180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

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Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers


Just in time before Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month ends next week, we managed to finish this extensive list of Asian and Asian American books for childrens and teenagers. Although of course all of these books can and should be read throughout the year! There are so many gorgeous books for all ages on this list – enjoy browsing!

180+ Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers

Babies & Toddlers

Hush! A Thai Lullaby // Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek
by Minfong Ho

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Hush! A Thai Lullaby Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Peek!

In Hush! A Thai Lullaby a mother asks a lizard, a monkey, and a water buffalo to be quiet and not disturb her sleeping baby. In Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek a father calls on all the creatures of the jungle to help find his baby. The repetitive text and colourful illustrations make these two books appealing to babies and toddlers. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

Related: Top 10 Multicultural Bedtime Stories for Babies & Toddlers // 11 Multicultural Lullabies

12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book
by Vickie Lee

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

From the adventure loving Dragon to the carefree Horse and the artistic Goat, 12 Lucky Animals introduces the animals of the Chinese zodiac to the littlest readers. The wheel on the back cover helps little ones to discover who their lucky animal is and how to pronounce its name in Chinese and English. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

Related: 28 Children’s Books About The Lunar New Year

Haiku Baby
by Betsy E. Snyder

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Haiku Baby

“In tickly-toe grass / a buttercup offers up / yellow nose kisses.” Told in Haiku, the traditional Japanese poetic form, Haiku Baby celebrates the simple joys of baby’s natural world: A bird, a fish, a raindrop, a snowflake… Adorable pictures and tabs to encourage little hands to turn the pages make this an appealing book for babies and toddlers. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

Related: 26 Multicultural Poetry Books for Children

Toddler Two
by Anastasia Suen

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Toddler Two

“Toddler toddler, toddler two, two is the number just for you!” A boy and a girl discover everything that comes in twos: hands, feet, eyes, ears…  Toddler Two is an engaging and interactive board book with butterfly flaps and simple, repetitive text. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

Let’s go on a hike!
by Katrina Liu

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

“It’s a beautiful day! Let’s all go on a hike! Spend some time outdoors which I’m sure you will like!” Let’s Go On A Hike is a sweet rhyming story about a biracial family exploring nature on a family hike. Little readers can discover all the wonders of nature in this beautifully illustrated book. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families

Round is a Mooncake // Red Is a Dragon // One Is a Drummer
by Roseanne Thong

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Round Is A Mooncake Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Red Is A Dragon Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: One Is A Drummer

“Round is a mooncake, round is the moon, round are the lanterns outside my room,” sings the little heroine of Round Is A Mooncake as she explores her urban neighbourhood for all things round, square and rectangular. In Red Is A Dragon the little girl finds a rainbow of colours in her everyday life. In One Is A Drummer she counts her favourite things. Referencing Chinese festivals, this is a lovely series with bouncy verse and beautiful bright illustrations. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

More books about Asian festivals: 5 Children’s Books about the Dragon Boat Festival // 9 Children’s Books about the Chinese Moon Festival // 16 Children’s Books about Chinese New Year // Top 10 Diwali Children’s Books


Danbi Leads the School Parade
by Anna Kim

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

New in America, Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games at her school, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get it right. But 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 an irresistible new character who learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you. ~ Asian – Preschool

Thread of Love
by Kabir Sehgal

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Thread of Love

Follow three sweet siblings as they enjoy the Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan—a celebration of the special relationship between brothers and sisters. Thread of Love is a vibrant reinterpretation of the classic song Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping) from New York Times bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Picture Books About New Siblings

I Dream of Popo
by Livia Blackburne

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

“I dream with Popo as she rocks me in her arms. / I wave at Popo before I board my flight. / I talk to Popo from across the sea. / I tell Popo about my adventures.” When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. I Dream of Popo is an emotionally rich picture book that celebrates a special connection that crosses time zones and oceans as Popo and her granddaughter hold each other in their hearts forever. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Childrens Books about Grandparents

Bee-Bim Bop!
by Linda Sue Park

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Bee-bim Bop!

In this fast-paced book, a hungry girl helps her mother make Bee-Bim Bop!, a traditional Korean rice dish. In bouncy rhyming text coupled with whimsical illustrations, the story tells of shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and sitting down to enjoy a favourite meal with the family. Includes Linda Sue’s very own bee-bim bop recipe. ~ Asian – Preschool

The Paper Kingdom
by Helena Ku Rhee

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

When the babysitter is unable to come, Daniel is woken out of bed to join his parents at their jobs as nighttime office cleaners. But the story is about more than brooms, mops, and vacuums. Mama and Papa turn the deserted office building into a magnificent kingdom filled with paper. Then they weave a fantasy of dragons and kings to further engage their reluctant companion–and even encourage him to one day be the king of a paper kingdom. The Paper Kingdom expresses the joy and spirit of a loving family who turn an ordinary experience into something much grander. ~ Asian – Preschool

Super Satya Saves the Day
by Raakhee Mirchandani

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Super Satya Saves The Day

Meet Satya, a fiery Indian-American superhero, who is ready to conquer the tallest slide in Hoboken… until her mum tells her that her superhero cape is at the dry cleaner. Without her cape will she still be able to face her fears, help her friends, and be the true hero everyone knows she is? With engaging text and dynamic illustrations, Super Satya Saves The Day teaches children that they can be courageous and confident, cape or no cape. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 22 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring Superheroes

Sumi’s First Day of School Ever
by Joung Un Kim

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Sumi's First Day of School Ever

It is Sumi’s first day at school in the U.S. The young Korean girl doesn’t understand English and experiences school as a scary, lonely and even mean place. But with the help of an understanding teacher and a friendly classmate, Sumi soon discovers that school isn’t so scary after all. Sumi’s First Day of School Ever is a thoughtful picture book, beautifully illustrated with soft oil crayon drawings. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books about school

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
by Natasha Yim

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. Little Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears, eating up the rice porridge, breaking the rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend just in time for Chinese New Year. Includes an author’s note on the Chinese New Year and a turnip cake recipe. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 21 Children’s Books about the Chinese New Year

Who Likes Rain? // Summer Days and Nights // My Autumn Book // Tracks in the Snow
by Wong Herbert Yee

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Who Likes Rain? Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Summer Days and Nights Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: My Autumn Book Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers: Tracks in the Snow

Yee’s charming quartet follows an adventurous little girl as she experiences the different seasons. She has a rainy April day romp in Who likes Rain?; admires daisies in a meadow and gazes at the moonlit sky in Summer Days and Nights; watches chipmunks, squirrels, insects and fallen leaves in My Autumn Book, and follows her own Tracks in the Snow. The simple rhyming text, coupled with soft acrylic illustrations, give these little books a lovely gentle feel. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 15 Multicultural Children’s Books about Rain

Lubna and Pebble
by Wendy Meddour

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Living in a refugee camp, little Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories and always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does. Emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated, Lubna and Pebble explores one girl’s powerful act of friendship in the midst of utter uncertainty. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration


Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
by Kat Zhang

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

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? Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao is a a sweet and funny story about a little girl’s determination. ~ Asian – Preschool

