Recognizing Children's Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

Recognizing Children’s Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

For #AAPIHeritageMonth, I wanted to recognize Asian Americans in children’s books. I’ve tried to include all the Asian American authors and illustrators I can think of, including Asian Canadians for all books except young adult. This list grew out of trying to recognize this group on my Instagram (@PragmaticMom) and on the new Multicultural Children’s Book Day Instagram (@ReadYourWorld MCBD).

I’ve included a few YA authors that my kids personally recommend but for the most part, this is list is picture books, early chapter books, middle grade chapter books, graphic novels, and novels in verse. I’ve also tried to limit this list to books published within the last 12 months.

Who am I missing? Thanks for your help!

Asian American Picture Book Biographies

It turns out that very few picture book biographies were published this year featuring an Asian American.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

I’m excited to read this picture book biography. I have long admired Maya Lin’s public art monuments and it’s wonderful to see her in a children’s book. I’ll also happy that Dow Phumiruk is the illustrator; I loved her #KidLitSafetyPin artwork.

As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldrep

Growing up in Honolulu with the Pacific Ocean as his backyard, Duke Kahanamoku learned to swim and surf at a young age. By his early twenties, Duke’s lightning-fast swimming won him a place on the 1912 United States Olympic team and a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle race. Over the years Duke struggled with racism and financial troubles, but by the end of his twenty-year Olympic career, he was a six-time medal winner. Although a swimming champion, Duke’s passion was surfing. He traveled the world, introducing surfboarding to Australia and the east and west coasts of the United States. Considered the father of modern surfing, Duke spread his love of the ocean and Hawai’i wherever he went. Throughout his life Duke Kahanamoku was beloved for his modesty, sportsmanship, and amazing skill in the water. [picture book, ages 7 and up]

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, illustrated by Yutaka Houlette

Fred Korematsu liked listening to music on the radio, playing tennis, and hanging around with his friends—just like lots of other Americans. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941 and the government forced all people of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes on the West Coast and move to distant prison camps. This included Fred, whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Japan many years before. But Fred refused to go. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he got put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Step Up to the Plate Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls’ team forming in Yuba City, California. It’s the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria’s teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls’ League to start a girls’ softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria’s parents–Papi from India and Mama from Mexico–can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world. In this fascinating middle grade novel, award-winning author Uma Krishnaswami sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history set in a community whose families made multicultural choices before the word had been invented. [chapter book biography, ages 8 and up]

Chef Roy Choi  and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and  June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One

Yukari Reads on Instagram gaves me the heads up on this one.

Chef Roy Choi calls himself a “street cook.”
He wants outsiders, low-riders,
kids, teens, shufflers and skateboarders,
to have food cooked with care, with love,
with sohn maash.

“Sohn maash” is the flavors in our fingertips. It is the love and cooking talent that Korean mothers and grandmothers mix into their handmade foods. For Chef Roy Choi, food means love. It also means culture, not only of Korea where he was born, but the many cultures that make up the streets of Los Angeles, where he was raised. So remixing food from the streets, just like good music—and serving it up from a truck—is true to L.A. food culture. People smiled and talked as they waited in line. Won’t you join him as he makes good food smiles? [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jordi Solano

In the 1930s, few people studied the ocean and none were women. At 9 years old, Eugenie Clark dreamed of studying sharks, and went on to get a master’s degree in zoology. She became the first person to study sharks in their natural habitat. Her research shed new light on sharks; they were intelligent creatures, not voracious killers. She experienced discrimination as a woman and racism as a Japanese American, but she never let it slow her down. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 92, still researching and diving the depths of the ocean! [picture book biography, ages 5 and up]

Shark Lady: the True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, illustrated by

Indebted to Yukari Reads on Instagram for this suggestion.

This is the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire. This is the story of Shark Lady.

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

The Inker’s Shadow by Allen Say

For Allen Say, life as teen in Southern California was a cold existence. His father, one of the leading hamburger salesmen in Japan, ran a booming burger business, much like McDonald’s, and sent Allen to an American military academy, so that his son could learn English and “become a success in life.”

