All posts in Asian American Children’s Books

Japanese Internment Books for Kids & My Family's Story

Japanese Internment Books for Kids & My Family’s Story

During WWII, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were forced from their homes after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February 1942 in response to prejudiced fears that Japanese Americans were spies.

I’m probably one of a few children’s book blogger whose family was forced into internment camps during WWII for being Japanese American. Let me tell you my family’s story:

Japanese Internment Books for Kids & My Family's Story

My mother was born in San Francisco’s Japantown. After school every day, she would go, on roller skates, from her high school to Japanese school to study the language and arts like ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, stopping on the way in a Japanese convenience store for a snack like senbei, Japanese rice crackers.

She, like all Japanese Americans (and the Chinese who immigrated before them in large numbers), were subject to racism which included special laws meant to limit their economic success. For example, Japanese Americans like herself, were not allowed to work for the government as civil servants. Even if she aced the government civil service exam, she would never be hired. Japanese immigrants were, by law, not allowed to own property in the United States, even if they could afford to buy a home for themselves and their family. The Asian Exclusion Act, part of the Immigration Act of 1924, completely excluded immigrants from Asia.

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia. from Historian

When soldiers showed up on her doorstep, giving her family just two days to pack up one suitcase each, leaving all their belongings behind; this didn’t happen overnight. A whole series of events happened leading up to this first.

Slap That Jap and Dr. Seuss racist cartoons

Dr. Seuss was a racist. Read more…

Books For Kids About Cambodia (ages 4 to 16)

Books For Kids About Cambodia (ages 4 to 16)

I was working on book lists for Hmong, Lao, Vietnam, and Cambodia, but it turns out that there are few fiction books on their countries but quite a few on Cambodia. Like Japanese American books that mostly focus on WWII internment, many fiction books revolve on Khmer Rouge Cambodia, a heartbreaking event in history.

Still, there are other sides of the Cambodian story that emerge from this book list: folk tales that turn on the clever rabbit (the peasant who outwits those in power), the refugee immigrant, and the lives of Cambodians post war.

This list can also be used as part of a discussion on racism, and who is an “American.” I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. You can also use this list as a companion to Holocaust books for kids.

If you have other books to add on Cambodia, Laos, the Hmong or Vietnam, I’d welcome them! Thanks for sharing!

 

Books for Kids About Cambodia

Who Belongs Here?: An American Story by Margy Burns Knight, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien

A refugee’s story of who belongs here in America? After facing the most brutal of regimes, Nary, his grandfather and uncle are able to leave a refugee camp to relocate in America. Far from being the land of opportunity, they face racism. Similarly, Nary is bullied at school. Use this book to help students understand the refugee experience and to build bridges of understanding and compassion. Italicized notes on each page give a deeper view of the immigration experience. This book is also great paired with immigration picture books from other countries. [picture book, ages 8 and up]

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Art Activity Books for Kids Huge GIVEAWAY

Art Activity Books for Kids Huge GIVEAWAY

Nature is often a theme of Japanese art. Today, I am giving away two Japanese art coloring books and sharing some Japanese art by Hokusai from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I hope this helps to entertain your kids this summer.

p.s. More art posts for kids:

45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids by my daughter

10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids

Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading

Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids

Let’s learn about Ukiyo-e!

The ukiyo-e genre of art flourished in Japan from the 17th through 19th centuries The term ukiyo-e translates as ‘pictures of the floating world’.

Some ukiyo-e artists specialized in making paintings, but most works were prints. Artists rarely carved their own woodblocks for printing; rather, production was divided between the artist, who designed the prints; the carver, who cut the woodblocks; the printer, who inked and pressed the woodblocks onto hand-made paper; and the publisher, who financed, promoted, and distributed the works.

Hokusai The Great Wave

Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai
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My Chinese Silk Road Heritage

My Chinese Silk Road Heritage

I covered my Japanese Daimyo family history and my husband’s Chosun Dynasty family history on his father’s side, so I thought I’d cover my Chinese family history today. My father immigrated from China before the Communist Revolution to attend UCLA for a PhD in mathematics. He was asked to return to China right as the war began, but he decided to stay in Los Angles instead. A wise move in hindsight, given the Cultural Revolution that lay ahead. As an educated professional with family roots in the silk trade, he would have not fared well. Indeed, when we visited relatives in the 1980s, I met our Chinese relatives and heard the sad stories of what happened to his favorite nephew.

