Every May we commemorate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrating the immeasurable contributions the AAPI community has made throughout U.S. history. From advancing the Civil Rights Movement to innovating technology, to researching in space, the ways in which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have enriched our nation are as diverse as the cultures themselves.
To bring this celebration home for our little ones, we’re shining a spotlight on the folks our kids truly couldn’t live without: storytellers. Below we highlight some of our favorite picture books by AAPI writers. These are the AAPI kids books that have lulled our babies to sleep, whisked them off on adventures, and shown them a breadth of experiences.
1. A Unicorn Named Rin
This sweet story takes any small child's dream equation (unicorn + princess + dragon) and adds a dash of epic adventure, with lessons on Chinese history and culture.
2. Nimesh the Adventurer
Nimesh may be little, but his imagination is anything but. Readers will delight in his outlandish adventures as he takes what should be an ordinary walk through his neighborhood.
3. Drawn Together
A young boy and his grandfather may not speak the same language, but through art and story, they forge a moving and beautiful bond.
4. Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
This gorgeously illustrated story follows a young girl's journey to embracing what makes her special.
5. The Moon Lady
Vibrant illustration's bring Amy Tan's words to life, weaving a story of three young sisters who lap up every moment of their grandmother's wish-filled tale.
6. Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala
Darling illustrations enhance this heartwarming story of family, culture, and the magic of memory.
7. My First Day
Sparse lyrical text and whimsical artwork beckon little readers to the page for a story of a brave boy's journey to school on his first day.
8. Like the Moon Loves the Sky
If your child's bedtime routine is in need of a new comfort read, this lovely book from Hena Khan is it. With sweet illustrations and a message inspired by the Quran, Like the Moon Loves the Sky is a book about a family's love.
9. 10 Gulab Jamuns
Join Idu and Adu on a delicious adventure as they explore the delicious world of Gulab Jamuns and try to make their limited supply last until their dinner guests arrive.
10. A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Little Star's irresistible temptation leads her to the Big Mooncake she bakes with her mama, unveiling a heartwarming story that beautifully explores the phases of the moon in Grace Lin's captivating picture book.
11. Brown Is Beautiful: A Poem of Self Love
During a hike with her grandparents, a young Indian-American girl discovers the abundance of brown in nature, collecting mementos for a scrapbook to welcome her baby brother while celebrating the beauty and significance of this color.
12. Bee-Bim Bop!
Experience the joy of a young child helping her mother make the traditional Korean dish bee-bim bop as they shop, prepare ingredients, set the table, and gather together for a delightful meal. This heartwarming picture book celebrates family, culinary traditions, and the love of sharing a homemade meal.
13. Bravo, Anjali!
In this empowering story, Anjali faces challenges as the only girl in her tabla class, but finds encouragement and strength from a friendly fifth grader who reminds her to never dim her light.
14. Grandmother's Visit
Grace learns about love, loss, and what a close bond is with her grandmother as they share cherished moments together. But when Grandmother's presence starts to fade, Grace must navigate her absence and find closure in a touching farewell.
15. Hair Twins
Experience the heartwarming bond between a Sikh father and his daughter as they lovingly care for and celebrate their hair together, sharing a special tradition that includes combing, braiding, and creating matching hairstyles.
16. Home Is In Between
Shanti embraces the contrasts of her life as she navigates between missing the monsoon rains in India and adjusting to the new experiences in America, contemplating the meaning of home and embracing her dual Indian and American identity.
17. Juna's Jar
When Juna's best friend moves away without saying goodbye, she embarks on magical adventures using her special kimchi jar, seeking new friends and unexpected adventures along the way.
18. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Join the determined, funny, and fierce Amy Wu as she sets out to make the perfect bao bun, facing challenges and seeking a second chance to achieve her culinary goal.
19. Laxmi’s Mooch
Embark on Laxmi's empowering journey of self love as she embraces her body hair, celebrates her heritage, and learns the importance of self acceptance with the support of her parents.
20. A Map Into the World
Experience the poignant journey of a young Hmong girl as she navigates the complexities of beauty and connection amidst the ever-changing seasons, discovering the meaning behind her collection of natural treasures and contemplating their intended recipients.