As the school’s first and only Japanese student, he experienced immediate racism among his fellow cadets and his teachers. The other kids’ parents complained about Allen’s presence at the all-white school. As a result, he was relegated to a tool shed behind the mess hall. Determined to free himself from this oppression, Allen saved enough money to buy a 1946 Ford for $50 – then escaped to find the America of his dreams!

In this follow-up to Drawing from Memory, Allen continues to reinvent himself as an author and illustrator. Melding his paintings with cartoon images and archival photos, Allen Say delivers an accessible book that will appeal to any reader in search of himself. [picture book autobiography, ages 12 and up]

I only know of these two picture book biographies published within the last 12 months. What else am I missing? Thanks for your help!

Paula Yoo has two great ones:

Next, I wanted to highlight Asian American characters in children’s book published recently. Again, they were hard to find. I would love your suggestions to add to this list.

Asian & Asian American Characters in Recently Published Children’s Books

Attack of the Ninja Clan! by Arree Chung

A ninja must be ready for anything! Maxwell is a strong, courageous, silent ninja, but he also wants somebody to play with. Mama, Papa, and little sister Cassy are all too busy, leaving Maxwell disappointed and alone. [picture book series, ages 4 and up]

Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, illustrated by Christina Forshay

Mei Mei s grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn, trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school. Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses? Winner of the LEE & LOW New Voices Award, this title celebrates, with lively spirit and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Let’s Go To The Hardware Store by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Melissa Iwai

When the new house needs fixing up, it’s off to the hardware store to find the tools and materials needed to get the job done―a hammer, a screwdriver, a shiny tape measure, and even a stepladder.

This family outing explores a familiar errand that fascinates plenty of young children: the hardware store. Anne Rockwell’s perfectly pitched story and Melissa Iwai’s child-friendly illustrations make this book ideal for the preschool audience. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Jasmine Toguchi series by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

I’m really excited about this Japanese-American early chapter book series! It’s the FIRST of its kind; I don’t think I’ve seen any children’s books featuring a “Ramona” or “Clementine” character who is Japanese American though I also love the Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look, and my middle daugher has always had a soft spot for Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin.

Debbi Michiko Florence incorporates Japanese American culture in this engaging series with a strong female character. [early chapter book series, ages 6 and up]

Cilla-Lee Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:

– How she dealt with being bald until she was five
– How she overcame her struggles with reading
– How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different

Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Alvin Ho: Allergic to The Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look

My son and I loves this series. Here’s the sixth book in the beloved and hilarious Alvin Ho chapter book series, which has been compared to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers.

Alvin, an Asian American second grader who’s afraid of everything, is taking his fears to a whole new level—or should we say, continent. On a trip to introduce brand-new baby Ho to relatives in China, Alvin’s anxiety is at fever pitch. First there’s the harrowing 16-hour plane ride; then there’s a whole slew of cultural differences to contend with: eating lunch food for breakfast, kung fu lessons, and acupuncture treatment (yikes!). Not to mention the crowds that make it easy for a small boy to get lost. [early chapter book series, ages 6 and up]

The Year of the Garden by Andrea Cheng

In this prequel to The Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]

Finding Mighty by Sheela Chari

A mystery that combines graffiti art, parkour, Indian American characters, diamond smuggling, and family secrets. It’s set in Yonkers, NY and is a fast-paced urban page turner. [chapter book, ages 10 and up]

The Stone Heart (The Nameless City) by Faith Erin Hicks and Jordie Bellaire

My Chinese heritage is linked to the silk trade and I am fascinated by the Silk Road. This graphic novel brings the intrigue and adventure of the silk road to life.

Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself. [graphic novel, ages 9 and up]

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

A powerful story set in small-town Arkansas in 1955 that illuminates the unrest surrounding the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the segregated south. Inspired by the true stories of Chinese immigrants who came to the American south during the civil rights era, this poignant story reminds us all that home is where our hearts reside, and that friends can come to us in the most unexpected ways. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

This Is Just a Test byWendy Wan-Long Shang & Madelyn Rosenberg

What’s like to grow up Chinese-Jewish-American during the Cold War 80’s? A coming of age chapter book of a boy caught in the middle of cultures and friendships. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Listen, Slowly by Thahnna Lai

Listen, Slowly is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! This remarkable and bestselling novel from Thanhha Lai, author of the National Book Award–winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family. [novel in verse, ages 8 and up]

Grace Lin‘s third book of a four book series is out. Her award winning book mixes Chinese folk tales in new fusion of action adventure. This book starts to tie in her older two books with perfect symmetry.

Paper Wishes by Lois Sephaban

This is on my Japanese Internment Camp book list:

10 year old Manami tries to sneak her dog into internment camp when her family is separated during WWII due to anti-Japanese American laws enacted. She and her parents and grandfather must leave Bainbridge Island in Washington for a dreary camp in the desert of California. They lose everything they own, save for a suitcase they can carry. Manami loses even more; her voice is gone from the trauma and she doesn’t speak after her dog is taken away. The riot in Manzanar is not well known in U.S. history, and this chapter book gives back some of the humanity taken away from the Japanese Americans who were forced into concentration camps for simply looking like the enemy. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw

Review from The Children’s War:

The Last Cherry Blossom is a story of unfathomable loss, but also of hope, resilience, and survival. Paired with Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, both these stories should stand as a cautionary tale about war and the use of what we would now call weapons of mass destruction, and never forget that, as Burkinshaw reminds us in her Afterword, “the victims were all someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, or child.”  It was true then, and is still true today. [chapter book, ages 11 and up]

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Gareth Hinds

I had this book as a long shot on my 2017 Newbery picks.

My son picked this book out at a book event. This historical fiction book brings to life the battles and political intrigue of twelfth century Japan, during a critical time period where the emperor was losing power against the nobility.

This could have been a dull and dusty recounting, but Pamela Turner’s careful historical research combines with fact with action. Still, she tells his story in the third person, never really imagining what he was thinking or doing unless it was backed up by research.

Heart of the Samurai takes more liberties which makes for a better story. Still, his life is a real-life Japanese Game of Thrones, though it might be hard for readers to keep track of all the players involved. It’s not just the unfamiliar Japanese names; there are a lot of complicated relations and relationships going on with shifting loyalties and bloody battles. [chapter book, ages 12 and up]

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She’s had it with people thinking that everything she does well — getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, et CETera — are because she’s ASIAN. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Momotaro Xander and the Dream Thief by Margaret Dilloway

I bought this book for my son but we haven’t read it yet. I recognized the reference to Momotaro, The Peach Boy, so I was curious to read more:

Xander Miyamoto should be feeling great. It’s the beginning of summer vacation, his mother has returned from a long absence, and he has learned that he is a warrior with special powers. Xander never would have guessed that the old Japanese folktale about Momotaro, the hero who sprang from a peach pit, was real, much less part of his own heritage.

But instead of reveling in his recent victory against the oni, monsters bent on creating chaos, Xander is feeling resentful. What took his mother so long to come back? Why does his father insist on ruining the summer with study and training? And why is Xander plagued by nightmares every night? Maybe this whole Momotaro thing is overrated.

Xander’s grandmother gives him a special baku charm to use to chase his nightmares away. He just has to be careful not to rely on it too much. If he does, the baku will not only take his dreams, but those of everyone in the house, forever. Without dreams, there is no hope, no motivation, no imagination, no Momotaro. And then it would be far too easy for Ozuno, king of the oni, to wreak havoc. . . [chapter book series, ages 8 and up]

The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Lin Wang

This book is  a kind of Japanese Rumplestiltskin folk tale about friendship and the power of kindness. [folk tale picture book, ages 6 and up]

The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau

I have Andrea Wang’s book event here about her charming Chinese New Year folk tale.

