Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
 

Diverse Books for Children @ SCF Libraries: Asian American & Pacific Lit for Children

Heading Asian YA

Recommended books for children* by and about Asian Americans

Asian kidlit gallery

Drawn Together

Picture Book

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens--with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

Paper Son: the Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

Picture Book

An inspiring picture-book biography of animator Tyrus Wong, the Chinese American immigrant responsible for bringing Disney's Bambi to life. Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo. He traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Not papers for drawing--which he loved to do--but immigration papers to start a new life.

Watercress

Picture Book

Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl's parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can. At first, she's embarrassed. Why can't her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family's time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

Picture Book

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Grandfather's Journey

Picture Book

When he was a young man, Allen Say's grandfather left his home in Japan to explore the world. He began his journey by crossing the Pacific Ocean on a steamship, then wandered the deserts, farmlands, and cities of North America.

Are You an Echo?

Picture Book

In early-1900s Japan, Misuzu Kaneko grows from precocious bookworm to instantly-beloved children's poet. But her life ends prematurely, and Misuzu's work is forgotten. Decades later her poems are rediscovered--just in time to touch a new generation devastated by the tsunami of 2011.

A Different Pond

Picture Book

As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui's striking, evocative art paired with Phi's expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

Bee-Bim Bop!

Picture Book - Electronic Book (ebook)

A Korean American girl celebrates food and family in this cheerful board book about cooking a special meal by Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park. In bouncy rhyming text, an excited and hungry child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal.

When You Trap a Tiger

Grades 4-8

Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother. Some stories refuse to stay bottled up...

Front Desk

Grades 4-8

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

A Single Shard

Grades 4-8

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch'ulp'o, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter's craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated -- until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min's irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself.

Ahmed Aziz's Epic Year

Grades 4-7

Ahmed Aziz is having an epic year--epically bad. After his dad gets sick, the family moves from Hawaii to Minnesota for his dad's treatment. Even though his dad grew up there, Ahmed can't imagine a worse place to live. Getting bits and pieces of his family's history might be the one upside of the move, as his dad's health hangs in the balance and the school bully refuses to leave him alone. Will Ahmed ever warm to Minnesota?

Red, White, and Whole

Grades 4-8

A heartbreakingly hopeful novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia. Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she's the only Indian American student, and home, with her family's traditions and holidays.

Amina's Voice

Grades 4-8

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she's in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the "cool" girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more "American." Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina's Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl's voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

Archer's Quest

Grades 3-7

In Dorchester, New York, Kevin is doing his homework when suddenly an arrow comes out of nowhere and pins his baseball cap to the wall. The man who shot the arrow claims he fell off a tiger . . . and wound up in Kevin’s room. It’s not long before Kevin realizes that the man, who calls himself Chu-mong, or Great Archer, is no ordinary burglar, but a traveler from far away in both space and time.

Book cover

Inside Out and Back Again

Grades 4-8

Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.

Hello, Universe

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren't friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. 

Disclaimer

* What does "recommended" mean?

The titles included in this page have been selected by the SCF Librarians based on literary merit, accuracy and authenticity of treatment of the culture portrayed, and age appropriateness. They are books mostly written by "own voices": authors and illustrators belonging to the cultural group portrayed.

* About the age and reading level categories: 

The books in this page can be read by people of all ages! They vary in reading level. We do not assign AR or Lexile levels,  because we want you to read a book because you like it, not because of a school-assigned level.

Those classified as "picture books" are suitable for independent reading or for an adult to read to and with children, while showing the "pictures".

Those classified as "children" are best suited to be read by children in grades as recommended. Some are short books, chapter books, or novels, with or without illustrations. They can also be graphic novels.

* Books for ALL children:

The titles recommended in this page represent mirrors for all children in our community, windows to see experiences different from their own, and sliding doors to enter other worlds and discover commonalities and differences (Bishop, 1990).

We recognize that the experiences portrayed in these books do not reflect each kid's experience, but we strive to include representations of as many experiences as possible. We invite parents, caregivers, and teachers to explore these books with their children and discuss what their children have in common (or not) with the children in these stories.

 

 

 

Bishop, R. S. (1990). "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors". Perspectives 6(3). https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf