Books that Celebrate Asian Cultures

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 own 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 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 her 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 is able to 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 journey to American 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 her 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 addition 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 that 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!

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