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Recommended Reading: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We’ve put together a list of great books written by AAPI authors and/or featuring AAPI characters. Many also have AAPI illustrators. Check out our Black History Month recommendations from February too!

The Asian Pacific Institute defines this community as “all people of Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander ancestry, who trace their origins to the countries, states, jurisdictions, and/or the diasporic communities of these geographic regions.” (Please note that just because someone might fall into any of these categories, that doesn’t mean they personally identify as Asian.)

Here’s a fantastic article to explain the different countries represented in the AAPI community. AAPI doesn’t just mean individuals with ties to the Far East. AAPI includes those from India, Pakistan, Iraq, the Philippines, Polynesia, Israel, Turkey, and many more countries.

Books for younger kids (alphabetical by author)

AAPI books

Ordinary ‘Ohana by Lee Cataluna, illustrated by Cheyne Gallarde (ages 4-7)

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Abigail Halpin (ages 6-9)

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (ages 3-7)

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho (ages 4-8)

dad reading his daughter and Asian American book

Lotus & Feather by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Julie Downing (ages 3-5)

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, illustrated by Julie Kwon (ages 4-8)

Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin (ages 3-7)

Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee (ages 4-7)

Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala by Meenal Patel (ages 4-8)

The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa (ages 3-7)

Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed (ages 4-8)

We Are Inspiring: The Stories of 32 Inspirational Asian American Women by Angel Trazo (ages 6-8)

The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida, illustrated by Joanna Yardley (ages 4-8)

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz (ages 4-8)

Maggie’s Chopsticks by Alan Woo, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant (ages 3-7)

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young (ages 4-8)

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoёt (ages 4-8)

illustration from a book

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by Farhana Zia, illustrated by Ken Min (ages 5-8)

Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua (ages 4-8)


Books for tweens and teens

(Most of these books were featured in this great post from Colorful Pages.) 

American Panda by Gloria Chao (ages 12+)

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha (ages 13-17)

Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me by Lurline Wailana McGregor (young adult)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (ages 12-17)

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (ages 14+)

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong’s Work for Sustainable Farming by Sigrid Schmalzer, illustrated by Melanie Linden Chan (ages 9-12)

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (ages 13-17)

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker (ages 12-17)

They Called Us the Enemy Asian American book

Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America by David H.T. Wong (ages 12+)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (ages 12-18)

Front Desk by Kelly Yang (ages 8-12)

Do you have other favorites? Please share them in the comments!

**Mandy Stockton, Jocelyn Lee, and Amelia Mansfield all contributed to this post. Thanks ladies!

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