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
by Joanna Ho

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers. She realizes that they 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. Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, the girl recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. Eyes That Kiss In The Corners is a powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born
by Miranda Paul

Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

A soon-to-be big sister and her parents wait for the arrival of a new baby, from a frosty wintery through a sun-dappled summer until the birth. With meticulously detailed, actual size illustrations, and lyrical yet informative text, Nine Months is a beautiful book, perfect for young children who are awaiting the birth of a sibling. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Picture Books About New Siblings

Mommy Sayang
by Rosana Sullivan

New Multicultural Children's Books April 2019

Little Aleeya loves to ask her mum if she will always be by her side, and Mommy always assures her that she will, Insh’Allah. But one day, Mommy becomes sick and Aleeya realizes she can always be by Mommy’s side. With a hibiscus flower in hand, Aleeya goes to Mommy’s bedside to bring her love and hope. Set in Malaysia, Mommy Sayang is a touching story about the strong bond between a mother and her daughter. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Mothers

Great Job, Dad!
by Holman Wang

At work, Dad might be a manager but at home, he has many different jobs, from a  receptionist scheduling important meetings (for playdates), an architect designing buildings (or pillow forts), to an inspector (of diapers!). With fun rhyme and gorgeous illustrations of needle-felted characters, Great Job Dad! is an original and sweet celebration of fathers. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers

A Big Mooncake for Little Star
by Grace Lin

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: A Big Mooncake For Little Star

“Pat, pat, pat… / Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.” Little Star loves baking mooncake with her mama. But what happens when she can’t resist a nibble before she is allowed to? Award-winning A Big Mooncake for Little Star is a stunning picture book that explains the phases of the moon. ~ Asian – Preschool

Ginger and Chrysanthemum
by Kristen Mai Giang

New Multicultural Children's Books October 2020

Cousins Ginger and Chrysanthemum are very close but totally different. Ginger is excitable and throws herself headfirst into any project. Chrysanthemum likes to plan and make lists. Planning Grandma’s birthday together is a pretty huge challenge.  Ginger and Chrysanthemum is a sweet story that shows that affection is stronger than differences. ~ Asian – Preschool

Leila in Saffron
by Rukhsanna Guidroz

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2019

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. Vibrantly illustrated Leila In Saffron takes young readers on a colourful journey of self-discovery and identity. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Golden Blooms: Celebrating Tet-Vietnamese Lunar New Year
by Y.T. Tran

Children's Books About The Lunar New Year

Tet –the most important holiday in Vietnam–  is celebrated with many unique traditions. With colourful illustrations and simple text, Golden Blooms describes these traditions, from the yellow apricot tree to the long rolls of sticky rice and mung beans wrapped in banana leaves and the candied fruit and vegetables. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 28 Children’s Books About The Lunar New Year

I Live in Tokyo
by Mari Takabayashi

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: I Live in Tokyo

I live in Tokyo follows seven-year-old Mimiko through a year of fun, food and festivities in Japan’s bustling capital. Month by month, little readers learn about Mimiko’s favourite meals and many Japanese customs, from tea ceremonies to how to put on a kimono. This lively picture book with its detailed, bright illustrations is a great introduction to Japanese life and traditions. ~ Asian – Preschool


Laxmi’s Mooch
by Shelly Anand

Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over–on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns to accept her body hair. With affirming text and endearing illustrations, Laxmi’s Mooch is a celebration of body confidence and heritage. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Fortune Cookie Fortunes // The Ugly Vegetables // Dim Sum for Everyone! // Kite Flying
by Grace Lin

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: Fortune Cookie Fortunes Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: The Ugly Vegetables Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: Dim Sum For EveryoneAsian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: Kite Flying

At the end of a family meal out, everyone opens their fortune cookies. Little Pacy wonders if her Fortune Cookie Fortunes will come true, and starts noticing magical things happening in her family. In The Ugly Vegetables, a little girl finds her neighbour’s flower garden much prettier than her family’s vegetable garden… until those ugly Chinese vegetables become the tastiest soup! Dim Sum for Everyone! celebrates the cultural custom of picking small dishes and sharing them with everyone at the table. Kite Flying shows the same family building and flying their own dragon kite. The spare text and simple stories, accentuated by brightly  illustrations, make for a very appealing read for preschoolers. ~ Asian – Preschool

Also by Grace Lin: Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival // Bringing In the New Year

Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist
by Julie Leung

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 his immigration papers. Once in America, Tyrus seized every opportunity to make art, eventually enrolling at an art institute in Los Angeles. Working as a janitor at night, his mop twirled like a paintbrush in his hands. Eventually, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime… Paper Son tells the inspiring story of animator Tyrus Wong, the artist who brought Disney’s Bambi to life. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding
by Lenore Look

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding

The whole family is looking forward to Uncle Peter’s wedding… except Jenny. While everyone is preparing for the traditional Chinese wedding, Jenny worries that she won’t be Uncle Peter’s number one anymore. Maybe she can stop the wedding? Vibrantly illustrated Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding is a charming picture book that highlights many traditions of a Chinese wedding, from the tea ceremony to good-luck money and the bride’s many different dresses. ~ Asian – Preschool

Role Models Who Look Like Me: Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Who Made History
by Jasmine Cho

Rhymes and watercolour illustrations walk readers through the stories of various Asian American and Pacific Islander changemakers who are largely missing from U.S. history classes. Role Models Who Look Like Me was created to fill what was missing from the author’s childhood; to give representation to the underrepresented and to raise the visibility of the invisible. ~ Asian – Preschool

Grandfather Gandhi // Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story
by Arun Ghandi

Multicultural Children's Books about grandparents: Grandfather Ghandi Multicultural Children's Books about grandparents: Be The Change

12-year-old Arun travels to India to live in Grandfather Gandhi’s village. He worries about living up to his grandfather’s extraordinary example. Like all children, Arun sometimes gets frustrated and erupts in anger. Ghandi teaches his grandson that anger is human and how to turn darkness into light. Grandfather Ghandi is touching personal account, brought to life by unique three-dimensional mixed-media collages. Be The Change follows Arun as his grandfather teaching him about the damage of wastefulness. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 21 Multicultural Children’s Books About Feelings

Lin Yi’s Lantern
by Brenda Williams

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Lin Yi's Lantern

Lin Yi really wants a red rabbit lantern for the Moon Festival. When his mother sends him to the local market to buy food, he tries his best to barter in order to have money left for the lantern. Lin Yi’s Lantern is a gentle story about temptation and selflessness, complemented by the most expressive gouache illustrations. Includes information on market life in China, the traditional Moon Festival, and instructions for making a Chinese lantern. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 9 Children’s Books about the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
by Kyo Maclear

Growing up in California, Gyo Fujikawa always knew that she wanted to be an artist. During World War II, Gyo’s family was forced to abandon everything and was taken to an internment camp in Arkansas. Far away from home, Gyo worked as an illustrator in New York while her innocent family was imprisoned. Seeing the diversity around her and feeling pangs from her own childhood, Gyo became determined to show all types of children in the pages of her books. It Began With A Page is a heartfelt picture book biography about a groundbreaking Japanese American hero in the fight for racial diversity in picture books. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40 Multicultural Children’s Books About Fabulous Female Artists