The Old Silk road

But I never knew much about the family silk business which I assumed was vertically integrated — from silk worm to silk thread to silk fabric to the Silk Road. I find that when I go to my public library, I always grab a few picture books that catch my eye that are on display. Read more…

A Survey of Lunar New Year Traditions by Janet Wong

Janet Wong on Lunar Year Traditions with Book List!

Did you know that Tibetan Losar, the Mongolian Tsagaan Sar, and the Vietnamese Tết occur at the same time as the Chinese and Korean lunar new year holidays? Janet Wong shares a book list and lunar new year traditions over at Multicultural Children’s Book Day Blog here:

I grew up celebrating the lunar new year mainly with the Chinese traditions of my father and his parents—firecrackers at midnight, the Chinatown parade, red envelopes, eating fish for wealth and lo hon jai, the monk’s noodle dish made with 18 different vegetables, for health. What I remember most, though, was our whole family frantically cleaning the house the evening before, to get rid of all the dirt and bad luck of the past year and make room for good luck in the new year. This illustration by Yangsook Choi from our book This Next New Year perfectly captures the frenzy:

A Survey of Lunar New Year Traditions by Janet Wong

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Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids #LoveThriftBooks

Thank you ThriftBooks.com for sponsoring this post. Click here to check out the 7 million quality, used books on their shelves!

For summer reading with your kids, why not stock up on Must Read classics especially when they are at bargain prices through Thrift Books? What’s the deal, you ask? Thank you for asking!

Any title marked with a DEAL tag on the detail page is priced:

  • 2 books for $7.00
  • 3 books for $10.00
  • 4 books for $12.00
  • each additional is $3.00

At these great prices, it’s easy to find fifteen twenty classic books for kids. These are the books I would buy even if it’s a few years before my kids can read them. Because at these prices, who can resist?! I can’t!!  Here are my picks! Read more…

Picture Book of the Day Celebrates Women's History Month

Picture Book of the Day Celebrates Women’s History Month

I’m thrilled to be participating in KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month, run by Margo Tanenbaum, of The Fourth Musketeer, and Lisa Taylor, of Shelf-employed. I met Margo at KidLitCon in 2012. Their great blog celebrates women in history by organizing a month of guest posts about women in history. My post on Anna May Wong was on March 11th.

Anna May Wong

 image from Wiki Commons

I am also chosing Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story for Picture Book of the Day today, and I include a short interview with author Paula Yoo. You might remember her for her wonderful post on Best Biographies for Kids. Read more…

10 books for kids to explore China and Chinese New Year

12 Books to Explore CHINA for Chinese New Year

My kids do a country unit on China in second grade where they spent a day celebrating Chinese Culture with Red Envelope Crafts. My kids also studied Mandarin Chinese and my oldest middle school Chinese language teacher also did a Chinese New Year celebration with crafts and food.

Last year was The Year of the Horse, this year Chinese New Year falls on February 19 and is the Year of the Sheep.

Will you celebrate Chinese New Year with books and crafts? Our favorite Chinese New Year books are here and I have 10 more newly published books on China to explore for the year to come!

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Top 10 Ninja Books for Kids

Top 10 Ninja Books for Kids Ages 4 through 16

My kids are one-quarter Japanese and they wish that their Japanese ancestry is steeped in the way of the ninja. It’s not. Their heritage is actually that of Daimyo, a feudal landowner/warlord,  and our ancestors are located about one hour outside of the city of Hiroshima.

I can see the appeal of the ninja over that of warlord, though. It’s that martial arts thing mixed with mystery and powers that border on mystical. Very appealing!

For today, October 10th or 10/10, I have 10 ninja books ranging from picture books, early chapter book, chapter books, and young adult. So it’s 10 on 10/10!

What is your favorite ninja book for kids? Please share! Read more…