Asian American and Pacific Islander Experiences

This booklist features titles written about and by members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. Stories of these communities’ experiences are significant because they allow children to see themselves in stories and know the person behind the words are similar to them. It means that not only is the story important, but also who tells that story.

Compiled by:
Ginny H. and Grayson B.
Picture Books and Younger Elementary
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Kat Zhang
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Zha)

Amy is determined to make a perfect dumpling like her parents and grandmother do, but hers are always too empty, too full, or not pinched together properly. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Drawn Together

Minh Lê
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Le)

A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Eyes That Kiss In the Corners

Joanna Ho
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ho)

Despite her eyes looking different from those of her classmates, a young girl embraces the shape and color of her eyes. Rather than focusing on her differences from others, the girl sees how her eyes are a beautiful part of her that she shares with her family. A beautiful message of acceptance and loving yourself. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Gigi and Ojiji

Melissa Iwai
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Iwa)

Gigi is excited to learn that her Japanese grandfather will be coming to visit her family in the U.S. Once he arrives, though, Gigi struggles to connect with him. Can Gigi and her grandfather learn to understand one another? A sweet story about managing big emotions, navigating Asian American identities, and overcoming cross-cultural barriers to connect with family. Recommended for ages 3–6.


Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Won)

Four individuals of dual male and female spirit bring their healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii, where they are beloved for their gentle ways and miraculous cures and where they imbue four giant boulders with their powers. As time passes, these extraordinary individuals are forgotten, but their powers live on in the blessed stones. Based on an indigenous Hawaiian legend that was recently adapted into a short film. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Lolo’s Sari-Sari Store

Sophia N. Lee
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Lee)

For most of her life, one young girl would spend her summers making connections with the folks who stopped by her grandfather’s sari-sari store in the Philippines. After moving to the U.S., the girl is determined to find new ways to be active in her new community. A sweet story about family and the joys of contributing to our communities. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Love in the Library

Maggie Tokuda-Hall
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Tok)

Like most Japanese Americans during World War II, Tama and George were imprisoned in an American incarceration camp.Will Tama and George find joy and love, even within the confines of the Minidoko incarceration camp? A beautiful and moving story based on the real lives of the authors’ grandparents. Recommended for ages 6-9.

A Map into the World

Kao Kalia Yang
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Yan)

As the seasons change, Paj Ntaub finds that life is changing for her and her Hmong American family, too. Paj experiences the joys of connecting with her new twin siblings while helping her elderly neighbor manage the grief of loss. An excellent model of practicing empathy and building connections with others. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Meet Yasmin!

Saadia Faruqi
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Far)

This collection of stories follows young Yasmin Ahmad and her multi-generational Pakistani American family through Yasmin’s adventures around her neighborhood, at school, and at home with family. Great stories for burgeoning young readers. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business

Lyla Lee
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Lee)

Mindy Kim wants to fit in at her new school, but her favorite lunch leads to scorn, then a thriving business, and finally, big trouble. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Andrea Wang
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Wan)

While on a road trip, a young girl’s family pulls over to collect watercress from a ditch. The girl feels embarrassed about eating food collected from the side of the road, but comes to learn the significance of watercress to her family. A beautiful story of memory, shame, and family. Recommended for ages 6–9.


Mượn Thị Văn
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Van)

Through the use of striking imagery and simple prose, this story provides a powerful glimpse into the sacrifices, fears, and hopes that many families face when immigrating to a new home. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Older Elementary
Finally Seen

Kelly Yang
(Juvenile Fiction - J Yang)

When ten-year-old Lina Gao leaves China to live with her parents and sister, after five years apart, she must reckon with her hurt, anger, and curiosity and find a way to get her bearings in this new country—and the almost-new family that comes along with it. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Green Lantern: Legacy

Minh Lê
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Green Lantern Legacy)

When 13-year-old Tai Pham inherits his grandmother's jade ring, he soon finds out he has been inducted into a group of space cops known as the Green Lanterns. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hir)

After the 1947 partition of India, 12-year-old Nisha and her family were forced to leave their home in the newly-formed nation of Pakistan. Follow Nisha as she chronicles her family’s journey to their new home in India. A powerful look at a moment of monumental religious and ethnic conflict in modern South Asian history. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Omar Rising

Aisha Saeed
(Juvenile Fiction - J Saeed)

Omar is initially excited to receive a scholarship to Ghalib Academy, an elite boarding school. However, he soon realizes that his new school is not what he expected, as the students from disadvantaged families like himself are forced to fight an impossible battle. A riveting tale about standing up to injustice and the power of individuals to make a difference. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Other Words for Home

Jasmine Warga
(Juvenile Fiction - J Warga)

Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative's home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries for the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Nidhi Chanani
(Juvenile Graphic Novels- J-GN Chanani Pashmina)

An Indian-American teen, Priyanka "Pri" Das, attempts to discover her past and reconnect with her mother's homeland through a magical pashmina shawl. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Prairie Lotus

Linda Sue Park
(Juvenile Fiction - J Park)

Hanna lives in a small town in America's heartland. In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Tryout

Christina Soontornvat
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Soontor Tryout)

As two of the only Asian Americans at their school, Christina and her best friend yearn to fit in. So when cheerleading tryouts are announced, both girls jump at the opportunity to join the most popular girls in school, but will their friendship withstand the challenge? Recommended for ages 9–12.