The Name Jar
by Yangsook Choi

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: The Name Jar

Just having moved to the US from Korea, Unhei worries that her new classmates won’t be able to pronounce her name. She tells them that she will choose a name later. Her classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and start filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. After trying some names, Unei decides to stick with her real name. The Name Jar is a beautifully illustrated, engaging story about valuing your roots and your uniqueness. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Grandmother’s Visit
by Betty Quan

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Grandmother's Visit

Grace has a close bond with her grandmother who lives with her family. Grandmother teaches her how to measure water for rice, tells her stories about growing up in China and walks her to and from school every day. But one day, Grandmother’s room is empty. After the funeral, Grace’s mom turns on all the outside lights so that Grandmother’s spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye. With expressive illustrations, award-winning Grandmother’s Visit is a gentle and poignant story about love, loss and grief. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents


Time for Bed, Miyuki
by Roxane Marie Galliez

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Time For Bed, Muyuki

Every parent has experienced this: Just when it is bedtime, children come up with all sorts of important stuff they still need to do! For Miyuki, it is watering the vegetables, gathering snails, and building a canopy for the arrival of the Dragonfly Queen. Her patient grandfather follows along on her adventures, gently encouraging her to go to sleep. Time for Bed, Miyuki is a gorgeously illustrated story about family, nature, and love. ~ Asian – Preschool

Also available: Patience, Miyuki // Thank You, Miyuki

Hair Twins
by Raakhee Mirchandani

Every morning Papa combs through his daughter’s waves like he does his own—parting it down the middle, using coconut oil to get all the tangles out. Some days he braids her hair in two twists down the side of her face. Other days he weaves it into one long braid hanging down her back, just like a unicorn tail. But her favorite style is when he combs her hair in a tight bun on the top of her head, just like the joora he wears every day under his turban. They call this their hair twin look! Hair Twins is charming story about a Sikh father and daughter with a special hair bond. ~ Asian – Preschool

The Empty Pot
by Demi

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: The Empty Pot

In this retelling of a Chinese Folk Tale, the Emperor decides to choose an heir by giving a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he proclaims, “shall succeed me to the throne!”. Despite tending to it every day, little Ping’s seed just won’t grow and he must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. The Empty Pot has a lovely message about turning failure into triumph through honesty. ~ Asian – Preschool

Ladder to the Moon
by Maya Soetoro-Ng

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: Ladder to the Moon

From Barack Obama’s Indonesian born half-sister comes this gem of a book. With lyrical text and beautiful artwork, Ladder to the Moon relays the loving wisdom of the author’s late mother to the young granddaughter she never met. A golden ladder appears at Suhaila’s window one night and Grandma Annie invites her to come along on a journey. ~ Asian – Preschool

Also available with CD: Ladder to the Moon with CD

A Morning with Grandpa
by Sylvia Liu

Multicultural Children's Books about grandparents: A Morning with Grandpa

Mei Mei joins her grandfather as he practices tai chi in the garden. As Gong Gong teaches her the slow, graceful movements, and Mei Mei enthusiastically adds her own flair to them. Then it’s Mei Mei’s turn to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school. With lively spirit and humor, A Morning With Grandpa shows the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Where is Amma?
by Nandini Nayar

Little Karan can’t find his mother (“amma”). Together with his cat, he looks for her everywhere, even in the fridge, wondering if it is not too cold in there. With simple text and colourful watercolour illustrations, Where Is Amma? is a charming picture book children everywhere will enjoy. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 14 Multicultural Children’s Books about Mothers

In the Snow // In the Leaves // In the Park // At the Beach
by Huy Voun Lee

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: In The Snow Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: In The Leaves Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: In the Park Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Preschool: At The Beach

These beautiful little books offer a simple introduction to Chinese character writing. In the Snow shows a mother and her son using the snow as a canvas for learning new Chinese characters. In the Leaves follows Xiao Ming and his friends on an autumn trip to a farm. In the Park depicts him and his mother writing words for all the signs of spring around them. At the Beach, they make Chinese words by drawing pictures in the sand. ~ Asian – Preschool

Dear Juno
by Soyung Pak

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Dear Juno

Juno and his grandmother love writing letters to each other. Juno sends drawings, his grandmother letters in Korean and photos. One day she even sends a miniature aeroplane to let Juno know that she is coming to visit. Dear Juno is a warm and tender story about family far away. The richly illustrated picture book won the Ezra Jack Keats award. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Elementary School

The Yellow Suitcase
by Meera Sriram

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2019

Young Asha travels with her parents from America to India to mourn her grandmother’s passing. Asha’s grief and anger are compounded by the empty yellow suitcase usually reserved for gifts to and from Grandma, but when she discovers a gift left behind just for her, Asha realizes that the memory of her grandmother will live on inside her. The Yellow Suitcase is a thoughtful picture book about family, love and loss. ~ Asian – Elementary School

My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder
by Nie Jun

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: My Beijing

“People think I’m different,” Yu’er says to her grandfather. “Oh, who cares what they think!”, is his immediate response. In four whimsical graphic short stories, award-winning My Beijing follows a young girl with an unspecified disability and her loving grandfather on their magical little adventures, from finding a creative way for training for the Special Olympics to showing a cranky painter the sweet side of life. ~ Asian – Elementary School

by Helen Recorvits

Multicultural Book Series: My Name is Yoon Multicultural Book Series: Yoon and the Christmas Mitten Multicultural Book Series: Yoon and the Jade Bracelet

Follow little Yoon, starting with her arrival from Korea, to experiencing Christmas and her birthday in a new country. With simple text and stunning illustrations of subtle grace, the Yoon series tells the story of a young girl and her family’s adjustment to life in the U.S. whilst honouring their own culture and traditions. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade
by Lyla Lee

Children's Books About The Lunar New Year

Even though it’s the first Lunar New Year without her mom, Mindy is determined to enjoy the day. Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade follows the adorable protagonist as she makes her favourite Korean New Year food, a rice cake soup. But things aren’t going to plan, and the celebration doesn’t feel the same as it did before. With the help of her family and friends, can Mindy find a way to still enjoy her old holiday traditions, and create new ones along the way? ~ Asian – Elementary School

Also available: The Mindy Kim Collection

Related: 28 Children’s Books About The Lunar New Year

The Girl in the Gold Dress
by Christine Paik

10-year-old Hannah is facing a big performance for her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s ashamed of her dress, the dance, even the music – they’re too different, too Korean! That changes when she learns about the gold dress’s mysterious connection to her name and her family’s past, starting with a desperate escape from war and a secret wish hidden for decades in an envelope. Can Hannah make that wish finally come true? Spanning four generations, The Girl In The Gold Dress is a touching story about a young girl who is learning to be proud of her heritage. ~ Asian – Elementary School

by Mượn Thị Văn

Told through the eyes of a young girl, this is the powerful story of one Vietnamese family’s search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting impact this journey has on the girl. With sparse, lyrical text and expressive illustrations, Wishes is a moving reflection on immigration, family, and home. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Ten Cents a Pound
by Nhung N. Tran-Davies

