As a teacher, mom, and Asian American, I am *SO* happy to see more and more books representing people of different ethnicities. It’s important to me that my daughters see themselves reflected in books, movies, art, toys, and culture. For your reading pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of 20 of my favorite children’s books with Asian or Asian American characters and/or themes .
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1. Hush! A Thai Lullaby
I actually bought this used, off of Facebook Market, along with a bunch of other books. I was so delighted to find out it is a Thai lullaby! (I am of Thai descent.) My kids literally had me read it to them four or five times the first day I brought it home! It’s a sweet story with lots of repetition (perfect for toddlers!) with a humorous ending.
2. Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek
Written by the same author as Hush! A Thai Lullaby, Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek is equally adorable, playful, and colorful.
3. Bee-Bim Bop!
A sweet story about a child helping her mom make a traditional Korean dish. The author even includes her recipe for it!
4. Cora Cooks Pancit
I love all of these stories involving food! Another endearing story about a Filipina mother and daughter cooking together.
5. A Different Pond
This book is more sobering than those listed above. It’s a story about one Vietnamese father and son, a shared experience, and a connection between their old country and their new one.
6. Mela and the Elephant
Ah, such a heartwarming story about friendship and kindness!
7. The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round
A cute adaptation of “The Wheels on the Bus”.
8. Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
Just a gorgeous book! Beauty comes in many different forms.
9. The Name Jar
Names are so special! A name in and of itself can be different…different sounding, different looking…but names are special because they are part of what makes you YOU.
10. My Mother’s Sari
Whimsical and sweet!
11. Laxmi’s Mooch
A fun and supportive book about loving one’s body just the way it is and being proud of one’s heritage.
12. I Am Able to Shine
Totally positive and uplifting book!
13. Mommy’s Hometown
A sweet book that looks at a mother’s hometown (and the daughter’s heritage) through the eyes of a child.
14. Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando
A true story about how instant ramen was created.
15. Yum Yum Dim Sum
A cute book about dim sum, complete with whimsical illustrations.
16. Thank You, Mama
A darling book about the joy of eating food and manners.
17. The Most Beautiful Thing
All the feels!! A heartfelt story about the love between a grandma and granddaughter, beauty, and life as an immigrant.
18. Dumplings for Lili
One of my favorites!!! A lighthearted story about dumplings, community, and family. Bonus: includes a recipe for bao!
19. Tofu Takes Time
A sweet story about patience and the process of making tofu from scratch.
20. I Dream of Pop0
A beautiful story about the love between a grandmother and granddaughter that transcends even distance.