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25 Inspiring Books: Embrace the Richness of Asian American and Pacific Islander Stories

25 Books to Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout history. In honor of this special month, we have curated a list of 25 inspiring books that beautifully showcase the richness and diversity of AAPI stories. These books provide a window into AAPI cultures, identities, and traditions. We encourage you to continue to add more options to your reading routines throughout the rest of the year. 

Sumo Shapes

Author: Sanae Ishida

Perfect for early learning, this fun board book in the Little Sumo series, from the creator of the Little Kunoichi series, features sumo wrestlers that introduce children to different shapes, and shares elements of Japanese culture that will enrich readers of all ages.

Ages: 0-3

Price: $9.99

$9.99Add to cart

Festival of Colors

Author: Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal

Illustrator: Vashti Harrison

Holi, Hai! Holi, Hai! It’s time to prepare for the Indian springtime Festival of Colors in this delightful Classic Board Book!  Young readers will love following the young siblings gathering flowers to make the colorful powders for the big day until—poof!—it’s time for the fun to begin.

Ages: 0-3

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add to cart

I Am Golden

Author: Eva Chen

Illustrator: Sophie Diao

This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Sophie Diao is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children.

Ages: 4-6

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Bilal Cooks Daal

Author: Aisha Saeed

Illustrator: Anoosha Syed

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing.

Ages: 2-7

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Brown Is Beautiful

Author: Supriya Kelkar

Illustrator: Noor Sofi

For fans of Hair Love and Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, here is an empowering picture book about recognizing the beauty around you and within you by award-winning author Supriya Kelkar and rising star illustrator Noor Sofi.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Eyes that Speak to the Stars

Author: Joanna Ho

Illustrator: Dung Ho

Inspired by the men in his family, and young boy recognizes his own power and strength from within. This extraordinary picture book redefines what it means to be truly you.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

Beautifully Me

Author: Nabela Noor

Illustrator: Nabi H. Ali

From designer, creator, and self-love advocate Nabela Noor comes a much-needed picture book about loving yourself just as you are.

Ages: 2-9

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

The Blur

Author: Minh Lê

Illustrator: Dan Santat

Meet a child with superhero-like abilities . . .
and the parents who are racing to keep up with her in this sweetly funny picture book about the blur of childhood, from the award-winning creators of Drawn Together.

Ages: 3-7

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

The Many Color of Harpreet Singh

Author: Supriya Kelkar

Illustrator: Alea Marley

Harpreet Singh loves his colors–but when his family moves to a new city, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?

Ages: 3-7

Price: $15.99

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Juno Valentine and the Fantastic Fashion Adventure

Author: Eva Chen

Illustrator: Derek Desierto

Instagram superstar Eva Chen is back with Juno Valentine and the Fantastic Fashion Adventure, featuring illustrations by Derek Desierto in a story that’s equal parts fashion fairy tale and guide to girl power.

Ages: 4-6

Price: $17.99

$17.99Add to cart

A Morning with Grandpa

Author: Sylvia Liu

Illustrator: Christina Forshay

 In this sweet, slice-of-life story, a curious and active Asian American girl spends the day learning tai chi from her grandfather, and in turn tries to teach him how to do yoga.

Ages: 5-8

Price: $11.99

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Laxmi's Mooch

Author: Shelly Anand

Illustrator: Nabi H. Ali

A joyful, body-positive picture book about a young Indian American girl’s journey to accept her body hair and celebrate her heritage after being teased about her mustache.

Ages: 4-8

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

Yasmin in Charge

Author: Saadia Faruqi

Illustrator: Hatem Aly

In this collection of four stories, Yasmin takes charge of some sticky situations! At home, at school, or out and about, Yasmin faces challenges head-on with creativity and quick thinking. Whether she’s creating a new recipe, finding a way to rescue a stuck toy for a little friend, or calming down monkeys (and classmates!), a clever solution to any problem is just around the corner!

Ages: 5-8

Price: $5.99

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Mindy Kim and the Birthday Puppy

Author: Lyla Lee

Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this third novel in an adorable chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who wants a puppy for her birthday!

Ages: 6-9

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

Astrid and Apollo and the Puppy Surprise

Author: V.T. Bidania

Illustrator: Evelt Yanait

The twins’ birthday is coming! Astrid and Apollo each have a special, surprise gift planned for the other. Astrid thinks she has guessed what Apollo is giving her, but as she puts more clues together, she realizes she’s in the middle of a birthday mystery! Join in the fun as the twins try to pull off the ultimate birthday surprises for the best birthday ever! Readers will love joining the twins on their adventures in this chapter book series about a Hmong American family.

Ages: 6-8

Price: $6.99

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things

Author: Lenore Look

The first book in a hilarious chapter book series that tackles anxiety in a fun, kid-friendly way. Perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers, and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Ages: 7-9

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen

Author: Debbi Michiko Florence

Illustrator: Elizabet Vuković

The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine!  Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker!

Ages: 7-9

Price: $5.99

$5.99Add to cart

Nina Soni, Former Best Friend

Author: Kashmira Sheth

Illustrator: Jenn Kocsmiersky

Nina Soni is a lovable, distractible Indian American girl with big plans and cast of family and friends to help her make her realize her dreams—or resolve the chaos that often results.

Ages: 7-10

Price: $7.99

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Power Forward

Author: Hena Khan

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new middle-grade series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom.

Ages: 8-11

Price: $6.99

$6.99Add to cart

Amina's Song

Author: Hena Khan

In the companion novel to the beloved and award-winning Amina’s Voice, Amina once again uses her voice to bridge the places, people, and communities she loves—this time across continents.

Ages: 8-12

Price: $7.99

$7.99Read more

Planet Omar Accidental Trouble Magnet

Author: Zanib Mian

Illustrator: Masaya Mafaridik

Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!

Omar and his family have just moved, and he 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?!

But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?

Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs.

Ages: 7-10

Price: $7.99

$7.99Add to cart

Pippa Raises Her Game

Author: Erin Yun

Readers will cheer on Pippa Park in this wonderful middle school book about friendships, bullying, crushes, and family. Perfect for summer reading! In this relatable story, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is on and off the basketball court. Perfect for summer reading.

Ages: 9-12

Price: $8.99

$8.99Add to cart

Pashmina

Author: Nidhi Chanani

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.

Ages: 9-11

Price: $15.99

$15.99Add to cart

Front Desk

Author: Kelly Yang

Mia Tang, is a 5th grader when she begins working with her parents at the Calivista Motel just five miles from Disneyland. Front Desk details the family’s first year managing the hotel including little daily occurrences, diversity issues and the building of community at the motel.

Ages: 9-11

Price: $7.99

$7.99Add to cart

The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel

Author: E.L. Shen

Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.

Ages: 8-12

Price: $7.99

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Anything catch your eye?  Let these be a starting point for stories centered in Asian experiences.  Let us know your favorites.   

 

Tag us on social media reading your favorites. 

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