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Ten Cents A Pound

A young girl in an unnamed Asian country dreams of going to school but is afraid to leave her mother and her village behind. Her mother who works in the coffee fields encourages her to go, and each time the girl mentions a reason to stay she reminds her: “Ten cents a pound is what I’ll earn.” Ten Cents A Pound is a poetic and heartfelt story about love, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories
by Liana Romulo

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories presents thirteen well-loved myths and tales from the Philippines, complemented by colourful illustrations. These stories will enchant readers around the world with their wit and charm. Many of the tales have been transmitted from mother to child over centuries, and cover classic childhood themes—such as the forces of good triumphing over evil, children rebelling against evil adults and the weak prevailing over the strong. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Also available: Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories // Indonesian Children’s Favorite Stories // Thai Children’s Favorite Stories // Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories // Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories // Korean Children’s Favorite Stories // Indian Children’s Favorite Stories

Apple Pie Fourth of July
by Janet S. Wong

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Elementary School: Apple Pie 4th of July

A young Asian American girl struggles with the fact that her parents want to sell Chinese food on the 4th of July. She is convinced that nobody will want to eat Chinese food on an all-American holiday but learns a surprising lesson. Apple Pie 4th of July is a simple and charming story about cultural differences and a child’s fears of not fitting in. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Ghosts for Breakfast
by Stanley Todd Terasaki

Multicultural Children's Books about Fathers: Ghosts for Breakfast

The troublesome triplets, Mr Omi, Mr Omaye, and Mr Ono, ask the young narrator’s father for help: They have just seen dozens of ghosts in the fields! So father and son set out in the dark to hunt the ghosts. Set in a Japanese American farming community in the 1920s, Ghosts for Breakfast is a light-hearted father-and-son story about overcoming your fears and the effects of jumping to conclusions. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers


Drawn Together
by Minh Lê

Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018: Drawn Together

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. With little text and vibrant illustrations, Drawn Together is a stunningly beautiful picture book about love, connection and overcoming barriers. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

The Peace Bell
by Margi Preus

Yuko’s grandmother remembers that when she was a little girl many years ago in Japan, her town’s beautiful temple bell was taken away to be used as scrap metal for the war. She thought she’d never see it again. After the war the bell was brought to America by a U.S. Navy crew who found it abandoned in a Japanese shipyard. The bell was later returned to Japan as a gesture of friendship between the former warring countries. Told in evocative prose, The Peace Bell is an inspiring story based on the American-Japanese Friendship Peace Bell. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 33 Multicultural Children’s Books about Peace

Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll
by Sunny Seki

Multicultural Children's Books teaching Kindness & Empathy: Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll

Adventurous blind orphan Yuko-Chan crosses treacherous Japanese mountain passes to deliver food to hungry people. One day, she falls down a snowy cliff. As she waits for help, she notices that her frozen tea gourd always lands right-side-up. Inspired by this, she creates the famous Daruma doll, which rights itself when tipped. By selling the dolls, the villagers can earn a living and feed themselves. Award-winning bilingual Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll is a charming story about empathy, perseverance and resilience. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 8 Multicultural Children’s Books Featuring Blind Children

by Lisa Yee


9-year-old Bobby Ellis-Chan’s biggest problems in life are girls, dancing on stage in the school musical, and not living up to his retired football star father’s expectations. Young boys will love Bobby’s wild and out of control dilemmas and adventures in this smart and funny chapter books series. ~ Asian – Elementary School 

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

The Seed of Compassion
by His Holiness The Dalai Lama

For the first time ever, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses children directly, sharing lessons of peace and compassion. One of today’s most inspiring world leaders was once an ordinary child named Lhamo Thondup. In a small village in Tibet, his mother was his first great teacher of compassion. In everyday moments from his childhood, young readers begin to see that important lessons are all around us. With simple, powerful text and vibrant illustrations, The Seed of Compassion offers guidance and encouragement to young children. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
by Simran Jeet Singh

NEW Multicultural Children's Books August 2020

“Every step forward is a victory.” Fauja Singh was born with legs that wouldn’t allow him to play cricket with his friends or carry him to school miles from his village in Punjab. But that didn’t stop him. At the age of 81, after a lifetime of making his body, mind, and heart stronger, Fauja decided to run his first marathon. He went on to break records all around the world and became the first person over 100 to complete the grueling long-distance race. Fauja Singh Keeps Going is an inspiring true story about determination and commitment. ~ Asian – Elementary School

by Andrea Wang

Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch. The whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the snail covered watercress as they can. At first, the young girl is 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. Beautifully illustrated Watercress is a moving autobiographical story of a child of immigrants discovering and connecting with her heritage. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

My Father’s Boat
by Sherry Garland

Multicultural Children's Books about Fathers: My Father's Boat

A Vietnamese immigrant father and his American-born son head out into the Gulf of Mexico on their shrimp boat. The boy learns all about shrimp fishing, and – more importantly – he hears his father’s stories about his own father, a shrimp fisherman on the South China Sea, and about the war that separated them. With breathtaking seascapes and lyrical text, My Father’s Boat is a moving story about three generations of fishermen. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers

Suki’s Kimono
by Chieri Uegaki

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Suki's Kimono

Spunky little Suki wears her favourite kimono on her first day back to school. A gift from her obachan, it holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer. Initially, her classmates laugh but Suki soon wins them over by telling them about the street festival she attended with her grandmother and even doing an impromptu dance. Suki’s Kimono is a lighthearted story of courage and independence, complemented by cheerful watercolour illustrations. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

Ruby Lu
by Lenore Look

Multicultural Book Series: Ruby Lu Multicultural Book Series: Ruby Lu Multicultural Book Series: Ruby Lu

Most of the time Ruby Lu loves being Ruby Lu: When she is the star of her own magic show, gives talks at assembly, or rides the bus to Chinatown. But sometimes she finds it hard to be Ruby Lu: When she has to go to Chinese school, her father loses her job, or her deaf cousin from China comes to live with her family. Ruby Lu is a delightful early chapter book series following the adventures of a spunky, resourceful Asian American girl. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys


Grandfather’s Journey
by Allen Say

Multicultural Children's Books about grandparents: Grandfather's Journey

Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, this lyrical picture book tells the story of Say’s grandfather’s immigration from Japan to the U.S. Crossing the Pacific on a steamship, he arrives in North America and explores the land by train, by riverboat and on foot. Grandfather’s Journey is a deeply personal account of one man’s love for two countries, beautifully illustrated with elegant watercolour paintings. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Tea with Milk continues the author’s family story, this time focusing on his mother’s experiences.

