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Celebrate AAPI Voices: 25 New Books for Your Library!

Posted by Sophie Butler on May 09, 2024

Celebrate AAPI Voices: 25 New Books for Your Library!

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month! It’s time to embark on an exciting journey through the vibrant landscapes of Asian American and Pacific Islander literature and meet characters you will fall in love with.

When every page is a gateway to a new adventure, it’s important to encourage your students to read stories that reflect the rich tapestry of human experiences. AAPI books offer a kaleidoscope of voices, cultures, and perspectives that broaden their world view and encourages diversity in schools. It also fosters empathy, appreciation, and connection.

So whether you are a teacher looking to diversify your curriculum or a student hungry for captivating tales, we’ve got you covered! We wanted to highlight these 25 books across all ages and reading levels, guaranteed to ignite imaginations and inspire meaningful conversations.

Without further ado here are 25 books to help you celebrate AAPI month!

Picture Books:

1. Piper Chen Sings by Phillipa Soo and Maris Pasquale Doran

Piper Chen adores singing. She sings to the sun, she sings to the moon, and even sings to her stuffed animals! But when she’s asked to perform a solo at her school concert, doubt creeps in. With help from her grandmother, Nai Nai, Piper must learn to conquer her nerves to shine on stage.

2. Aloha Everything by Kaylin Melia George

Get ready to embark on a magical journey through the stunning islands of Hawai’i. Ano is a courageous young girl who discovers the true meaning of aloha through hula dancing. With breathtaking illustrations and poetic storytelling, this book will take you on a journey into Hawaiian history, ecology, and culture.

3. Awe-Samosas! by Marzieh Abbas

Noor attempts her Dadijaan’s delicious samosa recipe for the first time, but when she can’t reach her grandmother in Pakistan for guidance she has to improvise! Follow along as she crafts her own version of the beloved dish: Awe-samosas. This is a heartwarming tale of creativity and family tradition.

4. Tricky Chopsticks by Sylvia Chen

Jenny Chow struggles with chopsticks. They are just so slippery! Determined to not be left out of her family’s tradition, she sets out to solve her struggle with a creative STEAM-powered solution. Filled with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, this book is a must read.

5. My Lost Freedom: A Japanese American World War II Story by George Takei

On February 19, 1942, George Takei’s world changed forever at the age of four. George’s family is forcibly removed from their California home and placed in camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Takei reflects on his experiences, offering insight into the challenges of being labeled an enemy by one’s own country.


6. We Who Produce Pearls: An Anthem for Asian America by Joanna Ho

This is a stirring, beautiful tribute to Asian American history and identity. Through poetic language and vibrant visuals, readers get to experience the richness and diversity of Asian American communities. Encourage your young readers to embrace their self-worth and rise to their destiny with strength and power.

7. Sejal Sinha Dives for Diamonds on Neptune by Maya Prasad

When Sejal’s puppy eats her notebook and her brother throws a tantrum, she dreams of escaping her big sister duties. So when her cousin Ash proposes a mission to Neptune to see if it really rains diamonds, Sejal jumps at the chance for an out-of-this-world adventure! This is perfect for fans of The Magic School Bus.

8. Lucky Scramble by Peter Raymundo

Tyler Goodman is facing financial struggles until he lands a sponsorship from CubeMania to compete in this year’s Speed Cubing National Championship! But the competition is fierce. This gripping graphic novel will have you on edge until the last cube is solved.

9. Marya Khan and the Awesome Adventure Park by Saadia Faruqi

Excited for spring break, Marya and her friends plan a trip to Skye Adventure Park- the best theme park around. With so much to do, Marya is most excited for the obstacle course. When she learns there is a leader board she makes it her mission to practice and beat out her athletic friend. But when the time comes, will Marya win the obstacle course?

10. The Magic Paintbrush by Kat Zhang with Eric Darnell

Amy has always loved art, but has been feeling uninspired lately. Until she discovers an ancient paintbrush at her Lao Lao’s house that brings her drawings to life. When one of her creations escapes and starts causing chaos, Amy embarks on an international adventure filled with ancient legends and thrilling encounters.

Middle School:

11. The Unbeatable Lily Hong by Diana Ma

Lily Hong has always loved winning. She is determined to beat her rival Max Zhang in this year’s Clarktown’s Got Talent video competition. However, when her parents who run a chinese school at the community center tell her they are performing a traditional Chinese dance, she must embrace her longtime rival to save the community center with their performance!

12. The Door Is Open: Stories of Celebration and Community by 11 Desi Voices edited by Hena Khan

Get ready to discover stories of fear, triumph, and celebration as the local kids gather at the community center to discover new crushes, fight against ignorance, and even save a life. This book of short stories is filled with humor and warmth and showcases the diverse array of talented authors with heritage from the Indian subcontinent.

13. Summer at Squee by Andrea Wang

Phoenny Fang is ready for the best summer ever! She’s returning to Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience as this year’s senior camper. But when her group of friends is split up and there’s an influx of new campers, Phoenny’s idea of camp turns into a transformative time of new friendships, first crushes, and a better understanding of her community.

