8 Children’s Books Celebrating AA/PI Heritage Month You Should Add To Your Collection

‘Lali’s Feather’ by Farhana Zia, Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishers.

May is Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and in the spirit of our mission to amplify books that celebrate diversity and culture in America (especially in light of the frightening move by some politicians to ban books that discuss race and history), we realize how important it is to share information about books aimed at children.

This month, Peacetree and Holiday House publishers have some great selections we highly recommend getting copies of, as they are a great way to introduce diverse cultures to young minds. Below are 8 books we’ve added to our collection, perfect for ages 4 through to 12:

‘Chinese Kite Festival’ by Rich Lo. Image courtesy of Holiday House publishers.

Chinese Kite Festival‘ by Rich Lo (Holiday House, for ages 4–8, out now)

Animal names and their significance in Chinese culture is beautifully explored for young readers in this stunning book. Simple bilingual text helps teach children animal names in both English and Chinese. Paired with Rich Lo’s colorful digital watercolors, this simple and practical introduction to Chinese animal names and symbolism is irresistible. For more from Rich, check out ‘Chinese New Year Colors‘.  

‘Boy Who Met a Whale’ by Nizrana Farook. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishers.

Boy Who Met a Whale‘ by Nizrana Farook (Peachtree, for ages 8–12, out now)

A fisherboy is swept up in a thrilling seafaring adventure, complete with a kidnapping, missing treasure, and a huge blue whale! Author Nizrana Farook has crafted a briskly paced, action-packed quest that swells with empathetic heroes, missing treasure, and a great beast lurking beneath. Set against a vibrant, authentic landscape inspired by Sri Lanka, this delightful caper will thrill tweens. Fans of Nizrana’s first book, ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant‘, will rejoice in another adventure!  

‘Lali’s Feather’ by Farhana Zia, Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishing.

Lali’s Feather‘ by Farhana Zia, Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Peachtree, for ages 4–8, out now.)

A vivacious and endearing story of identification, values, and the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively. Farhana Zia offers a charming tale with an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.

‘All You Need’ by Howard Schwartz, illustrated by Jasu Hu. Image courtesy of Holiday House publisher.

All You Need‘ by Howard Schwartz, illustrated by Jasu Hu (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, for ages 4–8, out now)

Follow a Chinese girl from her first steps, all the way to the moment she realizes a lifelong dream in an exciting new land. Ultimately, she creates a very special gift for her parents far away—this very book. Poet Howard Schwartz’s graceful text is made all the more potent by the illustrations of debut illustrator Jasu Hu, who used her talents to create a powerful narrative inspired by her own journey, creative and otherwise, from a childhood in China to her arrival to study art in New York.

‘Let’s Go To Taekwondo’ by Aram Kim. Image courtesy of Holiday House publishers.

Let’s Go to Taekwondo!: A Story About Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards‘ by Aram Kim (Holiday House, for ages 3–7, out now)

Yoomi and her friends are ready to take on the test for their yellow belts in taekwondo. But Yoomi is afraid to break a board. Meanwhile, Grandma is struggling to learn something new, too. But Yoomi and Grandma encourage and inspire each other. Yoomi discovers how, with persistence, focus, deep breathing, and above all, a loving Grandma, even the toughest challenges can be overcome. For more adventures with Yoomi, readers can check out ‘No Kimchi for Me!‘ and ‘Sunday Funday in Koreatown‘.

My Dadima Wears a Sari‘ and ‘Sona and the Wedding Game‘ by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi (Peachtree, for ages 4–8, out now)

New in paperback are two picture books ripe with themes of family, ritual, and tradition. In My Dadima Wears a Sari, an Indian grandmother and her American granddaughter explore culture, imagination, and individuality through a sari. Experience the magic of an Indian wedding in Sona and the Wedding Game, a story of a girl playing a fun, traditional game on her sister’s big day. Kashmira Sheth is also the author of the Nina Soni chapter book series, which stars an Indian American fourth grader.

‘Luli and the Language of Tea’ by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Hyewon Yum. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishers.

Luli and the Language of Tea‘ by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, for ages 4–8, out now)

All around the ESL classroom, children played alone. Luli couldn’t speak English. Neither could the others. But this time Luli had a plan. She pulled out a fat-bellied teapot and matching cups and called “Chá!” in her native Chinese. And suddenly all the children piped up, recognizing not just the word, but the shared pastime of tea. Newbery Honoree Andrea Wang—whose 2021 picture book ‘Watercress’ received an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature—tells a touching story about children from many countries finding a common bond. The book is richly enhanced by Hyewon Yum’s perfectly pitched drawings.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a great place to start if you are looking for some awesome books to read to children during AAPI Heritage Month. Be sure to check out the Peachtree and Holiday House websites for more book selections.

‘Luli and the Language of Tea’ by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Hyewon Yum. Image courtesy of Peachtree publishers.

Comments are closed.