!

  8. Heather says...

    I just picked up Maki Saito’s picture book “Animals Brag About Their Bottoms” and it is absolutely delightful! Her illustrations, using a traditional Japanese dyeing technique, are super unique.

  9. Jude says...

    Thank you for highlighting these beautiful books and authors – so excited to read and gift them to the little ones in my life.

  10. Rachel says...

    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin – it is so, so good!

    • My daughter’s favorite book!

  11. m says...

    Lily Lo and the Wonton Maker by Frances Lee Hall. The author was a classmate of mine in grad school. She passed away at far too young an age, but left this wise middle grade book.

  12. Alexis says...

    We really enjoyed Paper Son by Julie Leung, about an immigrant’s story and his rise as a Disney artist.
    Also Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki, about a young Japanese girl who loves to visit her grandfather in Japan.

    • Nadja says...

      We loved Ojichan’s Gift! Excited to read your other suggestion! And maybe you would also like the Sound of Silence?

    • Alexis says...

      Nadja, The Sound of Silence sounds like a great book. We will definitely check it out. Thanks for recommending it!

  13. Sarah Kienle says...

    Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelley Anand is FANTASTIC. About a little girl discovering-and learning to love-her mooch (mustache). I can’t rave about it enough. Body positivity, celebrating differences, cultural appreciation….and funny!

  14. Alycia says...

    Tarō Gomi! I use his Over the Ocean book for children’s programming and just checked out Bus Stops from the library for my little guy. Beautiful pictures and simple stories from Japan.

    • Michele says...

      My Japanese British American cousins love him!

    • Jade says...

      We love Taro Gomi, my friends was my daughters favorite!

  15. Emily says...

    Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer who has books for adults AND picture books!

    https://kaokaliayang.com/

    • courtney says...

      I loved “The Late Homecomer”! I wish stories like Kao Kalia’s were more pervasively read, just so the immigrant story in this country gets more heard and seen. Speaking of, there is a great local organization here in MN getting immigrant stories out there; Green Card Voices (https://www.greencardvoices.org/) began with short videos of immigrants from all over the world coming to the US sharing their stories. It’s entertaining, interesting, refreshing, to see people talking about their experiences coming from Turkey, Vietnam, UK, Ethiopa, Bosnia, etc. In recent years they’ve expanded it to get immigrant kids practicing writing and speaking and publish their stories in Youth Green Card Voices books!

      This has gotten a bit off-topic from the initial post, but I love the idea of different American stories being shared!

      Regarding the Asian American experience, I think it really does often get overlooked and is somewhat silenced. Kao Kalia Yang’s work, as well as “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman are really good for building understanding of the Asian American experience and history.

  16. AD says...

    For anyone who is seeking out more resources about the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, a great place to start is Liz Kleinrock (@teachandtransform on IG and Twitter) and @SmithsonianAAPI. Liz has great book recommendations (most of them already shared here) for all ages and connects her followers with content and resources to become more knowledgeable about non-White centric content.

    I’d love to see her featured here for one of the columns or her own feature!

    • JL says...

      I like Liz too! A friend introduced me to her IG account the other day and her content really resonates with me.

  17. Samantha says...

    Hello!
    Although I am 25 years old, I LOVE being able to see childrens books that represent kids that look like I do or experiences that I have.

    For kids books, My new favorite is “My Day with Gong Gong, by Sennah Yee”.
    In addition, I reread “Kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata” when I was a teenager. And now that I have grown up a little bit, I love working though Wayson Choi’s novels.

    I am loving the books that readers are suggesting and cannot wait to add some of them to my collection.

  18. Alison says...

    Some of these have been mentioned in the comments but bear repeating anyway! And some may be out of print but the library should have them. All wonderful for different reasons!