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Pan de Sal Saves the Day
by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco

Young Filipina Pan de Sal thinks she’s the unluckiest girl in the whole world. Aside from not liking her own name and finding her appearance strange, she doesn’t have all the fancy things her classmates have. She can’t even muster the courage to try out for the Glee Club, even though she has a beautiful voice. But when an unexpected event forces her into the limelight, Pan de Sal finds the confidence to fulfill her dreams. For anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or experienced adversity, award-winning Pan de Sal Saves the Day is a heart-warming story about valuing your own unique qualities. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Asian-Americans Who Inspire Us
by Analiza Quiroz Wolf

Beautifully illustrated Asian-Americans Who Inspire Us shares the amazing stories of 16 Asian-Americans who changed the world. The stories bring to life Vietnam Memorial architect Maya Lin, Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi, musician Yo-Yo Ma, astronaut Ellison Onizuka, anchorwoman Lisa Ling, activists Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, and more! ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Diverse Children’s Anthologies About Trailblazing Women

Grandmother School
by Rina Singh

Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, Grandmother School tells the moving story of a grandmother who goes to school for the first time in her life. Every morning, a young girl beams with pride as she walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. This gorgeously illustrated picture book celebrates family, women and the power of education. ~ Asian – Elementary School

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story
by Tina Cho

NEW Multicultural Children's Books August 2020

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo (freediver) just like Grandma. Korean women have been diving off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea for centuries. Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge and practices holding her breath. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts. The Ocean Calls is a breathtaking picture book about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee
by Julie Leung

Hazel Ying Lee was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. Despite people scoffing at her dream of becoming a pilot, Hazel persevered and joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. The Fearless Flights Of Hazel Ying Lee is a moving, true story about the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Diverse Children’s Anthologies About Trailblazing Women

Shark Lady
by Jess Keating

Multicultural Children's Books About Women In STEM

This beautiful new picture book tells the inspiring story of brave ichthyologist Eugenie Cark. After seeing sharks at the aquarium for the first time in the early 1930’s, 9-year-old Eugenie decided to dedicate her life to studying them and sharing their beauty with the world. She went on to become an internationally respected scientific authority as well as a fierce advocate for the misunderstood predators, earning her the nickname “Shark Lady.” ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

The Most Beautiful Thing
by Kao Kalia Yang

New Multicultural Children's Books October 2020

Based on the author’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture follows Kalia’s family from the jungles of Laos to their early years in the United States. When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and wants braces to improve her smile, her grandmother — who has just one tooth in her mouth — helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. With stunning illustrations, The Most Beautiful Thing is a tender intergenerational tale about hardship, family and love. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Sugar in Milk
by Thrity Umrigar

New Multicultural Children's Books October 2020

A young girl joins her aunt and uncle in a new country. She longs for her culture and and her home, until one day, her aunt tells her an old myth, and a story within the story begins. A long time ago, when a group of refugees arrived on a foreign shore, the King tried to tell them that the land was full by showing them a glass full of milk. But the leader of the refugees dissolved sugar in the milk, showing the King that the refugees’ presence will sweeten life in his country. Sugar in Milk is a moving picture book about the power of diversity, acceptance, and tolerance. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Cora cooks Pancit
by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Cora Cooks Pancit

Little Cora is excited: Today she gets the be her mom’s assistant chef! Together they prepare pancit, her favourite Filipino noodle dish. Cora helps with all the grown-up jobs, from shredding the chicken to stirring the noodles carefully in the pot. At dinner time Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking. Cora Cooks Pancit is a delightful picture book that captures the warmth between mother and daughter beautifully. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 14 Multicultural Children’s Books about Mothers


Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
by Teresa Robeson

Multicultural Children's Books About Women In STEM

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. Award-winning Queen of Physics follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become the first female instructor at Princeton University, the first female President of the American Physical Society, and the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive. ~ Asian – Elementary School

A Path of Stars
by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: A Path of Stars

Dara loves her grandmother’s stories about growing up in Cambodia. Lok Yeay tells of the fruits and plants that grew there, and how her family would sit in their yard and watch the stars that glowed like fireflies. Lok Yeay’s dream of going back one day to see her brother is disrupted when she gets a phone call with sad news. Little Dara becomes determined to bring her grandmother back to a place of happiness. A Path of Stars is a touching story about family and loss. ~ Asian – Elementary School

The Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Big Red Lollipop

When Rubina comes home with her first birthday-party invitation, her mother asks why people in the US celebrate birthdays, as in Pakistan they do not. Rubina has to take her little sister along despite her insistence that “they don’t do that here.”  Not only does little Sana demand to win every game, but she also steals Rubina’s prized party favour. Big Red Lollipop is a fresh picture book with a clever storyline and irresistible illustrations. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines
by Jeanne Walker Harvey

Multicultural Children's Books About Women In STEM: Maya Lin

Bestselling Maya Lin tells the story of the bold artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Starting with her childhood, young readers will learn that Maya loved exploring the forest in her backyard and building tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet grew up with art and went from her first experiments with light and lines to nationwide success. ~ Asian – Elementary School

A Different Pond
by Bao Phi

Bao and his father wake early every day to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, they fish for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father tells him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. With evocative illustrations, award-winning A Different Pond is a powerful story about the relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new.  ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers

The Key Collection
by Andrea Cheng

Multicultural Children's Books about grandparents: The Key Collection

10-year-old Jimmy loves spending time with his grandmother, Ni Ni. She teaches him Chinese characters, shows him her key collection, cooks delicious jiao zi for him and tells him about her childhood in Shanghai. When Ni Ni moves to San Francisco to live with his aunt, Jimmy is devastated. In time, however, Jimmy discovers there are ways to bridge the distance, and makes new friends in the process. The Key Collection is a reassuring chapter book story about a special relationship, illustrated with black-and-white drawings. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin
by Chieri Uegaki

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin

Inspired by her grandfather in Japan who used to play in an orchestra, Hana starts studying violin and after only three lessons signs up for the school talent show. Despite her brother’s teasing, she is determined to play her best and practices every day. At the show, Hana surprises everyone – even herself. Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin is a delightful picture book that celebrates music, individuality and the special bond between a child and a grandparent. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’ s Books about Grandparents

Alvin Ho
by Lenore Look


Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything – girls, camping, birthday parties, babies, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man. A  drop-dead-funny and touching series with a truly unforgettable character, perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

Middle School

Prairie Lotus
by Linda Sue Park

Young half-Asian Hanna lives in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880. Her adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople’s almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story. Prairie Lotus is a powerful and touching book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. ~ Asian – Middle School

Measuring Up
by Lily LaMotte

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together. Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food. Measuring Up is a heart-warming graphic novel about family and identity.  ~ Asian – Middle School

American as Paneer Pie
by Supriya Kelkar

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Being the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation about her culture at all costs. When another Desi girl moves across the street, Lekha is excited to finally have a friend who gets it. But Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha. She proudly displays her culture and doesn’t take the bullying quietly. When a racist incident rocks the community, Lekha must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late. Full of humour and heart, American As Paneer Pie is a brilliant middle grade novel about prejudice and the power of your own voice. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Middle School: The Great Wall Of Lucy Lu

Nothing goes as planned for Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer. The feisty Sixth Grader has to share her room with her great-aunt visiting from China, a bully tries to push her out of the basketball team, and she has to attend Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. The Great Wall of Lucy Wu is a funny and heartwarming story about a young girl’s frustrations and struggles, from typical middle school problems to finding cultural identity. ~ Asian – Middle School

