Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM)! This May, we want to uplift Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA&PI) stories. Here are some books featuring AA&PI representation we suggest sharing with your child.
How can we teach children about Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures and experiences? Start by introducing them to these stories.
When selecting books, you will find many options, which may focus on a historical or contemporary perspective. You can pick books that are fiction, non-fiction or just classic reads by Asian American authors. No matter what type of book you choose, it’s a great opportunity to ‘jumpstart’ conversations with a child in your life.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of our favorites to get you started!
1. Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon written by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Read Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang and follow Amy as she tries to make her “just right” dragon. Encourage your child to think about different items they could use to make a patchwork dragon that is their own. Let your child decorate their dragon with things like string, newspaper, wrapping paper, or other materials around the house. Ask your child, “What makes your dragon just right?”
2. Juna’s Jar written by Jane Bahk, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Read Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk. Join Juna and Hector on their adventures as they collect items to put in empty kimchi jars. But when Hector moves away, Juna uses her imagination to look for him, all while filling her jar. Has your child had someone move away? What are things you can do together to remember this person? Encourage your child to add some meaningful objects to their own jar.
3. Too Many Mangos written by Tammy Paikai, illustrated by Don Robinson
Read Too Many Mangos by Tammy Paikai and find out what Kama and Nani do with all the mangos they pick from grandpa’s tree! Ask your child, “What would you do if you had too many mangos?”
4. I’ll Go and Come Back written by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Read I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, a story about Jyoti and her grandmother. While they don’t speak the same language, they still find a way to communicate. Invite your child to think about someone, like a grandparent or neighbor, with whom they may share a different language. Ask your child, “What are other ways you can communicate with them?”
5. The Ugly Vegetables written and illustrated by Grace Lin
Read The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, a book about a girl who wishes for a flower garden instead of a vegetable garden. Consider asking your child to talk about some of their favorite dishes. What vegetables are in the dish? Why is that their favorite food?
6. Cora Cooks Pancit written by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, illustrated by Kristi Valiant
Read Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore. In this story, Cora finally gets to take on a “grown up job” as she makes pancit–a Filipino noodle dish–with the help of her mama for dinner. For Cora’s family, pancit is a comfort food (or a food that makes people feel cozy). Ask your child, “What foods comfort you?”
Additional Book Suggestions from Jumpstart’s AA&PI Affinity Group:
- The Twins’ Blanket – written by Hyewon Yum
- Dear Juno – written by Soyung Pak, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
- Bee-Bim Bop! – written by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
- The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh – written by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley
- Wishes – written by Muon Thi Van, illustrated by Victo Ngai
- Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala – written and illustrated by Meenal Patel
- My First Day – written and illustrated by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien
- Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao – written by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua
- Ohana Means Family – written by Ilima Loomis, illustrated by Kenard Pak
- Eyes that Kiss in the Corners – written by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho
- Dim Sum for Everyone – written and illustrated by Grace Lin
- Sandwiches and Samosas – written by Suhani Parikh, illustrated by Reshma Srinivas
- Dancing Devi – written by Priya S. Parikh, illustrated by N. Dejeshwini
- I Dream of Popo – written by Livia Blackburne, illustrated by Julia Kuo