    Children of the River by LInda Crew (YA)
    The Clay Marble by Mingfong Ho (8-11)
    The Emperor and The Kite by Jane Yolen (5-7)
    Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne wakatsuki Houston and James Houston (YA)
    The Girl-Son by Anne Neuberger (8-11)
    Goodbye, Vietnam by Gloria Whelan (8-11)
    In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (8-11)
    A Jar of Dreams by Yoshiko Uchida (8-11)
    Lon Po-Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China translated by Ed Young ( preschool)
    Meiko and the Fifth Treasure by Eleanor Coerr (5-7)
    So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (YA)
    The Squiggle by Carole Lee Schaefer (preschool)
    The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep (8-11)
    Tye May and The Magic Brush by Molly Garrett Bang (5-7)
    Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi (YA)

    • Alycia says...

      In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson has been one of my favorite books since reading it in 5th grade almost 30 years ago. I love that kids are still reading it today.

  19. Carol W Wayne says...

    Any and all books by Grace Lin!

    Also chapter books by Andrea Cheng and Gene Yuan.

  20. Marisa says...

    Love the Superbeetle rec for my 8 year old reading fanatic who’s in Mandarin immersion at school. I would love any similar recs that have Chinese language and culture elements!

  21. Eliza says...

    The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida. It tells the story of a young girl being sent to a Japanese Interment Camp with her family. It is a really beautiful story about friendship but also covers an American history topic that we didn’t learn in school.

    • A says...

      You didn’t learn about Japanese Internment Camps in school!? Did other people not??? I graduated public high school in 2003 and remember learning about it. Perhaps because I’m on the westcoast where most of the interned lived before having their property taken and being sent to camps (including grandparents of my classmates).

  22. Diana says...

    For middle-grade readers, we love The Comeback by EL Shen!

  23. Char says...

    Grace Lin’s ‘Dim Sum for Everyone’ is a hit from my boys, we crave all the food after reading it.

  24. Sherill says...

    We’ve enjoyed books by Taro Gomi.

  25. supercali says...

    Not a book rec but the animated film Over the Moon on netflix is just great! And so is Big Hero 6 – loved both and I don’t even have children haha

  26. Anna says...

    “Year of Impossible Goodbyes” by Sook Nyul Choi is a beautiful book that I loved when I was a late-elementary reader. I still remember it so vividly. Thankfully, I have saved my copy and hope to share it with my children when they’re old enough! The sequel, “Echoes of the White Giraffe,” was also really lovely.

  27. Elle says...

    Farewell to Manzanar for teens

  28. Neile King says...

    For a teen or adult reader, I highly recommend the book Mother Told Me to Follow the Sun by Boun Sanraow. I met Boun when we both attended the same college, and I knew his life story was different from mine. It turns out I had no idea what he had been through to get there. He has written an incredible account of his life as a refugee from war in Laos who became a child soldier in Thailand and miraculously made his way to Massachusetts to earn a college degree. The book is self-published and available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Told-Follow-Sun-Mountains/dp/B08BDWYGND

  29. Alex says...

    Two Bicycles in Beijing by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Junyi Wu. It’s such a beautiful story!

    • That makes me so happy! Thank you for recommending my book, Alex!

  30. Naomi Pritikin says...

    For the middle-grade reader:
    Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. It’s a Rick Riordan Presents book (books published by Rick Riordan, that are all based on myths and mythology from different cultures – ALL of them have been amazing, so far).
    “A sci-fi adventure novel about Min, a teenage fox spirit, who runs away to solve the mystery of what happened to her older brother and ends up on an adventure that could save her entire planet.”
    I mean, what’s not to love for the kid who loves fantasy fiction?!

  31. Joanne says...

    Maggie’s Chopsticks by Alan Woo is a lovely story about a girl trying to find her own place within her family through the process of learning to use chopsticks.

  32. Hannah says...

    When I was a kid, I LOVED In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, by Bette Bao Lord. It’s a middle grade chapter book. I borrowed it from my best friend so many times that she finally gave me her copy as a birthday present.

  33. Alex says...

    For older kids (middle school and up) or for any adult who loves to revisit their own teenage drama, the To All the Boys books are WONDERFUL. Smart, sweet, romantic, dramatic, everything you could want from teen lit!

    • Michele says...

