The following books feature Asian characters, culture or themes.
Hush! A Thai Lullaby
Repetitive text and colourful illustrations make Hush! A Thai Lullaby an appealing picture book for babies and toddlers.
Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
A little girl's urban neighborhood becomes a discovery ground for all things round, square, and rectangular in this lyrical picture book. Most items are Asian in origin, others universal: round rice bowls and a found pebble, square dim sum and the boxes that the pizzas come in, rectangular Chinese lace and a very special pencil case.
Bee-Bim Bop! By Linda Sue
In this fast-paced book, a hungry girl helps her mother make Bee-Bim Bop!, a traditional Korean rice dish. In bouncy rhyming text coupled with whimsical illustrations, the story tells of shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and sitting down to enjoy a favourite meal with the family.
I Live in Tokyo
I live in Tokyo follows seven-year-old Mimiko through a year of fun, food and festivities in Japan’s bustling capital. Month by month, little readers learn about Mimiko’s favourite meals and many Japanese customs, from tea ceremonies to how to put on a kimono. This lively picture book with its detailed, bright illustrations is a great introduction to Japanese life and traditions.
Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore
An absolutely adorable book about a little girl, Daisy, and Yeh-Yeh ( Grandpa). He’s visiting from China and trying to get to know each other. Only he’s kinda grumpy. It takes time but eventually, they connect, and he even laughs!
Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek
A sweet book about a father and daughter playing an epic game of hide and seek in the jungle, and the animals play along too.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choy
Just having moved to the US from Korea, Unhei worries that her new classmates won’t be able to pronounce her name. She tells them that she will choose a name later. Her classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and start filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. After trying some names, Unei decides to stick with her real name. The Name Jar is a beautifully illustrated, engaging story about valuing your roots and your uniqueness.
Dear Juno by Soyung Pak
Juno and his grandmother love writing letters to each other. Juno sends drawings, his grandmother letters in Korean and photos. One day she even sends a miniature aeroplane to let Juno know that she is coming to visit. Dear Juno is a warm and tender story about family far away.
Snow White (Once Upon a World series), Chloe Perkins
The classic tale of Snow White gets a fresh twist in this debut title of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With Japan as the backdrop, and beautiful artwork from Japanese illustrator Misa Saburi, Snow White is still the same girl who meets seven dwarves and accepts a shiny red apple—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.
Rapunzel (Once Upon a World series), Chloe Perkins
The classic tale of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this third book of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With India as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from illustrator Archana Sreenivasan, Rapunzel is still the same girl who lets down her beautiful hair—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.
The Tiger Skin Rug, Gerald Rose
It's amazing how easy it is for the tiger to pass himself off as a rug - but what happens to this tiger when burglars break in to the Rajah’s palace?
Eyes That Kiss in the Corner, Joanna Ho
A picture book that tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, and is a celebration of diversity.
Hair Twins, Raakhee Mirchandani *New*
A Sikh father and daughter with a special hair bond proudly celebrate and share a family tradition in this charming story.
Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma, Joanna Ho and Teresa Martinez *New*
Before Yo-Yo Ma became one of the most renowned and celebrated cellists, he wanted to play the double bass. But it was too big for his four-year-old hands. Over time, Ma honed his amazing talent, and his music became a reflection of his own life between borders, cultures, disciplines, and generations.
Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi *New*
Discover how to turn darkness (anger) into light in this unique book about the famous peacemaker.
Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister Chitra Soundar *New*
A tender series of stories about Sona, unsure about sharing her parents when her baby sibling is born, and her delightful extended family, brought to life by Jen Khatun’s gentle images.
Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding, Lenore Look
The whole family is looking forward to Uncle Peter’s wedding… except Jenny. While everyone is preparing for the traditional Chinese wedding, Jenny worries that she won’t be Uncle Peter’s number one anymore. Maybe she can stop the wedding? A charming picture book that highlights many traditions of a Chinese wedding, from the tea ceremony to good-luck money and the bride’s many different dresses.
Lin Yi’s Lantern, Brenda Williams
Lin Yi really wants a red rabbit lantern for the Moon Festival. When his mother sends him to the local market to buy food, he tries his best to barter in order to have money left for the lantern. Lin Yi’s Lantern is a gentle story about temptation and selflessness, complemented by the most expressive gouache illustrations. Includes information on market life in China, the traditional Moon Festival, and instructions for making a Chinese lantern.
The Empty Pot, Demi
The Empty Pot has sold more than 300,000 copies in hardcover and paperback. A fable about a young Chinese boy, a contest to become the next emperor, and the importance of honesty.
Drawn Together, Minh Lee
The story starts about the generational and cultural disconnect, but like in real life, all you need to make a good connection is one shared passion. Soon this grandfather and grandson discover that they don’t have to eat the same food, watch the same TV shows or even speak the same language to bond.
Suki’s Kimono, Chieri Uegaki
Spunky little Suki wears her favourite kimono on her first day back to school. A gift from her obachan, it holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer. Initially, her classmates laugh but Suki soon wins them over by telling them about the street festival she attended with her grandmother and even doing an impromptu dance. Suki’s Kimono is a lighthearted story of courage and independence, complemented by cheerful watercolour illustrations.
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
Aneel’s grandparents are visiting from India. His grandfather, Dada-ji, is the best storyteller, and Aneel loves hearing about how in his youth, adventurous Dada-ji shook mangoes off trees and tied knots into wild cobras. Aneel decides to give Dada-ji his “power of a tiger” back by cooking him hot roti with tongue-burning mango pickle. Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is a sweet family story as well as a rollicking tall tale, energetically told with exuberant acrylic illustrations.
Cora Cooks Panci, Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Little Cora is excited: Today she gets the be her mom’s assistant chef! Together they prepare pancit, her favourite Filipino noodle dish. Cora helps with all the grown-up jobs, from shredding the chicken to stirring the noodles carefully in the pot. At dinner time Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking. Cora Cooks Pancit is a delightful picture book that captures the warmth between mother and daughter beautifully.
King for a Day, Rukhsana Khan
The Pakistani spring festival Basant has arrived, and Malik is getting ready for the traditional battle of kites. In his wheelchair, he guides his kite Falcon through fierce battles and takes down his bully neighbour’s kite first and all the others after that. He is the king! But when the bully tries to take a kite from a little girl, Malik finds a generous way to help her. With stunning collages made of traditional Pakistani fabric, handmade paper, burlap, silk, and ribbon, King for a Day introduces young readers to a centuries-old festival and the tradition of kite fighting.
A Path of Stars, Anne Sibley O’Brien
Dara loves her grandmother’s stories about growing up in Cambodia. Lok Yeay tells of the fruits and plants that grew there, and how her family would sit in their yard and watch the stars that glowed like fireflies. Lok Yeay’s dream of going back one day to see her brother is disrupted when she gets a phone call with sad news. Little Dara becomes determined to bring her grandmother back to a place of happiness. A Path of Stars is a touching story about family and loss.
The Red Lollipop, Rukhsana Khan
When Rubina comes home with her first birthday-party invitation, her mother asks why people in the US celebrate birthdays, as in Pakistan they do not. Rubina has to take her little sister along despite her insistence that “they don’t do that here.” Not only does little Sana demand to win every game, but she also steals Rubina’s prized party favour. Big Red Lollipop is a fresh picture book with a clever storyline and irresistible illustrations.
Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin, Chieri Uegaki
Inspired by her grandfather in Japan who used to play in an orchestra, Hana starts studying violin and after only three lessons signs up for the school talent show. Despite her brother’s teasing, she is determined to play her best and practises every day. At the show, Hana surprises everyone – even herself. Hana Hashimoto Sixth Violin is a delightful picture book that celebrates music, individuality and the special bond between a child and a grandparent.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look
The latest book in the popular and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series! Second-grader Alvin takes his fears to a whole new level on a family trip to China, from kung fu lessons and acupuncture treatment to the crowds at tourist attractions. With an unforgettable main character and delightful illustrations, this series will appeal even to reluctant readers.