14. Maybe It’s a Sign by E.L. Shen

Seventh-grader Freya June Sun has always believed in Chinese superstitions, especially since her dad’s death last year. She’s become obsessed with receiving signs from him to make him proud. However when she learns she may love baking more than music, she is scared to make a big change in her life without a sign. Through help from her family and friends Freya must learn that she sometimes has to make her own luck.

15. Lily Xiao Speaks Out by Nicole Chen

Lily Xiao can’t wait to go to Camp Rock Out this summer with her best friend and cousin, Vivian, who’s just moved from Taiwan to Lily’s California hometown. But when Vivian can’t get her grades up, Lily comes up with a plan to get her school to support more English-as-a-Second-Language learners. With Camp Rock Out on the line, Lily must decide how much to push for change and to stand up and speak out.

Young Adult:

16. What’s Eating Jackie Oh? by Patricia Park

Jackie Oh is tired of being a model minority with her perfect GPA. She wants to be a professional chef, but her family doesn’t understand her dream. But when she gets a chance to be a teen contestant on her favorite cooking show, she must figure out how to cook her own way to win.

17. Not Your Average Jo by Grace K. Shim

Riley Jo knows what she wants… to be a musician. When she gets into a prestigious Los Angeles-based arts-focused boarding school she can’t wait to make her indie rock dreams come true! But when she has to deal with nepotism and racism within her band, she must take matters into her own hands and perform center stage on her own.

18. Rules for Rule Breaking by Talia Tucker

Winter Park and Bobby Bae’s families have been friends since they were kids, however they are repulsed by each other. So when they have to go on a northeast college campus tour together, they embark on a journey of self-discovery by abandoning their rules. They challenge each other to dares, battle digestive distress, and crash a party at Cambridge… and maybe realize they’re perfect together along the way.

19. The Colliding Worlds of Mina Lee by Ellen Oh

Mina lee has become the hero of her own story. Literally. When she wakes up she is trapped in her fictional world and it’s up to her to save everyone! With the help of Jin, the handsome boy of her dreams, she must discover a conspiracy involving the evil corporation Merco that she created. Will she be able to save everyone?

20. The Space Between Here & Now by Sarah Suk

Aimee Roh has Sensory Time Warp Syndrome, a rare condition that causes her to time travel to a moment in her life when she smells something linked to that memory. But when Aimee disappears into a memory of her estranged mother, she decides to travel to Korea to unravel the mystery of her memories. Along the way, she realizes she’ll need to reconcile her past in order to save her present.

Advanced Reader:

21. 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers by Abraham Chang

Young Wang has received plenty of wisdom from his uncle. One being that everyone gets seven great loves in their lifetime. But then Wang meets the brilliant, quick-witted Elena (his sixth love) he starts to question his obsession with Chinese numerology.. Was his uncle wrong or are they fated for failure? This is a love letter to Western pop culture, Eastern traditions, and being a first-generation New Yorker.

22. Lies and Weddings by Kevin Kwan

Rufus Leung Gresham has a problem. The legendary Gresham Trust has been depleted and now he has to attend his sister’s wedding at a luxury eco-resort to seduce a woman with money. But when a volcanic eruption sets their plan up in flames, can Rufus rise from the ashes? This is a hilarious and thrilling story of love, money, murder, sex, and the lies we tell about them all.

23. Real Americans by Rachel Khong

Let us set the scene. Y2K NYC, Lily Chen, a flat-broke girl from Tampa and child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution falls in love with Matthew, an easygoing, attractive East Coaster and heir to a pharmaceutical empire. But when we jump to 2021 we see that Nick Chen, who lives with his single mother Lily, decides to set out to find his biological father. This immersive, moving story weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and finally coming home.

24. You Know What You Did by K. T. Nguyen

Annie “Anh Le” Shaw seems to have it all now with her dream career and family. But when her mother dies suddenly one night, her life begins to unravel. And when she wakes up in a hotel room next to a lifeless body, the police have more questions but Annie doesn’t have answers. With tons of twists, this thriller is also a heartfelt exploration of the refugee experience, the legacies we leave our children, and the unbreakable bonds of family.

25. The Turtle House by Amanda Churchill

In spring of 1999, Lia Cope and her prickly 73-year-old grandmother, Mineko are sharing a bedroom in their Texas home. Though Lia has never felt close to her grandmother, their late night conversations lead to tales of friendship nurtured across oceans and heartbreak of love lost too soon. Lia comes to understand her grandmother’s pain and sacrifice for their life in Texas. When Mineko’s children decide to move her into an assisted living community, she and Lia devise a plan to create a home again when it feels like it has been lost forever.

As you dive into these captivating books, we encourage you to continue seeking diverse voices and perspectives in you and your student’s reading journeys. Let’s keep the conversation going! If you are interested in purchasing any of these titles in bulk you can request a quote and one of our account managers will be happy to help you out! Together, let’s build a future where every story is heard, cherished, and celebrated.