      Yes I love these! And I love that the character is proud of her sweetness, cookie baking, and art a la Eliza Hamilton vs. Angelica. I was proud to be a spunky kid and Tamora Pierce did a good job letting me see myself in books, but my artsier friends got left behind.

  34. nadine says...

    I see a few readers mentioning books about Yayoy Kusama. I recently read a graphic novel about her: Kusama, The Graphic Novel by Elisa Macellari. The author is an italian-thai illustrator and writer, who has a very distinct style. Highly recommended!

  35. Rosa says...

    Thank you for doing this! I’m always looking for more books about Asian characters for my students. We’re about to start a unit in historical fiction, and I’m looking forward to reading Prairie Lotus. Any other historical fiction recs? Thanks for the ones already omg I almost said “in this chat.” Zoom has taken over my life!!!

  36. Sarah B. says...

    I recommend:
    A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang
    Dear Juno by Soyung Park
    The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee
    The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (this is a graphic novel)
    I also like Korean illustrators Kenard Pak’s work

    Happy reading!

  37. kat says...

    We have a pile of Taro Gomi books – most recently adoring “I Really Want to See You, Grandma”. I try to have diverse imagery on our bookshelves, and appreciate how the stories share everyday scenarios among AAPI characters. Bus Stops is another absolute fav.

  38. Tara Black says...

    I read The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang as a tween and remember really enjoying it.

  39. Ellen says...

    “A Map into the World” by Kao Kalia Yang. A truly beautiful book about a Hmong immigrant girl finding a way to comfort her grieving elderly neighbor.

    • Ellen says...

      I should add that this is a picture book, not a chapter book (though it might be better for middle grade audiences than for little kids–it went over my three-year-old’s head, but my eight-year-old loved it). The pictures (by a Korean illustrator) are wonderful.

    • Ellen says...

      And for grown-ups–I *highly* recommend Kao Kalia Yang’s memoir, The Late Homecomer (about her experience of moving to Minnesota from a refugee camp). Kao Kalia Yang is an extraordinary writer. (The memoir is definitely for adults, not kids. I think “A Map into the World” is her first book for kids.)

    • Sarah B. says...

      She has a newer book out too called The Most Beautiful Thing

    • supercali says...

      oo thanks for this rec for The Late Homecomer and The Most Beautiful Thing. Stories like this are so interesting to me – a chance for fresh perspective and deep appreciation of what people are able to transcend, thank you!

  40. Kacky says...

    Thanks for the recommendation! Do you have other book recs about Filipino culture? My kids will be a quarter Filipino and want to consistently remind them of their culture from their dad’s side too.

    • Anjali says...

      For much later down the line (6/7/8th) grade, and for you as soon as you can get your hands on it:

      Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay is the best YA novel I’ve read in the past few years (I read lots of YA) and one of my favorite books of all time. The story is beautiful, complex, informative, and so raw. Quick summary: A Filipino-American boy visits the Philippines in search of clues about his cousin’s murder.

    • A says...

      Check out Gail D. Villanueva’s middle grade novels!

    • Maree says...

      I like the book Cora Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K Lazo Gilmore which reminds me of spending time with my mother and grandmother in the kitchen as a child. I don’t have it (yet!) but think Filipino Friends by Liana Romulo looks like it would be a fun book also

    • Mary says...

      the Little People, Big Dreams series has a book on Corazon Acquino.
      Corazon Aquino (Little People, BIG DREAMS, 43) Hardcover – Illustrated, August 4, 2020
      by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author), Ginnie Hsu (Illustrator)

  41. Heidi says...

    I’ve been reading middle grade books for Middle Grade March and next on my list is a book called Front Desk by Kelly Yang. I have seen it recommended on a few other lists and can’t wait for my turn at the library.

