Asian American Pacific Islander Picture Books

If you need picture books to help you and your students celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month, you’re in the right place! Below are some…

If you need picture books to help you and your students celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month, you’re in the right place!
Below are some of my favorite along with activities that are informative, easy to complete, and engaging!
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliated links, meaning that I will earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase.
  1. EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS  by Joanna Ho & Illustrated by Dung Ho- This beautiful story follows an Asian girl who realizes that her classmates’ eyes are big and round while hers kiss in the corners and reflect those of her mother, grandmother, and little sister and learns to accept their beauty.
  2. THE NAME JAR by Yangsook Choi- Unhei just moved to America from Korea and feels anxious about her name being different from the other children in her class.  She decides to choose a name from a jar as her new name.  When a friend helps to be brave, she learns to accept her Korean name as the best name for herself.
  3. THE YELLOW AO DAI – by Hanh Bui & Illustrated by Minnie Phan- International Day is coming up at Naliah’s school and she can’t wait to perform a traditional Vietnamese Fan Dance in her ao dai. After realizing that she no longer fits her ao dai, she tries on a beautiful yellow ao dai that belongs to her grandmother in her mom’s closet and accidentally rips it.   With the help of her mom, she patches it up and learns about her grandmother’s legacy and how to make old traditions her own.

4. WHERE WILDFLOWERS GROW by Ha Dinh & Illustrated by Bao Luu- Today Ha and her Vietnamese family are moving from a refugee camp in the Philippines to America and everyone is excited except for Ha.  She doesn’t want to leave her best friend and teacher but learns that like wildflowers, she can keep growing no matter where she goes.

5. FINDING PAPA by Angela Pham Krans & Illustrated by Thi Bui- Inspired by the author’s experience, Mai and her mother embark on a dangerous journey to find Papa who had left Vietnam to find freedom and a better life in America for their family.  Along the way, they encounter help and refuge that lead them to papa in their new home.

6. SARI-SARI SUMMERS by Lynnor Bontigao-Nora spends summers with her grandma Lola at her sari-sari store in the Philippines, where she sells snacks, toys, and candy.  When a heat wave hits and no customers come out to the store, Nora comes up with a refreshing idea to keep Lola’s business alive and thriving.

7. OUR NIPA HUT: A Story in the Philippines by Rachelle Abalos & Illustrated by Gabriela Larios-Elena lives in the Philippines with her Papa in a nipa hut. They take good care of their nipa hut and it takes good care of them. When a strong storm arrives, their nipa hut is put to the test and must show its strength. Will it survive the storm and how will Yelena and her Papa keep safe? 🛖

7. DRAWN TOGETHER by Minh Le & Illustrated by Dan Santat- A boy visits his grandfather but is unable to speak the same language as his grandfather.  After feeling confused and frustrated because of their lack of communication, they find a way to speak to each other through drawing.

8. A GIFT FOR NAI NAI by Kim-Hoa Ung- Lyn Lyn wants to celebrate her beloved Nai Nai’s birthday by crocheting a lucky hat for her but finds it challenging with her limited skills.  With the help from the best crocheter that Lyn Lyn knows, she can make the perfect lucky hat and learns that the best gifts are those from within.

9. WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang & Illustrated by Jason Chin- A young girl feels ashamed when her Chinese parents stop on the side of the road to pick watercress in a creek.  When her parents explain the significance of the plant to their family, she grows more understanding of the journey to America and the past that they left behind to find a better life.

10. I AM GOLDEN by Eva Chen & Illustrated by Sophie Diao- A little girl discovers the beauty that she possesses as a Chinese American and learns to love herself as she is.

11. MAYA LIN: ARTIST-ARCHITECT OF LIGHT AND LINES by Jeanne Walker Harvey & Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk – Maya Lin loved studying space around her as a child and grew up to study architecture and sculptors. While she was in college, she entered a contest to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and won.  Today, millions of people continue to visit this beautiful memorial and marvel at its design and creation.

12. DIM SUM PALACE by X.Fang- Liddy is excited to go to the Dim Sum Palace with her parents when she wakes up.  While in her bedroom, she finds herself walking into Dim Sum Palace and accidentally turns into a dumpling.  Will she be able to save herself or is it too late to wake up from her wildest dreams?

13. A DIFFERENT POND by Bao Phi & Illustrated by Thi Bui- Bao and his father go fishing in the early hours of the morning at a pond in Minnesota to provide their family additional food.  At the pond, Bao’s father shares stories of the pond in Vietnam that their family left behind to find a better life in America.

14. OHANA MEANS FAMILY by Illima Loomis & Illustrated by Kenard Pak- Follow along as a Hawaiian family, or ohana, get ready for a luau.  This beautiful story also includes a glossary of Hawaiian terms and an author’s note.

15. BROWN IS BEAUTIFUL by Supriya Kelkar & Illustrated by Noor Sofi- A young Indian-American girl takes a hike with her grandparents and notices that beautiful things in nature are brown too.  She then decides to collect all the brown items along the way to compile a scrapbook for a new family member- a baby brother!

16. LOVE GROWS HERE by Chloe Ward and illustrated by Violet Kim- Aiko is saddened when she finds out how Japanese Americans were treated during WWII and how some people still mistreat them.  Inspired to fight back with love, she enlists the help of others in the community to show that kindness wins over hate.

17.  I AM BOTH: A VIETNAMESE REFUGEE STORY by Kerisa Greene- Hương enjoys her life in Saigon then one day, her family decides to take the last flight out of the city to America. In her new home, she makes new friends and learns that home and the traditions that are special to her from home can be found no matter where she is in the world.

18. TRICKY CHOPSTICKS by Syliva Chen and illustrated by Fanny Liem- Jenny Chow wants to use chopsticks like everyone in her family, but she fumbles and wobbles whenever she holds them.  Not to be deterred, she comes up with an innovative STEAM way to improve her skills and make the tricky chopsticks tricky no more!

19. A LIFE OF SERVICE: THE STORY OF SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH by Christina Soontornvat and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk- This beautiful written and illustrated book on the life of Senator Tammy Duckworth follows her journey from helping her family to her honorable service in the military to becoming the first Thai American woman elected to Congress.  Her path was filled with challenges on and off the battlefield, but she did not allow her injuries to keep her from serving her country.   Read more to find out how Senator Tammy Duckworth is a true American hero!

20. CHINESE MENU: THE HISTORY, MYTHS, AND LEGENDS BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE FOODS by Grace Lin- Have you ever eaten your favorite American Chinese food and wondered if there’s a story behind it?  Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore because the best-selling and award-winning author and illustrator, Grace Lin has compiled an extensive list of all of our favorite foods on Chinese menus and all the whimsical myths and backstories behind them with beautiful and full-color illustrations.  This is a must-have for any library!

21. NIKI NAKAYAMA by Debbie Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak and illustrated by Yuko Jones – Niki wants to be a master chef, but others are telling her that she can’t because she’s a woman.  Instead of letting them have the last say, Niki takes matters into her own hands and cooks up thirteen delicious bites that catapult her into national TV. and MasterClass.

22. YUNA’S CARDBOARD CASTLES by Marie Tang and illustrated by Jieting Chen-Yuna and her family are new in America and not knowing English makes it hard for her to make friends.  When she shows the children in her neighborhood how folding paper creates treasures and memories, new friendships unfold through play and wonder.

23. MAMIE TAPE FIGHTS TO GO TO SCHOOL: BASED ON A TRUE STORY by Traci Huahn and illustrated by Michelle Jing Chan-Mamie wanted to go to school but wasn’t allowed to because she was Chinese-American.  When she showed up at school and was turned away, her family sued the San Francisco school board and their case Tape v. Hurley went all the way to the California Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor.  Because of Mamie, the Court ruled that children of Chinese heritage had the right to attend public school education.

24. THE PAPER KINGDOM by Helena Ku Rhee and illustrated by Pascal Campion- Daniel’s parents are nighttime office cleaners and he usually stays home with the babysitter.  But one night, the babysitter can’t come and Daniel has to wake up and follow his parents to the office. With their brooms and mops, Daniel’s parents turn the office into a place of wonder and magic filled with fantasy, dragons, and paper for Daniel as he envisions himself as the king of the Paper Kingdom.

If you need teaching resources for AAPI Month, check out the resources below.