10 Books for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Every May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This month we are all invited to celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who have contributed to the rich diversity of the United States.

Encourage young readers to connect with Asian culture with these stories!

12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book (Bilingual Board Book, English/Chinese) by Vickie Lee

(Recommended for ages 0-5)

This early childhood, dual-language animal board book introduces Chinese characters and the animals of the Chinese zodiac your youngest readers!

Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk

(Recommended for ages 4-8)

After her best friend, Hector, moves away, Juna’s brother Minho tries to make her feel better by finding things to put in her special kimchi jar. Each night, whatever is in the jar takes her on a magical journey in search of Hector.

Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley

(Recommended for ages 4-9)

Ling Sung doesn’t like school. All the other kids seem to be good at something: Terry can tie his shoes, Manjit can print her name, Sharon can do up her coat with no buttons left over! Then one day Ling Sung discovers he can do something too—a “cleverstick” trick that his whole class wants to try.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

(Recommended for ages 4-9)

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend just in time for Chinese New Year.

Yasmin the Superhero by Saadia Faruqi

(Recommended for ages 4-9)

Superhero Yasmin! She’s got the cape. She’s got the mask. Now she just needs a villain to defeat! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers.

A Different Pond byBao Phi

(Recommended for ages 7-9)

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.

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

(Recommended for ages 7-12)

It’s the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to “find herself.” Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one’s passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card bySara Saedi

(Recommended for ages 13-18)

In San Jose, California, in the 1990s, teenaged Sara keeps a diary of life as an Iranian American and her discovery that she and her family entered as undocumented immigrants.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

(Recommended for ages 13-18)

This hilarious and heartfelt novel follows Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel, two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune byPamela S. Turner

(Recommended for ages 13-18)

A samurai fights for honor and survival in this stirring narrative nonfiction, recounting the rise of Minamoto Yoshitsune—from seemingly doomed infant to immortal warrior-hero and one of the most famous samurai in Japanese history.

If you work with children in need, you can find these and more titles celebrating Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage!

Find more diverse and inclusive books in the First Book Marketplace’s Stories for All collection.