  42. Joyce says...

    Thank you for this list! I am often impressed with your kids’ book list. My 17 month old boy doesn’t really sit for any book that isn’t “interactive” (flap books, finger puppets, poke a dot, sound making books) but I know the day will come and want to be ready! Would you consider adding these books to the “shop” page under the “book” or “kids” category? I’m not sure the shop page is working and have wanted to let you know for a while (I noticed bc we recently moved and I wanted to see your home recs and can only see key chains there.) so maybe something to look into if you are still maintaining that.

    • KC says...

      Try Salina Yoon – she has a bunch of interactive books for real little ones.

    • Joyce says...

      Thank you, KC!

  43. Melissa says...

    I inter-library loaned all books illustrated by Ruth Chan after you featured her. My three-year-old loves The Great Indoors, and after reading it for the third, fourth, and so on times, I kept appreciating the little details in the illustrations… the rice cooker on the counter in the kitchen scene, etc. My husband’s mom is from the Philippines, and many of the details about how the house was decorated reminded me of my in-laws home.

    We have been reading the poems in the book Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems. The poems and illustrations are great fun! I especially appreciate the language choices like “prepossessing bunny” and “disconcerting sounds.” One animal is described as nonchalant. My kids laughed out loud and asked about the new words…WIN WIN!

  44. Zoe says...

    My two year old and I read “Hush!” by Minfong Ho probably every day. It’s a lovely story about a mom telling various animals (mosquitos, cats, monkeys, musk ox, etc) to be quiet because her baby is sleeping. It’s has a really good rhythm which is good for the reader, and really fun animal sounds my son loves, and beautiful illustrations. I am a broken record about this book, I recommend it all the time, it feels like a book that should be a classic for every kid!

  45. Colleen says...

    Molly Yeh has a great list in her Instagram Stories. My daughter is 14 and we want to read them all.

  46. K says...

    For chapter books, my daughters love Front Desk and Three Keys by Kelly Yang, Stand Up Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim, The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin. I also recommend anything by Cynthia Kadohata. We read Weedflower aloud as a family; it’s about Japanese interment during WWII. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  47. Sylvia says...

    A few books not yet mentioned that my kids and I love:
    – Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity, by Sarah Suzuki
    – Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, by Natasha Yim
    – Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom, by Teresa Robeson
    – A Morning with Grandpa, by Sylvia Liu (not me)
    – Sam and the Lucky Money, by Karen Chinn

    • Thank you for recommending my Queen of Physics, Sylvia! Also, Sylvia Liu (who wrote A Morning With Grandpa) is my dear friend and longtime critique partner. :)

  48. This one’s for teenagers, but Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai is fantastic.

  49. Monica says...

    My kids love Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
    Book by Chieri Uegaki. It’s a beautiful story about the way music and memory meet each other.

    We also love Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, which celebrates a daughter’s desire to find her place in cooking her family’s favorite food. My husband is Filipino and our kids get excited to see a bit of their heritage represented in books.

    • Comic Book Mama says...

      Not sure if it’s been mentioned already, but “Green Lantern: Legacy” by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong, is a graphic novel that’s great for older kids who are into superheroes.

      It’s about a Vietnamese American 13yo who inherits his grandmother’s Green Lantern ring when she passes away.

      It’s intended for older elementary students, but my 5yo loves it — and it’s an age-appropriate introduction to the ideas of immigration, discrimination and gentrification.

  50. Glen says...

    My daughter loved the Mindy Kim series by Lyla Lee. These early chapter books are about a Korean American girl who moves from California (large Asian population) to Florida (small Asian population) after her Mom dies. I thought the series handles both the culture shock and the loss of a parent well, and my daughter, who is half-Korean, really related to Mindy.

    • Margot says...

      Seconding Mindy Kim. Reading this series made my daughter open to trying seaweed and now she eats sushi and seaweed snacks :)

  51. Erica says...

    Oh! Also, all the Chi books by Konami Kanata

  52. Erica says...

    My 10-year-old loved Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun :)

  53. Christina says...

    I don’t have any recommendation that isn’t already mentioned, and I am really curious about several books that I haven’t read. But I got so happy when I realized that we already have some of the books in the tiny rural library in Sweden where I work! (I don’t get to decide which books we have). I only wish some of them would be translated so that they would reach out even more.

