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16 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Children’s Books

16 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Children’s Books

Read these books with your kids to celebrate and honor Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month!


May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The purpose of this month is to highlight the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the culture and history of the U.S. Reading children’s books about the AAPI and written by AAPI authors as a family is one way to honor this special month—but don’t limit reading these books to just this month.

As Raakhee Mirchandani, author of Super Satya Saves the Day and Hair Twins, noted recently at a book reading in Hoboken, NJ: Everyone has a unique story to tell. So, it is essential to read, support, and amplify the voices of AAPI authors year-round.

The AAPI community is diverse, so no list of books will speak to everyone’s experiences. Below you’ll find a roundup of books broken down by age as a good place to start. We encourage you to keep reading, continue exploring, and always seek to never leave anyone behind. A special thank you to the New York Public Library, Hoboken Public Library, and Little City Books for support with researching this list.

And if you’re looking for more recommendations, follow Shuli de la Fuente-Lau of @AsianLitForKids and Maya Le Espiritu of @MaiStoryBookLibrary on Instagram. We credit them, among others, for elevating high-quality children’s books that are written by AAPI authors and stories that center AAPI characters in their narrative.

AAPI Heritage Month Books for Age 4 and Younger

Hush!: A Thai Lullaby

By Minfong Ho

Please don’t wake up the baby! A mother pleads for silence with this fun, rhythmic lullaby.

Bee-Bim Bop!

By Linda Sue Park

A little girl helps her mother to prepare a traditional Korean “mix mix rice” dish for her family. You can also try preparing a recipe from the author, which is included in the book!

Mixed: A Colorful Story

By Arree Chung

This brilliant book provides an age-appropriate way to discuss discrimination and acceptance through the story of reds, yellows, and blues.

AAPI Heritage Month Books for Ages 5-8

Hair Twins

By Raakhee Mirchandani

A moving tribute to a Sikh father and daughter’s relationship through the lens of their daily routine of brushing their long hair together.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

By Grace Lin

A most touching story about Little Star and her mother baking a Mooncake, which explains the origin of the phases of the moon.

Drawn Together

By Minh Lê

A young boy and his grandfather are able to reach across language, culture, and age barriers through the power of drawing.

Muslim Girls Rise

By Saira Mir

This non-fiction book includes biographies of 19 notable Muslim women from across different fields.

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

By Joanna Ho

In this lyrical picture book, a young Asian girl notices her eyes look different from her peers—but she recognizes her own beauty and is empowered as she realizes the strength of the women in her life who look like her.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Joanna Ho (@joannahowrites)

 

AAPI Heritage Month Books for Ages 9-12

The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story

By Thao Lam

This wordless book portrays the courage it takes to leave one’s home and provides a glimpse into the hardships of migration through the use of ants in the story.

Pashmina

By Nidhi Chanani



This graphic novel tells the story of Priyanka Das and her magical pashmina on a journey of self-discovery in India.

Amina’s Voice

By Hena Khan

A Pakistani-American girl named Amina struggles with middle school and balancing her family’s culture at the same time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hena Khan (@henakhanbooks)

Aru Shah and the End of Time

By Roshani Chakshi

Aru is about a girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her private school. Find out what happens when she accidentally frees an evil god from an ancient lamp!

AAPI Heritage Month Books for Ages 13+

The Magic Fish

By Trung Le Nguyen

A young Vietnamese boy named Ti?n tries to figure out how to communicate with his parents and let them know that he identifies as gay.

The Prince and the Dressmaker

By Jen Wang

Set in Paris, Prince Sebastian feels most free and authentic when he wears dresses. Frances is the dressmaker who must keep Sebastian’s secret.

The Henna Wars

By Adiba Jaigirdar

The story of two teen girls, Nishat and Flávia, who compete in a school henna art competition and develop a crush on one another.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Adiba Jaigirdar (@dibs_j)

Almost American Girl

By Robin Ha

This graphic novel is a memoir about the author’s experiences with immigration and how a comic drawing class opens up new opportunities for her.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Robin Ha (@robinhaart)

 

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