Happy AAPI Heritage Month! (Kids & YA Books)

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!!! To celebrate, I've put together a list of incredible kids and young adult books by AAPI authors to fill your life with wonderfully diverse stories :) As there are quite a few books on this list (I couldn't help myself, truly), I recommend bookmarking this tab so you can refer back to it throughout the year whenever you are in need of some inspiration for what kids books to read next. Stay tuned for adult book recommendations for AAPI heritage month coming next week!

Also, if you have the means, please consider donating to local organizations that support AAPI communities such as API Chaya here in Seattle (a local non-profit organization that seeks to end systemic violence in our communities). Every bit helps <3 <3

An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.

Ho'onani feels in-between. She doesn't see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She's happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.


A New York Times Bestseller and #1 Indie Bestseller

This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity.


A visually stunning story of resilience and determination by an award-winning new author-illustrator team.


Drawn Together Cover Image
By Minh Lê, Dan Santat (Illustrator), Dan Santat (Cover design or artwork by)
$17.99

The recipient of six starred reviews and the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature! Named a Best Book of 2018 by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Smithsonian, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist, the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, BookRiot, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library


Wishes Cover Image
By Muon Thi Van, Muon Thi Van, Victo Ngai (Illustrator), Victo Ngai (Illustrator)
$18.99

An arresting, poetic journey and a moving reflection on immigration, family, and home, from an acclaimed creative team.

Wishes tells the powerful, honest story about one Vietnamese family's search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting and powerful impact that makes on one of the youngest members of the family.


This hilarious story of a pangolin with an identity crisis will be loved by fans of Penguin Problems and Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great.

Poor pangolin--he's trying to explain who he is, but all the other animals keep getting confused.


Two sisters discover the power of love and the true meaning of compassion in this princess-adventure story based on an ancient Chinese tale.


In this sweet and brightly illustrated picture book, Amy Wu must craft a dragon unlike any other to share with her class at school in this unforgettable follow-up to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao.

Amy loves craft time at school. But when her teacher asks everyone to make their own dragon, Amy feels stuck.


A timely and timeless picture book about immigration that demonstrates the power of diversity, acceptance, and tolerance from a gifted storyteller.

An ALSC Notable Children's Book of 2021
A Kirkus Best Books of 2020
A School Library Journal Best Books of 2020

"An engaging, beautiful, and memorable book." --Kirkus Reviews,


It's the twins' first time fishing. Astrid and Apollo can't wait to ride on their Uncle Lue's fast boat and get goofy pictures with all the fish they catch. But Apollo keeps catching things that are not fish When a storm brings them to shore, Apollo starts to feel like he's a fishing failure. Can the twins turn the day around and help Apollo find the fun in fishing?


Fresh Off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this first novel in an adorable new chapter book series about Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl who is starting a snack business!

Mindy Kim just wants three things:
1. A puppy!
2. To fit in at her new school
3.


In this fun collection of four new Yasmin stories, Yasmin tackles every challenge she faces with her head and her heart Whether she's helping to solve a recycling problem at school, trying to avoid a science fair fiasco, searching for a favorite lost book, or gathering her courage to join in the fun, Yasmin is always willing to give it a try.


For fans of Inside Out and Back Again and Amina’s Voice comes a breathtaking own voices story of family, hope, and survival from Ellen Oh, cofounder of We Need Diverse Books.


Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can't take Claudine's bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she's still in training to use her grandfather's arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works.


A multicultural story full of heart and hilarity about what it means to be all-American.

Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don't have any classes together in sixth grade, it's disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play.


Own Voices author Nizrana Farook makes her middle grade debut in a daring tale of friendship, risk, and reward, all set against the lush backdrop of Sri Lanka.

"A rich and joyful adventure story for those who enjoy daring escapades in a fairy-tale setting." --School Library Journal


“Fast-paced and full of wonder, this is a powerful, gripping must-read.”—Kirkus (starred review)

“A lush and mysterious fable, full of beauty, full of wonder.”—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal–winning author of When You Reach Me


"An exhilarating tale. . . Readers will be enthralled." --J.C. Cervantes, New York Times bestselling author of The Storm Runner


One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian.


Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this fantasy adventure by New York Times best-selling author, Roshani Chokshi, inspired by the great epics she grew up on.
Named one of 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time by Time magazine!


From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes a new story inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women, featuring four sisters from a modern American Muslim family living in Georgia.

When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist


From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out's “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,” this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle’s Nate series.


Eleven-year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. But in one summer, that all falls apart. Told in short, accessible journal entries and combining the humor of Timmy Failure with the poignant family dynamics of Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Peter Lee will win readers' hearts.