    • Christina says...

      Or wait! I do have a recommendation! The picture books by the Korean author and illustrator Baek Heena! She makes the most gorgeous illustrations, sometimes collage, sometimes like a stop motion dollhouse setting, and the stories are great. I see though that only Magic Candies seem to be translated into English. In Swedish we have Cloud Bread (Molnbullar) too, and a Fairy at the Pool – or however an English title would be (En fe på badhuset).

    • supercali says...

      WOW – I cannot find an English translation anywhere either but the illustrations! I study animation and just love these! My whole life I’ve gotten the best recommendations from librarians – thank you!

  54. Kay says...

    Measuring Up by Lily Lamotte was a graphic novel my 5th graders enjoyed!

  55. Just a teacher says...

    The Name Jar and My Name is Yoon are both excellent picture books that span a variety of ages. I’ve read it with K and 1st grade students in a project based learning setting and the ways the children engaged with the stories
    was eye opening. They wanted to tell their own stories, or their family member’s name stories. They wanted to learn about names from other cultures. Cute story, the students requested that we learn about the meaning of each of our names together, so I projected Google and we went at it, one name a day. Of course there is A TON of variation, but this gave the students a lot to ask family members about. Of course, one must be thoughtful about different family structures where these conversations could be triggering.

    I also used both books in middle school advisories and the students LOVED it. I think stories about names lay a strong foundation for cultural sensitivity and curiosity.

    Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park (If you’re not hungry after reading, you weren’t paying attention)

    Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry by Fausto Gilberti to inspire little artists (A Life Made By Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa, too!)

    A small piece of feedback, too: I would have loved to see the covers and images for each book you shared. I think they would stick better in our minds and give the topic the respect it deserves.

  56. Shaun Tan is an Australian Asian writer and illustrator, I highly recommend his books if not for the illustrations alone.
    Also Jenny Han who wrote For All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogies is really good and great for older kids.

    • Caitlin says...

      Here here to Shaun Tan! He is our favorite of all time and I love that he has books perfect for my 6 year old and 12 year old.

    • em says...

      yes, shaun tan’s illustrations are wonderful!

    • nadine says...

      Oh I love Shaun Tan, he’s my favourite illustrator (and I’m 36).

  57. Anjali says...

    I second this!

  58. Tammar says...

    Not Your All American Girl by Wendy Chang and Madelyn Rosenberg is wonderful! It’s a middle grade novel about a Chinese-Jewish American girl trying out for a school play. Funny and full of heart.

  59. Caroline says...

    We love anything by Christina Soontornvat!

  60. KC says...

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Salina Yoon yet – she is prolific with sweet, short books written and illustrated for the preschool set. Our 20 month old likes her lift-the flap Space Walk book even though he has zero concept of our solar system.

  61. Cait says...

    The Goose Egg by Liz Wong is a total delight!

  62. Sarah says...

    I love Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi and for older readers Front Desk by Kelly Yang.

  63. Justine says...

    I highly recommend a subscription to Shift Book Box! My preschool has a subscription and it is just wonderful. Each month you get two picture books around a theme (so far we’ve had socioeconomic diversity, racial diversity, and gender diversity), plus resources to learn more and a full page of guided discussion questions for diving deeper with your kids. They strive to use Own Voices authors. I thought of it because we got A Different Pond in the SES diversity box and I had the most amazing discussion with my 4- and 5-year-old students. They are all white and upper middle class, and their little minds were blown at imagining someone *trespassing* (gasp!) in order to fish to feed his family. Highly recommend this subscription!!

  64. Becca says...

    Susan Tan’s series about Cilla Lee-Jenkins. Cilla’s dad is Chinese and her mom is white. My 10 and 8 year old son and daughter are big fans of these chapter books about her adventures with friends and family.

    • Anjali says...

      I LOVE the Cilla Lee-Jenkins series! I have gifted the first book to 3rd – 5th grade friends of my children over and over.

  65. Julia says...

    Huge fan of Grace Lin here, too. I’m the mom of a mixed race Chinese American girl who points to Grace Lin’s illustrations and says “It’s me, mommy!” Makes me teary eyed thinking about it. Grace Lin also has a TEDX talk I highly recommend. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_wQ8wiV3FVo

    • Alison says...

      My 2.5 year old loves her book A Big Mooncake for Little Star (as do I!). I look forward to watching her TEDx talk. Thank you, Julia!

      Also will add one more recommendation for Thi Bui’s graphic memoir The Best We Could Do (for adults or teens).

  66. Becca says...

    Soup Day by Melissa Iwai

  67. We recently read “a life made by hand: The Ruth Asawa story” and did a little wire craft to go with it. my kindergartner love “The Year of the dog” – I read it to her as her first chapter book and she just loved it. We’re also big Jasmine Toguchi fans. Looking forward to all these great recommendations!

  68. Sarah says...

    I just finished “When You Trap A Tiger”, by Tae Keller. It won this year’s Newbery Award. It’s such a beautiful book, written for middle-grade kids (but as an adult I loved it!). It explores the themes of a young girl finding her voice, and exploring the many different parts of her self, rather than forcing herself into just one identity. I think people of many different backgrounds will be able to relate to the story.

  69. Molly says...

    My daughter just turned 6 and loves Eva Chen’s Juno Valentine books! Especially great if your little one likes dressing up (Maeve, my little girl, is very into fashion and accessorizing lately)!

    • Emily says...

      Same! I have a 7 year old girl, and we love the Juno Valentine books. (and I am an Eva Chen fan girl from her days @ Lucky magazine – she is such a breath of approachable fresh air in the fashion industry).

  70. Jill says...

    My Friends, by Taro Gomi. My almost 2 year old loves it and I do too!

  71. Erin says...

    I think I learned about One Sunday Morning by Yumi Heo on your blog – it is a great book that we have read many, many times.

  72. SBarnard says...

    My 12y.o. recently read We Are Not Free by Traci Chee and he liked it so much, he recommended it to me. It is a terrific story set during the time of Japanese internment. Though it is a painful period of history, the story really highlighted the many ways community becomes family. Highly recommend for older kids, and adults too.

  73. Allison says...

    I work in children’s publishing and can’t resist sharing one of the favorite author/illustrators I work with, Thao Lam! She does really unique and lovely paper collage. The Paper Boat (2020) is a wordless picture book inspired by her family’s own refugee journey from Vietnam when she was a kid. Her newest book, THAO, is about growing up with a name that’s unfamiliar to the kids around you. Both, and her other books too, are so full of heart, so important, so real.

  74. MK says...

    We love the picture book “Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines,” by Jeanne Walker.

    • Lauren says...

      Em–I just bought I Dream of Popo as a gift for a friend’s little boy. And, his Popo recently arrived for a visit, so I’m sure they both enjoyed it!

    • Kristina says...

      Yes, I Dream of Popo is such a beautiful story, and captures the challenge (and beauty) of grandparent-grandchild relationships across distance (something so many of us can relate to right now). Highly recommend.

    • em says...

      really hope that he & his popo get to enjoy it together :’)

  75. Rebecca says...

    Two favorites with my little kids are

    Pool by JIHYEON LEE
    &
    First snow by Bomi Park

  76. Emily says...

    Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat is a cute one!

  77. MaryJo says...

    I Dream of Popo, written by Livia Blackburne and illustrated by the incredibly talented Julia Kuo!

  78. Sarah says...

    Anything by Grace Lin! I loved her Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series. It was just as good as Harry Potter!

    • Anastassia says...

      Wait, it’s a series??? My son read Where The Mountain Meets The Moon as part of his school curriculum in 3rd grade, and bought it for me as a birthday present, and we re-read it together again, soooooo good! I’m getting the others right now!!!!

    • Monica says...

      Yes!! My independent reader loved Where The Mountain Meets The Moon (I did too) and he finished it without me ;)

    • Jen says...

      I have been reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to my 4 and 6yr olds for the past month. We just finished yesterday sitting on a blanket near a duck pond with trees blossoming around us. It was pure magic. The story was so beautiful and touching. Lin’s writing is rich and poetic and she wove everything together so beautifully. (Note- I did have to soften some lines for such young ears/hearts). Highly, highly recommend!

  79. JD says...

    Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai. This is a gorgeous free-verse middle-grade book (Newbery Honor!) based on the author’s experience coming to the US as a 10-year-old refugee after Saigon fell.

  80. Jessie says...

    All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team
    Book by Christina Soontornvat. We read this nonfiction book as a family and were completely engrossed.

  81. Michal says...

    The Vanderbeekers by Karina Yan Glaser is by an Asian-American author about a mixed-race family in NYC and we love it!

    • Heidi says...

      These books are so good! We love the whole Vanderbeeker series.

  82. Rebecca says...

    My 9 year old daughter is a huge Grace Lin fan – she is an author and illustrator and has beautiful little kid picture books plus fantastic chapter books for older kids, including Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which we devoured. My daughter also loved Front Desk by Kelly Yang. A couple of years ago, we enjoyed Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, by Debbi Michiko Florence and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look. We are waiting for the graphic novel Stargazing by Jen Wang to come up on our library hold list. Oh, and Asian-American artist Gale Gilligan has done some of the Babysitters’ Club graphic novels, featuring the fabulous Claudia Kishi.

  83. Steph says...

    Yes thank you for spotlighting these books! We have Eyes that Kiss in the Corner and can’t wait to read the other titles you mentioned. Thank you so much for making this blog inclusive and supportive for people of color. I don’t know if you all know how big of a deal it is but it totally is. Thank you.

  84. Geri says...

    My daughter’s favourite (middle-grade) books are by Asian-American writers. Front Desk by Kelly Yang is a fantastic story based on the author’s own life. My daughter loved it so much that after she finished it she just started over and read it again. That reaction seems hard to beat for a recommendation. The sequel, Three Keys, is also excellent. The Vanderbeekers by Karina Yan Glaser is also a really lovely series.

  85. Allison says...

    I’d highly recommend these books for middle graders/young readers and adults:

    – A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat: a Les Mis inspired story in a Thai fantasy setting

    – The graphic novel Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang: a sports memoir/documentary that is captivating even for non-sports fans!

    – the graphic novel The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen: an incredibly moving story about a son navigating fairy tales and his own identity. The art work is stunning and the story is so moving.

  86. I recommend literally everything by Grace Lin! We love A Big Mooncake for Little Star and the Ling & Ting books. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang and The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee are also wonderful.

    • Vicki says...

      Yes I second Grace Lin! I also loved her novel, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
      And she has a great Ted Talk about represtation in childrens books

    • Abbie says...

      Same. That Grace Lin. She is all the 100 emojis.

    • joy says...

      yes! Our kids also love The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee.

  87. Aleah says...

    Anything by Grace Lin—the writing and illustrations in her books are gorgeous, joyful, and sweet. My boys love the cheeky kids in Mooncake for Little Star (perfect for lunar new year!) and A Big Bed for Little Snow (fitting for our Boston winters haha). The Ugly Vegetables is my favorite of hers, as it taught my boys to appreciate a whole new host of vegetables; their auntie even sent them seeds to grow their own Ku Cai :)

  88. Charlene says...

    Other authors whom I love are:
    – Julie Kim: Where’s Halmoni?, a trippy, folktale-inspired picture book. SO cool.
    – Senna Yee: My Day with Gong Gong, a picture book that I’ve gifted to family in Canada. The illustrations by Elaine Chen are so rich and realistic that they made me gasp with recognition.
    – Linda Sue Park: Bee-Bim Bop! for preschoolers, Prairie Lotus and A Single Shard for middle grade historical fiction.
    – Grace Lin: For chapter books: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon has an adventuresome folktale vibe, and Before the Sword is a fun Mulan origin story. She also has TONS of picture books.
    – Jen Wang: Stargazing, an emotionally resonant middle grade graphic novel about an unlikely friendship.
    – Kelly Yang: Front Desk, also middle grade, treats immigration with bravery and nuance.