Who was Gandhi?, Meachen and Dana Rau
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in 1869 in British-occupied India. Though he studied law in London and spent his early adulthood in South Africa, he remained devoted to his homeland and spent the later part of his life working to make India an independent nation. Calling for non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights around the world. Gandhi is recognized internationally as a symbol of hope, peace, and freedom.
Who is the Dalai Lama?, Meachen and Dana Rau
Two-year-old Lhamo Thondup never imagined he would be anything other than an ordinary child, but after undergoing a series of tests, he was proclaimed the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Maddy Yip’s Guide to Life, Sue Cheung *New*
Maddy goes on a quest to discover her talent. Everyone else has one, so surely she must too … but thwarted by distressing clumsiness, will Maddy ever discover her unique gift?
Dumpling Days, Grace Lin
At first, Pacy is excited about a month-long family trip to Taiwan and the Chinese painting class that awaits her there. But things turn out harder than she had imagined: Pacy can’t speak the language, she has trouble following the art teacher’s instructions and making friends. The third in the Pacy series, Dumpling Days is a thoughtful and often funny book about identity and learning what matters most.
Blackbird Fly, Erin Entrada Kelly
Twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different from her classmates. She and her mother immigrated from the Philippines when she was little. Her mother still cooks Filipino foods and gives Apple a hard time for becoming “too American.” When her friendships become difficult, Apple turns to music and starts saving for a guitar. Acclaimed Blackbird Fly is a heartfelt story about family, friendship, identity and finding your own way.
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, Uma Krishnaswami
Eleven-year-old Bollywood movie fan Dini is excited that her family will be moving to India for two years. She imagines her new life in Bombay, the centre of Bollywood and home to Dini’s favourite favourite star, Dolly Singh. Her disappointment is huge when she learns that the family is moving to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. But she soon finds out that small villages can have surprises! The Grand Plan to Fix Everything is a vibrant novel with a charming protagonist and colourful descriptions of Indian culture and daily life.
Listen, Slowly, Thanhha Lai
Instead of spending her holidays at the beach, Californian girl Mai has to accompany her grandmother to Vietnam. Her parents are hoping that the trip will connect their out-of-touch daughter with her roots, but Mai struggles with the foreign country and its culture. Bestselling Listen, Slowly is an irresistible and poignant story about the true meaning of home, culture, family and friends. The paperback edition includes a letter from the author, a Vietnamese glossary and a pronunciation guide.
Project Mulberry, Linda Sue Park
Spunky Julia and her friend Patrick are trying to decide on a project for the country fair. Julia’s mother suggests they raise silkworms as she did years ago in Korea. Although all-American Julia finds that a little too ‘Korean’, they go ahead and soon realize that raising silkworms is a lot tougher than they thought. Project Mulberry is a fun story about prejudice, acceptance, and finding a good source of Mulberry leaves, framed by an entertaining dialogue between Julia and the author herself.
The Thing About Luck, Cynthia Kadohata
Kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, but this year 12-year old Summer’s family has none of it. With her parents away in Japan to care for relatives, Summer and her younger brother have to help their grandparents with the hard harvesting work. Award-winning The Thing about Luck is a gentle and sometimes funny exploration of family bonds and a young girl’s journey to self-actualization.
Aarti & the Blue Gods, Jasbinder Bilan *New*
Aarti lives with her exacting, cruel aunt, cut off from the world and her own history – until a boy washes up on the beach, and she makes an extraordinary discovery.
The Boy Who Met a Whale, Nizrana Farook *New*
Zheng has escaped a shipwreck and is full of tales of sea monsters and missing treasure. A thrilling adventure set in fictional Sri Lanka.