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan

This book reads like an India folk tale about a princess who is blind and mute. It’s a fierce tiger that inspires her to talk. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

My Friends by Taro Gomi

Using simple words and bright illustrations, author-illustrator Taro Gomi shows children that sometimes knowledge can come from all kinds of friends. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

This is supposed to be a big deal! I’m excited to read her latest YA novel.

This elegant young adult novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse.

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new. [young adult, ages 14 and up]

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? [young adult, ages 12 and up]

Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. [young adult, ages 12 and up]


Asian American Authors and Illustrators with New Books!

April Chu illustrator for Kate Warne: Pinkerton Detective and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim

This nearly wordless book uses onomatopoeia and striking bold illustrations to tell the story of a homeless cat who meets an Asian grandfather on a bus and finally finds a home. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Where Are My Books by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Spencer loves to read. He reads a book every night. But one morning his favorite book goes missing, and in its place is a tulip. Spencer searches high and low, but he can’t find his book.

The next morning another book is missing, a nut in its place. And the morning after that, another book is missing.

What is happening to Spencer’s books? When he finds out, Spencer devises a surprising solution that will delight readers (and librarians) everywhere. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Cat from Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

Rendered in exquisite mixed-media collage, Caldecott Medalist Ed Young’s deceptively simple fable is a deeply affecting tale about appreciating the value of treasures that need not be chased. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Shine! by illustrated Patrick McDonnell, illustrated by Naoko Stoop

A shining new picture book about learning to appreciate the wonders in your world and within yourself, by New York Times bestselling author Patrick McDonnell and Naoko Stoop, creator of Red Knit Cap Girl, a New York Times Best Illustrated book. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

I had this as a pick for my 2017 Caldecott list.

This book reminds me of Grandpa Green by Lane Smith which also won Caldecott honors but I like the illustrations even a tad more. What’s nice is the way the illustrators use color to convey mood; the pages with topiaries burst with color, but those without are more monotone, giving the book a dream-like quality. The illustrations of people are also well rendered, both accurately and in an appealing way. There’s a magical quality to this book that mimics the magic of turning a bush or a tree into a topiary. For those who think a debut illustrator/author can’t possibly win a Caldecott, I’d like to see this win to disprove this! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Little Tree by Muon Van

A gentle allegorical picture book about the refugee experience. When the Little Tree sees the world around her narrowing, she worries about what life will be like for her Little Seed. She decides to take the biggest risk of all, and let Little Seed find a richer life on her own. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Still a Family: A Story about Homelessness by Brenda Reeves Sturgis, illustrated by Jo-Shin Lee

A little girl and her parents have lost their home and must live in a homeless shelter. Even worse, due to a common shelter policy, her dad must live in a men’s shelter, separated from her and her mom. Despite these circumstances, the family still finds time to be together. They meet at the park to play hide-and-seek, slide on slides, and pet puppies. While the young girl wishes for better days when her family is together again under a roof of their very own, she continues to remind herself that they’re still a family even in times of separation. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon

Salina Yoon’s charming text and bright, energetic illustrations ensure that readers will be clamoring for more Penguin stories – wherever they make their home! [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Peek-a-Boo Zoo by Joyce Wan

Lift the flaps and play peek-a-boo with Joyce Wan’s animals at the zoo! [picture book, ages 1 and up]

Violet Rose and the Summer Campout by Jannie Ho

With an engaging story, puzzles, and activities, this is another visually gorgeous book that, along with its companion website, will keep children busy for hours. [picture book with activities, ages 4 and up]

I am (not) Scared! by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

A silly, fast paced read aloud about friends braving the amusement park together. (These two remind me of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie– but for a younger crowd.) A great text to encourage younger children to explore and identify their feelings. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation by Ted Staunton, illustrated by Mika Song

Harry and Clare are stuck at home for their spring break. No exotic locations, no plane trips, no exciting plans. So they make their own fun: the living room becomes Mars, the diving board at the pool becomes a pirate’s plank and the local playground where the man-eating octopus lives. The trouble is, older sister Clare is the one making all the rules, and that means deciding on the game AND eating all the food. But Harry has a plan to turn the tables… if he can just keep his snacks out of the Abominable Snowman’s clutches! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Linda Sue Park has both a rhyming picture book and an action adventure series!

Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang, illustrated by Marla Frazee

In this irreverent, hilarious, and charming picture book, award-winning poet Victoria Chang and celebrated artist Marla Frazee show that all toddlers love their mommies—no matter what. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Burt’s Shirts by Surjit Kaur, illustrated by Pedro Demetriou

A story of a little boy who loves his shirt. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends―and why it’s worth the journey. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]

Super Hero High series by Lisa Yee

Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls™—the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman™, Supergirl™, Batgirl™, and some of the world’s most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers!

Supergirl is the new girl in school—and she just also happens to be the most powerful teenager in the galaxy! [chapter book series, ages 8 and up]

Secret Coders series by Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang comes a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot! [graphic novel series, ages 8 and up]

BroBots by J. Torres and Sean Dove
A trio of robot bros reel in a big challenge and must band together to battle a giant monster in this playful take on classic kaiju-mech and fairytale stories. [graphic novel, ages 4 and up]

Amulet #7: Firelight by Kazu Kibushi

While there are not any Asian American themes or cultures overtly in this series, this is one of my son’s and husband’s favorite graphic novels series! [graphic novel series, ages 8 and up]

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past. [nonfiction picture book, ages 7 and up]

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

This latest book in The Poetry Friday Anthology series offers 12 poems per month and 12 poems with the theme of “Birthdays and Baby Days” PLUS “Take 5!” mini-lessons for teaching and sharing skills and standards such as the CCSS and the TEKS. In addition, each poem is linked to a picture book recommendation and other poems in the book for text-to-text connections. Choose your favorite celebrations for each month! [poetry anthology, ages 4 and up]

The Singing Bones by Shawn Tan

Wicked stepmothers, traitorous brothers, cunning foxes, lonely princesses: There is no mistaking the world of the Brothers Grimm and the beloved fairy tales that have captured generations of readers. Now internationally acclaimed artist Shaun Tan shows us the beautiful, terrifying, amusing, and downright peculiar heart of these tales as never before seen. [chapter book, ages 12 and up]

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

I have an interview with Cynthia Kadohata on this book here.

Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen

Set in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis C. Chen’s Kangaroo Too is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer space adventure.

On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner―code named “Clementine” ―might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. [young adult, age 14 and up]


Warcross by Marie Lu

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. [young adult, ages 12 and up]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Recognizing Children's Books for #AAPIHeritageMonth

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Wow! That is quite a list. These look like some really amazing books. We’ve read a few of them but I just added quite a few more to our wish lists. Pinned.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Weekly Wrap- Up: The Week We Used Perler BeadsMy Profile

  2. What a list! Have read some of them, but many more I haven’t! Have never read Crane Girl and have wanted to.
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Seasons of Joy by Claudia Marie LenartMy Profile

  3. Lovely! What a beautifully researched gift to the children and all of us.
    Joan Gladstone Kramer recently posted…CANCER IS BACK AND THIS TIME IT HURTS RIGHT OFF THE BAT!My Profile

  4. My word! This list is great! Thanks so much!
    Penny Parker Klostermann recently posted…A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt: Blogging Break and 98 Collaborations!My Profile

  5. Wow–what a comprehensive list, Mia! It will be my go-to list now :).

    So thrilled to see so many of my friends’ books here: The Nian Monster; Paper Wishes, and Jasmine Toguchi in particular!!

  6. We Own “Fred Korematsu Speaks Up” and it is excellent. I want to find that book about Maya Lin. Several other of your recommendations look intriguing as well.
    maryanne recently posted…Quick and Easy Shape Activities for PreschoolMy Profile

  7. A wonderful list, as always! It good to see old favorites (My Friends), recent finds (Step Up To the Plate Maria Singh) and so many new books to read. Thank you!
    Jennifer Brunk recently posted…Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018My Profile

  8. As always I’m thrilled to go over your book lists! You always have so many great recommendations. Thanks!

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