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Front Desk

Ten-year-old aspiring writer Mia Tang manages the front desk of a motel where her immigrant parents clean the rooms. If the mean motel owner, Mr Yao, finds out they’ve been letting other immigrants stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Featuring an irresistible protagonist, award-winning Front Desk is an engaging middle-grade novel about immigration, poverty and resilience. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Three Keys (A Front Desk Novel)
by Kelly Yang

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Mia Tang thinks she’s going to have the best year ever. She gets to run the front desk of Calivista Motel with her best friend, Lupe, and she’s finally getting somewhere with her writing. But Mia’s new teacher doesn’t think her writing is all that great. And her entire class finds out she lives and works in a motel! On top of that, the motel is struggling and a new immigration law is looming that will threaten everything — and everyone — in Mia’s life if it passes. It’s a roller coaster of challenges, and Mia needs all of her determination to hang on tight. Three Keys is the powerful and hilarious sequel to the award-winning novel Front Desk. ~ Asian – Middle School

Due to be released September 2021: Room to Dream (A Front Desk Novel)

Half and Half
by Lensey Namioka

Middle Grade Novels With Multiracial Characters: Half and Half

Fiona Cheng is half Chinese, half Scottish. Looking more like her father than her mother, people always expect her to be more interested in her Chinese culture than her Scottish one. Lately, even Fiona is confused about who she really is. Half and Half is a gentle, funny and realistic story about a young girl’s struggle to fit in. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 21 Middle Grade Novels With Multiracial Characters

Save Me a Seat
by Gita Varadarajan

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Save Me A Seat

Save Me A Seat is told from the points of view of Ravi, who recently arrived in the US from India, and Joe, whose best friend has just moved away. Both boys attend Fifth Grade at the same school and – each in their own way – struggle to acclimatise to the new situation. Over the course of a single crazy week, they find out that they have more in common than they thought: Dillon Samreen, the school’s biggest bully. Together Ravi and Joe try to take control of their lives. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Night Diary
by Veera Hiranandan

2019 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award-Winners: The Night Diary

After India has been divided into two countries (India and Pakistan), 12-year-old half-Muslim/half-Hindu Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs anymore. Her family embarks on a dangerous journey to find a new home. Told through Nisha’s letters to her late mother, The Night Diary is a poignant story of loss, identity and hope. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan


Blackbird Fly
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Blackbird Fly

Twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different from her classmates. She and her mother immigrated from the Philippines when she was little. Her mother still cooks Filipino foods and gives Apple a hard time for becoming “too American.” When her friendships become difficult, Apple turns to music and starts saving for a guitar. Acclaimed Blackbird Fly is a heartfelt story about family, friendship, identity and finding your own way. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about friendship

Pacy Lin
by Grace Lin

Multicultural Book Series: Pacy Lin Multicultural Book Series: Pacy LinMulticultural Book Series: Pacy Lin

Drawing from the author’s own childhood experiences, this series follows a young Taiwanese-American girl as she navigates living with two very different cultures. Pacy Lin encounters prejudice, struggles with acceptance, and has to learn to deal with change. Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one’s passion in life make the Pacy Lin series appealing to readers of all backgrounds. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

When You Trap a Tiger
by Tae Keller

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her Halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal–return what her grandmother stole in exchange for her health–Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! Award-winning When You Trap A Tiger is a sparkling tale about courage, the power of stories and the magic of family. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

Not Your All-American Girl
by W. Wan-Long Shang & M. Rosenberg

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Best friends Lauren and Tara both try out for the upcoming school play. Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role, and their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the every girl star from Pleasant Valley, USA? When Lauren just can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again? Not Your All-American Girl is a middle-grade novel full of heart and hilarity. ~ Asian – Middle School

Project Mulberry
by Linda Sue Park

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Project Mulberry

Spunky Julia and her friend Patrick are trying to decide on a project for the country fair. Julia’s mother suggests they raise silkworms as she did years ago in Korea. Although all-American Julia finds that a little too ‘Korean’, they go ahead and soon realize that raising silkworms is a lot tougher than they thought. Project Mulberry is a fun story about prejudice, acceptance, and finding a good source of Mulberry leaves, framed by an entertaining dialogue between Julia and the author herself. ~ Asian – Middle School

Brother’s Keeper
by Julie Lee

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Twelve-year-old Sora and her family live under an iron set of rules in 1950’s North Korea: No travel without a permit, no criticism of the government, no absences from Communist meetings, and many more. The family decides to use the chaos of the war to escape on foot from their tiny mountain village to the South Korean city of Busan. But an incendiary bombing changes everything, and Sora and her little brother Young will have to get to Busan on their own. Can the two siblings survive three hundred miles of warzone in winter? Brother’s Keeper is a harrowing debut novel that young readers won’t be able to put down. ~ Asian – Middle School

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin

Asian Multicultural Children's Books - Middle School: Where the mountain meets the moon

Opening each chapter with her own colourful drawings, Lin tells the enchanting story of a poor girl who sets out to find the secret to good fortune. On her magical adventure, Minli encounters danger, humour and wisdom, and befriends a dragon who cannot fly. A mixture of fantasy and Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a beautiful and timeless story about the evils of greed and the joy that comes from being thankful. ~ Asian – Middle School

American Born Chinese
by Gene Luen Yang

Asian Asian & Asian American Children's Books: American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that masterfully weaves together three plotlines: Chinese folk hero Monkey King’s efforts to be respected as a god; lonely Asian American Jin Wang’s attempts to fit in with his white classmates; and All-American Danny’s embarrassment at his – purposefully stereotypical – Chinese cousin’s behaviour. This award-winning book explores the issues of identity and belonging, stereotypes and perceptions, love and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Anna Wang
by Andrea Cheng

Multicultural Book Series: Anna Wang Multicultural Book Series: Anna Wang Multicultural Book Series: Anna Wang Multicultural Book Series: Anna Wang

This series follows Anna Wang year by year from Grade 4 to 7. One year she learns about the ups and downs of friendships, the next is all about the adoption of a baby sibling from China, the following about identity and going on a trip to China, and in the last one Anna learns about family values in today’s Chinese culture. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys


All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team
by Christina Soontornvat

On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in Thailand seeking an afternoon’s adventure. But when they turn to leave, rising floodwaters block their path out. Before long, news of the missing team spreads, launching a seventeen-day rescue operation involving thousands of rescuers from around the globe. With firsthand interviews of rescue workers, photographs, in-depth science and details of the region’s culture and religion, award-winning All Thirteen masterfully shows how both the complex engineering operation above ground and the mental struggles of the thirteen young people below proved critical in the life-or-death mission. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story
by Jim Di Bartolo

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 – in both the hour and the year of the dragon. He grew up as a child in Hong Kong when it was occupied by the Japanese, was the object of discrimination and bullying, and grappling against the influence of gangs as a teenager. Told in spectacular graphic form, The Boy Who Became A Dragon tells the story of how Bruce Lee found his salvation through kung fu and became a global star. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything
by Uma Krishnaswami

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Eleven-year-old Bollywood movie fan Dini is excited that her family will be moving to India for two years. She imagines her new life in Bombay, the centre of Bollywood and home to Dini’s favourite favourite star, Dolly Singh. Her disappointment is huge when she learns that the family is moving to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. But she soon finds out that small villages can have surprises! The Grand Plan to Fix Everything is a vibrant novel with a charming protagonist and colourful descriptions of Indian culture and daily life. ~ Asian – Middle School

Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story)
by Daniel Nayeri

In a classroom in Oklahoma, Khosrou (whom everyone calls “Daniel”) tries to tell his story. But no one believes a word he says. To his classmates he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny, who makes things up and talks about poop too much. But Khosrou’s stories stretch back years, decades and centuries — from the moment his family fled Iran with the secret police moments behind them, to the cement refugee camps of Italy, back to the fields near the river Aras, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. Everything Sad Is Untrue is a beautifully told and powerful story of hardship, loss and resilience. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time
by Lisa Yee

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Stanford Wong

Sixth Grader Stanford Wong is in trouble. His lack of interest in academics lands him in summer school with “the world’s biggest nerdball”, Millicent Min. Stanford tries to hide his summer school attendance from his basketball friends, whilst pursuing his crush and dealing with his grandmother’s dementia. Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time is a warm and funny story about a boy’s growth as a person. ~ Asian – Middle School

Also available: Millicent Min, Girl Genius

Fly on the Wall
by Remy Lai

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. And he definitely CAN’T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself! But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family.. Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he’s on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure ever. . . hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever. Written in diary style, Fly on the Wall takes readers on a hilarious adventure with an endearing protagonist. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Thing about Luck
by Cynthia Kadohata

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: The Thing about Luck

Kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, but this year 12-year old Summer’s family has none of it. With her parents away in Japan to care for relatives, Summer and her younger brother have to help their grandparents with the hard harvesting work. Award-winning The Thing about Luck is a gentle and sometimes funny exploration of family bonds and a young girl’s journey to self-actualization. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 21 Multicultural Middle-Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Listen, Slowly
by Thanhha Lai

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Listen, Slowly

Instead of spending her holidays at the beach, Californian girl Mai has to accompany her grandmother to Vietnam. Her parents are hoping that the trip will connect their out-of-touch daughter with her roots, but Mai struggles with the foreign country and its culture. Bestselling Listen, Slowly is an irresistible and poignant story about the true meaning of home, culture, family and friends. The paperback edition includes a letter from the author, a Vietnamese glossary and a pronunciation guide. ~ Asian – Middle School

Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo
by Greg Leitich Smith

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Ninja, Piranhas and Galileo

Friends Elias, Shohei and Honoria are trying to tackle their Seventh Grade science project together. All three of them have more pressing issues to deal with though: Elias is secretly in love with Honoria who has a crush on Shohei who is busy fending off his adoptive parents’ overly eager attempts to acquaint him with his Japanese heritage. Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo is a witty story about friendship and honesty, featuring quirky characters reminiscent of the ones in Harry Potter. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Land of Forgotten Girls
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Land Of Forgotten Girls

Abandoned by their father, sisters Soledad and Ming from the Philippines live in Louisiana with their evil stepmother. All they have is the stories their deceased mother used to tell them about the travels of her magical sister. The stories give the sisters hope, but for little Ming they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. Sol needs to find a way to pull her sister back into reality. Mixing fantasy and realism, The Land of Forgotten Girls is an enchanting middle-grade novel about sisterhood, hope and the power of imagination. ~ Asian – Middle School

The House That Lou Built
by Mae Respicio 

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The House That Lou Built

Lou Bulosan-Nelson plans to build a tiny house on land she inherited from her dad. She longs for a place where she can escape her lovable but crazy extended Filipino family. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer. With Lou’s determination and the help of friends and relatives, her dream eventually begins to take shape. The House That Lou Build is a warm coming-of-age story about culture and family, forgiveness and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

Somewhere Among
by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Somewhere Among

11-year-old Ema is looking forward to the arrival of her baby sibling. Finally, someone who will understand how it feels to be half American and half Japanese. But spending the summer with her grandparents in Japan is difficult for Ema: Her harsh grandmother, her mother’s tricky pregnancy, and then their stay is extended and she must attend a new school, once again not fitting in. When the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away, and her grandfather falls ill, Ema feels more helpless than ever and learns about the tender side and the strength of her grandmother. Written in free-verse, Somewhere Among is a heartfelt middle-grade novel about family, loneliness and hope. ~ Asian – Middle School

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story
by Susan Tan

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2019

Chinese-American 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: She is in fifth grade and, unlike her classmates, not at all ready to start middle school; she has to look after two younger sisters who don’t get along, and her beloved grandfather YeYe has had a stroke and forgotten his English. With humour, heart and an endearing main character, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story will appeal to young readers entering middle school, especially aspiring young writers. ~ Asian – Middle School

A Thousand Questions
by Sadiaa Faruqi

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal. The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score. Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. A Thousand Questions is a tender story about two friends from very different backgrounds coming to understand each other. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020

Farah Rocks Fifth Grade
by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are hoping to attend sixth grade at the Magnet Academy. But when new girl Dana Denver  starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown School. She comes up with a plan– but that plan involves lying to those closest to her. The first book in the new series, Farah Rocks Fifth Grade is a heartwarming story about family, friendship and bullying. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books about Bullying

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet
by Zanib Mian

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Omar is not excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! When Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up — until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare. Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Accidental Trouble Magnet is the first book in the hilarious Planet Omar series. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 10 Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Multicultural Picture Books

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter
by Debbi Michiko Florence

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Keiko feels ready to tackle Seventh grade together with her besties, Audrey and Jenna. But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends — even if it means losing one of them — or follow her heart? Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a charming tween drama about first flirts, friendships, and fallouts. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 50+ Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

High School

Dragon Hoops
by Gene Luen Yang

Gene understands stories―comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. What Gene doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well. Dragon Hoops is an extraordinary graphic novel about the author’s life, his family, and the high school where he teaches. ~ Asian – High School

Picture Us In The Light
by Kelly Loy Gilbert 

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Picture Us In The Light

As Danny Cheng is about to pursue an artist career, he panics at the thought of having to move on without his best friend, Harry Wong. Harry and Danny’s lives are deeply intertwined and as they are approaching the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core. Added to that,Danny Cheng uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed façade his parents have maintained. Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him. ~ Asian – High School

The Henna Wars
by Adiba Jaigirda

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

Set in a Bangladeshi community in Ireland, The Henna Wars is a fast-paced novel about the love between two teenage girls, racism and homophobia. Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled―but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back. As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance. ~ Asian – High School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring LGBTQIA Characters

by Kiku Hughes

Kiku suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II. These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself “stuck” back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive. Displacement is a bittersweet historical graphic novel that highlights a dark part of American history. ~ Asian – High School

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
by Samira Ahmed

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is on holiday in Paris with her parents but all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life. Two hundred years earlier, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favoured status in his harem. Bridging centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed. Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Know traces the lives of two young women fighting to write their own stories and escape the pressure of cultural expectations defined by men. ~ Asian – High School

