May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our list includes picture books, chapter books, and more!
Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand
After Laxmi’s friend Zoe points out the hairs on her lip, Laxmi is very self-conscious until her East Indian parents help her to accept and celebrate her appearance. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
I dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne
When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. She misses her popo every day, but even if their visits are fleeting, their love is ever true and strong. Includes author’s and illustrator’s notes detailing their personal experiences, and glossary of Chinese words connected to the story. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
Ho’onani : hula warrior by Heather Gale
Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is – and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Eyes that kiss in the corners by Joanna Ho
This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title in print or electronic format.
The many colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar
Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from pink for dancing to bhangra beats to red for courage. He especially takes care with his patka–his turban–smoothing it out and making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, all he wants is to be invisible. Will he ever feel a happy sunny yellow again? Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
Drawn together by Minh Lê
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. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Let Me Finish! by Minh Lê
A young boy wants to read his favorite books without interruption, but the creatures around him keep spoiling the ending! Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
Ohana means family by Ilima Loomis
In this cumulative rhyme in the style of “The House That Jack Built,” a family celebrates Hawaii and its culture while serving poi at a luau. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Grandpa grumps by Katrina Moore
When Daisy’s grandfather, or Yeh-Yeh, visits from China, she does everything she can think of to make him smile and finally finds a way. Includes glossary of Chinese words and recipe for fried rice. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Goodbye winter, hello spring by Kenard Pak
Join a boy and his dog as they explore nature and take a stroll through the countryside, greeting all the signs of the coming season. Recommended for children ages 4 and up. Request this title.
A different pond by Bao Phi
As a young boy, Bao Phi 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. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Request this title.
Hello, mandarin duck! by Bao Phi
On their way to a May Day parade, twins Hue and Hoa spy a confused-looking duck and try to help it reach the pond, while neighbors from many countries offer help and greetings in different languages. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq
Excitedly joining her family for an outdoor camping trip in a Midwestern state park, Fatima Khazi helps set up a tent, build a fire, and fend off a daddy longlegs before settling down to sleep surrounded by the near-magical sounds of the forest. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Ojiichan’s gift by Chieri Uegaki
A young girl finds a way to give the gift of a traditional Japanese garden back to her beloved grandfather and accept a difficult change. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
The Nian monster by Andrea Wang
Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don’t work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster? Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Early Readers & Chapter Books
The year of the book by Andrea Cheng
Follows a young Chinese American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Request this title.
Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi – BOOK SERIES!
Meet Yasmin! Yasmin is a spirited second-grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this series.
Jasmine Toguchi by Debbi Michiko Florence – BOOK SERIES!
Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! Recommended for ages 6 and up. Request this series.
Book Uncle and me by Uma Krishnaswami
An energetic, funny and quirky story that explores the themes of community activism, friendship, and the love of books. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Request this title.
Alvin Ho by Lenore Look – BOOK SERIES!
Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Request this series.
Cilla Lee-Jenkins : this book is a classic by Susan Tan
Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she’s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: romance, adventure, and plenty of drama like Cilla’s struggles to be more Chinese, to be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva’s wedding, and to learn how to share her best friend. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Request this title.
Middle Grade Books
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Priyanka “Pri” Das, attempts to reconnect with her mother’s homeland through a magical pashmina shawl. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Request this title.
See you in the cosmos by Jack Cheng
Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Request this title.
Aru Shah and the end of time : a Pandava novel by Roshani Chokshi
Twelve-year-old Aru stretches the truth to fit in at her private school, but when she is dared to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title – available in print and electronically.
The night diary by Veera Hiranandani
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title.
When you trap a tiger by Tae Keller
When Lily, her sister Sam, and their mother move in with her sick grandmother, Lily traps a tiger and makes a deal with him to heal Halmoni. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title.
Stand up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
When eleven-year-old Yumi Chung stumbles into a kids’ comedy camp she is mistaken for another student, so she decides to play the part. Recommended for ages 9 and up. Request this title.
I’m Ok by Patti Kim
Ok, a Korean American boy, tries a get rich quick scheme of starting a hair braiding business and winning the school talent competition to hide the fact that he is struggling with the loss of his father and the financial hardships he and his mother must now bear. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Request this title.
The best at it by Maulik Pancholy
Twelve-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana, struggles to come to terms with his identity, including that he may be gay. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title.
Other words for home by Jasmine Warga
Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative’s home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title.
Front desk by Kelly Yang
Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang’s parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them; while her mother (who was an engineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants–not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao’s son, Jason. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Request this title – available in print and electronically.
The Ocean Calls By Tina Cho
Wanting to follow in the footsteps of her free-diving haenyeo grandmother, a young Korean girl dutifully consumes her grandmother’s strength-building abalone porridge and practices her breath control before suiting up and overcoming fears to make remarkable discoveries. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguéns
At 9 years old, Eugenie Clark developed an unexpected passion for sharks after a visit to the Battery Park Aquarium in New York City. At the time, sharks were seen as mindless killing machines, but Eugenie knew better and set out to prove it. Despite many obstacles in her path, Eugenie was able to study the creatures she loved so much. From her many discoveries to the shark-related myths she dispelled, Eugenie’s wide scientific contributions led to the well-earned nickname “Shark Lady.” Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
It began with a page : how Gyo Fujikawa drew the way by Kyo Maclear
Presents the life of the influential illustrator and author, including her childhood, her love of drawing, her family’s internment during World War II, and her groundbreaking work in children’s literature. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Describes the popular street cook’s life, including working in his family’s restaurant as a child, figuring out what he wanted to do with his life, and his success with his food truck and restaurant. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
Sky high : the true story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss
Based on the true adventures of a girl not bound by gravity, Marissa Moss’s stirring story and Carl Angel’s brilliant illustrations depict what determination, bravery, and boundless possibilities look like when dreams are allowed to soar sky high. Recommended for ages 9 and up. Request this title.
Queen of physics : how Wu Chien Shiung helped unlock the secrets of the atom by Teresa Robeson
When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school. But her parents named their daughter “Courageous Hero” and encouraged her love of science. This biography follows Wu as she battles sexism at home and racism in the United States of America to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on how atoms split. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
Note: Summaries are taken from our online catalog & recommended ages are from publisher guidelines and sources from Publisher Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.