    • JeanneK says...

      Yes to Kelly Yang and Front Desk! She also wrote a sequel, Three Keys.

  89. Kiana says...

    Any of the Alvin Ho books would be my recommendation. For kids 8 and up, I’d say.

    • Jess T says...

      Seconded if you’re looking for chapter books! My 7 year old loves Alvin Ho (Lenore Look). Also Ruby Lu series by same author is great. I really like that both series are hilarious but deal with real topics (for Alvin – anxiety about school/ fitting in and death; Ruby – immigration, parent job loss) that has started lots of great conversations at our house.

    • HMM says...

      I would like to third Alvin Ho. Mother of second grade boy and we enjoyed this series. I especially loved the father figure.

  90. Katie says...

    Thank you for these recommendations! I was just introduced to Bao Phi over the holidays when a friend gifted my son “My Footprints.”

    We really love “A Big Bed For Little Snow” by Grace Lin, and her previous book book, “A Big Mooncake for Little Star.” They’re so clever and the illustrations are gorgeous!

  91. Becs says...

    Linda Sue Park is a Korean-American author whose books we love. For older kids, she wrote the chapter book and Newbery Medal winner A Single Shard. Our favorite of her picture books is called The Third Gift, and another great one is The Kite Fighters.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh yes a single shard! Love that book!

    • Molly says...

      Thank you for spotlighting these books! I just bought Superbeetle and two Grace Lin books. 😀 We love “Our Favorite Day” by Joowon Oh and “Drawn Together” by Minh Le.

    • Katie says...

      A Long Walk to Water is also wonderful if you haven’t read it!

  92. Michaela says...

    Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala is a favorite! I actually bought it for my husband and it made him tear up a bit.

    We also love Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji. Our daughter now thinks roti makes her super strong! It’s a fun one!

  93. Betty says...

    My kids and I really enjoyed Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It’s a great read aloud book.

  94. Grace says...

    Anything by Grace Lin! Her Ling and Ting early readers series is very sweet. She’s also written chapter books for older kids (including the new Mulan tie-in book) and some amazing picture books – A Big Mooncake for Little Star is a classroom favorite in my preschool room.

  95. CaraM says...

    One of my favorite books growing up was “How My Parents Learned to Eat” which was also featured on Reading Rainbow (yay 80s kids!). My grandmother is Japanese and married my grandfather after he was stationed in Japan during the Korean War. This particular book is from the perspective of a boy with a Japanese mother and an American father (white) who meet and fall in love during the war. They both make assumptions about cultural expectations (he is nervous about taking her to fancy dinner to propose where he needs to use chopsticks and she assumes she will need to eat with a knife/fork and is nervous about the dinner). It has almost an O Henry quality to it – both end up learning how to eat with the other’s utensils. It is a very heartfelt story and struck a chord with me growing up.

    My Grandmother passed away from cancer that was radiation-exposure related (from WWII) and my father struggled to share much about her (he lost her when he was a young teen – very traumatic). This book helped me relate to her. Allan Say, the Illustrator, was born in Japan and later went on to illustrate and write other amazing award winning books.

  96. Laura Whitehill says...

    The “Chirri and Chirra” books by Kaya Doi are so enchanting and whimsical.

    • Dienesa says...

      Love the Chirra Chirra picture book series!

    • Helen says...

      Yes!!

    • Mylene Tong says...

      I love them too! The illustrations are so detailed and magical, I love reading them with my 2 turning 3yo and 6 turning 7yo. Kaya Doi’s is on IG too @doikaya / https://www.instagram.com/doikaya/

  97. Maggie says...

    We love Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao!

  98. Emily says...

    A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin. This book is SO beloved in our house.

    • Molly says...

      Yes! This book is so good!!!

    • Cathy says...

      We love A Big Mooncake for Little Star, too!!