More Than Just a Pretty Face
by Syed M. Masood

NEW Multicultural Children's Books August 2020

Danyal Jilani is funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn’t approve of his career choice, but the only opinion that matters to Danyal is that of his longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged marriage prospect. When Danyal gets selected for Renaissance Man, a school-wide academic championship, it’s the perfect opportunity to show everyone he’s smarter than they think. Danyal recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time he spends with her, the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face. More Than Just A Pretty Face is a sweet and funny debut novel about family expectations and falling in love. ~ Asian – High School 

The Astonishing Color of After
by Emily X. R. Pan

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The Astonishing Color Of After

Biracial (Asian/White) Leigh Chen Sanders is convinced that her mother turned into a bird after her suicide. She visits her maternal grandparents in Taiwan, determined to find her mother. During her search, she chases after ghosts, uncovers family secrets, and develops a new relationship with her grandparents. Adding to the burden of her grief, Leigh must come to terms with her guilt about the fact that while she was kissing her secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. The Astonishing Color of After is a heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love and identity. ~ Asian – High School


Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In
by Phuc Tran

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America with his family. He struggles to assimilate to small town life in Pennsylvania. Tran navigates the challenges of immigration, racism, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations of his parents. For anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong, Sigh, Gone shares an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature. ~ Asian – High School

Tiger Girl
by May-Lee Chai

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Tiger Girl

In this sequel to the acclaimed Dragon Chica, college student Nea Cchim is haunted by her memories of the Cambodian Killing Fields. She decides to confront the past and goes on a cross-country trip to search for her biological father. She eventually finds a man wounded by survivor’s guilt and refusing to acknowledge the family’s secrets. It is up to Nea to uncover a lifetime of lies. Tiger Girl is a quietly powerful story about a young woman’s painful confrontation with her family’s past. ~ Asian – High School

The Silence of Bones
by June Hur

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

“I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak; / Ears, but I mustn’t hear; / Eyes, but I mustn’t see.” 1800, Korea: Orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol has been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol’s loyalty to the inspector is tested when he becomes the prime suspect. June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody historical mystery novel that young adults will love. ~ Asian – High School

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir
by Robin Ha

Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded Robin and her mom fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated and struggles to adapt to the change. Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined. Almost American Girl is a moving graphic novel about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life. ~ Asian – High School

by Kelly Yang

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

Claire Wang finds herself plucked from her privileged life in Shanghai, enrolled at a high school in California, and living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. But Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever. Parachutes is a modern immigrant story about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma. ~ Asian – High School

This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II
by Andrew Fukuda

In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki from Washington is disgusted when he’s forced to become pen pals with Charlie Lévy from France—a girl. But soon their letters fly across the Atlantic—and along with them, the shared hopes and dreams of friendship. Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the growing Nazi persecution of Jews force them to confront the darkest aspects of human nature. Award-winning This Light Between Us is a heartfelt story about the unlikeliest of pen pals—a Japanese American boy and a French Jewish girl—as they fight to maintain hope in a time of war. ~ Asian – High School

Wait for Me
by An Na

From the outside, Korean American Mina’s life seems perfect: A straight-A student and Honor Society president, she is bound for Harvard. But on the inside, she feels that her life is a lie, aimed only at satisfying her overbearing mom who expects Mina to escape their small-town dry-cleaning store and do better for herself. With the help of her Mexican immigrant friend Ysrael, Mina tries to figure out what she really wants. Wait For Me is a heartfelt novel about loyalty, betrayal and self-discovery. ~ Asian – High School

Darius the Great Deserves Better
by Adib Khorram

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

Since Darius’s trip to Iran, he’s been getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, varsity soccer practices, and an internship at his favourite tea shop, things seem to be falling into place. It’s everything he’s ever wanted–but what if he deserves better? Darius The Great Deserves Better is the follow-up to the award-winning Darius the Great Is Not Okay. ~ Asian – High School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Young Adult Books of 2020

Up From the Sea
by Leza Lowitz

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Up From The Sea

In March 2011 a tsunami devastates the coast of Japan. Young survivor Kai loses almost everyone and everything. When he is offered a trip to New York to meet kids affected by 9/11, Kai uses this opportunity to also look for his estranged American father. When he visits Ground Zero, Kai realizes he needs to return home and help rebuild his town. Up From The Sea is a heartbreaking yet hopeful novel-in-verse about loss, survival, and starting anew. ~ Asian – High School

This Is My Brain in Love
by I.W. Gregorio

All Jocelyn Wu wants for her junior year is to direct a short film with her BFF Priya, and to not constantly being compared to Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade. Will Domenici wants to find a paying summer internship and become an editor on his school paper. When Jocelyn’s family’s restaurant is in trouble, it is up to her and her unlikely new employee, Will, to save it. What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more but family prejudices and the uncertain future of the restaurant threaten the budding romance. Told in dual narrative, This Is My Brain in Love is a stunning novel that explores mental health, race and self-acceptance. ~ Asian – High School

Girl in Translation
by Jean Kwok

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Girl in Translation

Young Hong Kong immigrant Kimberly leads a double life: Straight A-student during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker at night. Struggling between these two worlds, she tries to disguise the degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future on her shoulders, and her secret love for a factory boy. Girl in Translation is a fresh and moving story about hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and everything that gets lost in translation. ~ Asian – High School

We Are Not Free
by Traci Chee

Best Multicultural Young Adult Novels 2020

“All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us. We are not free. But we are not alone.” 14 teens from Japantown, San Francisco, are among the over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry that are forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart. We Are Not Free is the collective account of a tight-knit group of young, second-generation Japanese American boys, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II. ~ Asian – High School

They Called Us Enemy
by George Takei

They Called Us Enemy is a stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei’s childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Takei’s account of those years behind barbed wire is a gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love. ~ Asian – High School

A Pho Love Story
by Loan Le

Bao Nguyen describes himself as a rock: steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. Even at his parents’ pho restaurant, he is only his parents’ fifth favourite employee. Linh Mai describes herselfas as a firecracker: stable when unlit, but full of potential for fire. She loves art and dreams of pursuing a career in it. For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighbouring pho restaurants. But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity and sparks fly. Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories? A Pho Love Story is a funny romantic comedy about two Vietnamese-American teens navigating their newfound relationship amid their families’ age-old feud. ~ Asian – High School

50 People. 50 Stories. I AM ASIAN.
by Asian & Loud

For so long, Asians have been underrepresented, stereotyped as quiet and meek, and objected to racism. 50 People. 50 Stories. I AM ASIAN. finally tells the real stories of 50 Asians on a wide range of topics: Racism & COVID-19, Growing up in a Cult, Coming Out as Gay, Refugee Experiences, Depression & Trauma,  Asian Musicians & Artists, Self-Love & Inspiration, and many more. ~ Asian – High School

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4 Responses

  1. Mia Wenjen
    | Reply

    I love this list! Thank you for sharing with Read Your World Day 2024!

  2. Carrie
    | Reply

    Would love to see some books about Tibetan culture as it is missing from this list.

    • Colours of Us

      Yes! Unfortunately I didn’t come across any, so if you know of any titles, I’d be happy to add them.

  3. Maria Adcock
    | Reply

    What a great, comprehensive list! I love that it’s broken out by grade/age. Thank you for submitting it as part of MCBD!

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