When Secrets Set Sail, Sita Brahmachari *New*
Imtiaz has just joined Usha’s family – but Usha, mourning her grandmother Kali Ma, isn’t keen. When Usha finds herself being haunted by Kali Ma and Imtiaz is haunted by a mysterious woman, they are drawn into the history of the Indian ayahs, or nannies, left abandoned in Britain.
Dragon Mountain series, Katie and Kevin Tsang *New*
When Billy Chan arrives at summer camp in China, he’s not expecting to join a fellowship of four very different kids, each bonded to a different dragon.
Anisha, Accidental Detective, Serena Patel *New*
Anisha is all set to be a (reluctant) bridesmaid at Aunty Bindi’s wedding...until a secret ransom note arrives. Bindi’s groom has been kidnapped and will only be released IF THE WEDDING IS CALLED OFF! It’s up to Anisha Mistry to find him.
Mohinder's War, Bali Rai *New*
A thrilling World War II adventure set in occupied France, featuring an Indian RAF pilot.
The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, Nizrana Farook *New*
Chaya, a no-nonsense, outspoken hero, leads her friends and a gorgeous elephant on a noisy, fraught, joyous adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring and leeches lurk.
American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
American Born Chinese is a graphic novel that masterfully weaves together three plotlines: Chinese folk hero Monkey King’s efforts to be respected as a god; lonely Asian American Jin Wang’s attempts to fit in with his white classmates; and All-American Danny’s embarrassment at his – purposefully stereotypical – Chinese cousin’s behaviour. This award-winning book explores the issues of identity and belonging, stereotypes and perceptions, love and friendship.
How Was That Built? The Stories Behind Awesome Structures, Roma Agrawal
Written by an award-winning Indian-British structural engineer who worked on the Shard, this book highlights amazing engineering achievements across all continents with a diverse range of role models.
The Henna Wars, Adiba Jaigirdar *New*
As one of the few brown girls in her Dublin Catholic school, Nishat holds her Bengali heritage dear. When Nishat sets up a business at school offering henna designs, she runs into competition from Flávia. Her outrage at Flávia’s appropriation of her culture is mingled with an increasing attraction.
That Asian Kid, Savita Kalhan *New*
Despite his hard work and brains, Jeevan, is doing badly in his GCSE English literature class. His teacher, Mrs Greaves, dislikes him intensely and Jeevan is convinced that he is the victim of racial prejudice. Can he stand up for what's right?
Tiger Girl, May-Lee Chai
In this sequel to the acclaimed Dragon Chica, college student Nea Cchim is haunted by her memories of the Cambodian Killing Fields. She decides to confront the past and goes on a cross-country trip to search for her biological father. She eventually finds a man wounded by survivor’s guilt and refusing to acknowledge the family’s secrets. It is up to Nea to uncover a lifetime of lies. Tiger Girl is a quietly powerful story about a young woman’s painful confrontation with her family’s past.
Wait for Me, An Na
From the outside, Korean American Mina’s life seems perfect: A straight-A student and Honor Society president, she is bound for Harvard. But on the inside, she feels that her life is a lie, aimed only at satisfying her overbearing mom who expects Mina to escape their small-town dry-cleaning store and do better for herself. With the help of her Mexican immigrant friend Ysrael, Mina tries to figure out what she really wants. Wait For Me is a heartfelt novel about loyalty, betrayal and self-discovery.
Up From the Sea, Leza Lowitz
In March 2011 a tsunami devastates the coast of Japan. Young survivor Kai loses almost everyone and everything. When he is offered a trip to New York to meet kids affected by 9/11, Kai uses this opportunity to also look for his estranged American father. When he visits Ground Zero, Kai realizes he needs to return home and help rebuild his town. Up From The Sea is a heartbreaking yet hopeful novel-in-verse about loss, survival, and starting anew.
Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok
Young Hong Kong immigrant Kimberly leads a double life: Straight A-student during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker at night. Struggling between these two worlds, she tries to disguise the degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future on her shoulders, and her secret love for a factory boy. Girl in Translation is a fresh and moving story about hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and everything that gets lost in translation.