The haunting and poignant story of a how a young Japanese girl's understanding of the historic and tragic bombing of Hiroshima is transformed by a memorial lantern-floating ceremony.


A young witch must pass a coming-of-age quest or risk losing her magic forever in this enchanting fantasy -- perfect for fans of Kiki's Delivery Service and Aru Shah and the End of Time.

Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic...


Omar has to solve the mystery of his missing teacher in the third installment of this highly-illustrated middle-grade series starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination.


Fans of Wendy Mass and Lisa Greenwald are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sweet story about first crushes, friendship drama, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself.

Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer.


A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.

Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different.


My gym shorts burrow into my butt crack like a frightened groundhog.

Don't you want to read a book that starts like that??

Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.


"Pippa is a magnetic heroine, funny and good-hearted."--Booklist

Readers will cheer on Korean American Pippa Park in this wonderful middle school book about friendships, bullying, crushes, and family. In this relatable story, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is on and off the basketball court.


Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim's thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.


Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880.


A 2021 Newbery Honor Book

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.


WINNER OF THE NEWBERY MEDAL NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

 
Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.


* Chosen as a 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist for Young Readers' Literature! *

A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.


From the critically-acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British-Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill-fated maiden voyage.


"Proof of Malinda Lo's skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger."—O: The Oprah Magazine

"The queer romance we’ve been waiting for.”—Ms. Magazine

"Restrained yet luscious."—Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Tipping the Velvet 

A National Bestseller


A New York Times Bestseller
An Indie Bestseller


Perfect for fans of Marie Lu and E. Lockhart, The Ones We're Meant to Find is a gripping and heartfelt YA sci-fi with mind-blowing twists. Set in a climate-ravaged future, Joan He's beautifully written novel follows the story of two sisters, separated by an ocean, desperately trying to find each other.


An NPR Book Concierge Pick of the Year

“The fun of this engrossing read is that underneath the slapstick lies a finely nuanced meditation on how we perform as ourselves.” —New York Times Book Review
 


BOOK ONE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES


From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.

Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike.


"Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!" - Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn


#1 New York Times-bestselling author Marie Lu is back with Skyhunter, an adrenaline-laced novel about the lengths one warrior will go to fight for freedom and those she loves.

A broken world.
An overwhelming evil.
A team of warriors ready to strike back.


Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma.


An addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret--she's a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.


“A lyrical novel about grief, love, and finding oneself in the wake of a tragic loss.” —Bustle
“Gorgeous prose and heartbreaking storytelling.” —Paste Magazine
“Grabs your heart and won’t let go.” —Book Riot

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

Three star


Diverse book recommended by The Today Show * A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020

The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.


Discover New York Times bestseller Samira Ahmed’s romantic, sweeping adventure through the streets of Paris told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, continents, and the lives of two young Muslim women fighting to write their own stories.
 
Smash the patriarchy. Eat all the pastries.


New York Times bestseller!

Optioned for film by the producers of Jenny Han’s TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE.

Most anticipated novel of 2020: Boston Globe, Book Riot, Bustle, Nerd Daily, Seventeen, She Reads.


The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China
 
Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents.


*Chosen as a 2020 Kids’ Indie Next pick * A Locus Reading List recommendation * An Andre Norton Nebula Award Finalist*

“Shveta Thakrar's prose is as beautiful as starlight.”—New York Times bestselling author Holly Black


Zara's family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens.


Sixteen extraordinary authors—including New York Times bestsellers Melissa de la Cruz, Renée Ahdieh, and Julie Kagawa—reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.


Uncover a riveting story of palace intrigue set in a sumptuous Asian-inspired fantasy world in the breakout YA novel that Publisher's Weekly calls "elegant and adrenaline-soaked."


An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
A BuzzFeed Best Young Adult Book of 2020

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Serpent & Dove, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shang


Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, enjoy this sweetly funny coming-of-age story about falling in love, family expectations, and being a Renaissance Man.  Danyal Jilani doesn't lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he's funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day.


"A witty, romantic, deeply insightful debut." --Emma Lord, author of Tweet Cute

In this sparkling and romantic YA debut, a reserved Bangladeshi teenager has twenty-eight days to make the biggest decision of her life after agreeing to fake date her school's resident bad boy.

How do you make one month last a lifetime?


One of PEOPLE Magazine's Best Books of Summer!
 
"I absolutely adored this funny, fierce, big-hearted book.”  
—Morgan Matson, New York Times bestselling author of Save the Date

 


Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale.


The New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine YA Book Club Pick! Emiko Jean’s Tokyo Ever After is the “refreshing, spot-on” (Booklist, starred review) story of an ordinary Japanese-American girl who discovers that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan.


Everyone likes Humaira "Hani" Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita "Ishu" Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani.