Picture Book and Chapter Book Recommendations

Asian Heritage Month Book Recommendations 

Picture Books 

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng. A touching story about little Maomao, a young girl who reunites with her migrant worker father at the Lunar New Year. A Feng Zikai Picture Book Award winner. 

The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula, illustrated by Pearl Law. Join two sisters as they listen to their grandmother tell the tale of the origins of the Mid- Autumn Festival. Winner of a Best Book Award by the Chinese-American Librarians’ Association. 

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin. A young girl wishes for a garden of bright flowers instead of one full of bumpy, ugly, Chinese vegetables her immigrant mother has planted. 

The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by David Roberts. An updated take on an old tale, a young boy emperor learns his ministers are cheating him and decides to trick them with ‘magical’ clothes that only honest people can see. 

New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-Joo Bae. A young Korean girl puts on her traditional Hanbok and gets ready for her family’s New Year celebrations. 

The Boy Who Asked Why by Sowmya Rajendran, illustrated by Satwik Gade. A biography of a boy born as a low-caste ‘Untouchable’ whose eagerness to learn leads him to a scholarship in the US. 

Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk, illustrated by Ziyue Chen. Set in Northern Thailand, a young girl sets off from her village and is soon swept away by the river. She then negotiates with the animals to find her way home. 

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan. A story set in mythic India about a blind and mute princess who meets a tiger that changes her life. 

The Sounds of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito, illustrated by Julia Kuo. Follow little Yoshio through bustling Tokyo as he tries to discover the sound of silence. 

Chapter Books 

Year of the Rat by Grace Lin. (MG) Follow young Pacy, a Taiwanese-American girl in a small town in New York state, as she navigates changes when her best friend moves away. 

When the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (MG). A fantasy-adventure novel where Minli from Fruitless Mountain searches for the Old Man in the Moon. A Newbery Honor book. 

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang (MG). A humorous and heartwarming story about split cultural identities, and all the ways life fails to go according to plan for sixth-grader Lucy Wu. 

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (MG). Set in 12th century Korea, the story of Tree- Ear, a 13-year-old orphan, who dreams of being a potter with a royal commission. A Newbery Medal winner. 

Aisha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan (MG). Asha decides to set off on a dangerous journey to find her father and bring him home before money-lenders make them penniless. 

Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell (MG). A collection of poems that tell the story of a young girl in China who discovers a passion for writing. 

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (MG). A story told in poems about a young girl’s life before and after her family flees Vietnam for the US. 

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr (MG). Based on the life of 11-year-old Sadako, who after becoming sick due to the Hiroshima bomb, makes paper cranes in an effort to get well. 

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (MG). Twelve-year-old Nisha, half-Muslim and half-Hindu, and her family need to flee their home in Pakistan during Indian Partition. A Newbery Honor book. 

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins (MG). Neel, a young boy in Bengal, sets out to find an escaped tiger cub and discovers that sometimes you need to take risks to preserve what you love. 

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel). An award-winning book that weaves three tales – the legend of the Monkey King; the story of Jin Wang, a child of Chinese immigrant parents struggling to fit in; and Danny, a white boy whose Chinese cousin comes to visit. 

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (YA). A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (YA). In the aftermath of her mother’s suicide, Leigh travels to Taiwan where she meets her estranged grandparents 

and experiences a part of her heritage she has never known. On her journey, she discovers more about her mother, her family, and herself. 


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