16 Books by Asian & Pacific Islander Americans to Read All Year

Guest Blogger  //  Mar 17, 2021

16 Books by Asian & Pacific Islander Americans to Read All Year

Now more than ever we are dedicated to promoting, celebrating, and supporting our Asian American and Pacific Islander creators, readers, and community. Below, check out some incredible books by our AAPI creators to read all year round.

My Lucky Little Dragon by Joyce Wan

Whether your child is a happy little horsey, a snuggly little lamb, or a brave little tiger, My Lucky Little Dragon will have every parent saying, "Baby, I'm so lucky to have you!"

From the creator of the scrumptious You Are My Cupcake, Joyce Wan's new board book with bright colors, bold illustrations, and a mirror in the last page is a perfect read-aloud for the little dragon in your life.

Rabbit Moon by Jean Kim

Bedtime wishes take flight on paper airplanes, traveling all the way to the moon. There Rabbit gathers the night's haul, grinds the wishes into stardust, and fills the sky with their starlight. It is a beautiful sight to behold, but lonely work. So one night, Rabbit takes a wish and makes it float down to earth; when it comes true, he makes new friends and the star work takes a back seat to some well-earned fun. But as each day fades, so do the night stars. And with the first starless sky, Rabbit realizes it's time to make the journey home. It is a sad departure, but Rabbit's friends make one last wish, and send an astronomical gift.

Will Bear Share? by Hilary Leung

Meet Bear. Bear has so much to give, but will she share? Find out in this surprising and memorable storybook all about friendship, compromise, and of course, sharing.

A fresh and funny book in a new series of animal question stories by creative talent Hilary Leung that will keep little ones laughing, and sharing (when it's appropriate!).

Be Curious! by Joy Cho; Art by Angie Stalker

Follow one happy cat as she goes on a sensory adventure full of animal friends, joy, and of course — curiosity! This book's simple, rhyming text fosters parent-child interactions and read-aloud fun. Detailed and adorable illustrations with exploratory interactive lift-the-flaps and peek-through holes ensure that little ones stay engaged and curious as they laugh, explore, and read this story!

Wishes by Muon Thi Van & Victo Ngai

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 the littlest member of the family. Inspired by actual events in the author's life, this is a narrative that is both timely and timeless. Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story chronicles a family's difficult and powerful journey to pack up what they can carry and to leave their world behind, traveling to a new and unknown place in a crowded boat. With sparse, poetic, and lyrical text from acclaimed author Muon Van, thoughtful backmatter about the author’s connection to the story, and luminous, stunning illustrations from Victo Ngai, Wishes tells a powerful and timely story in a gentle and approachable way for young children.

Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

The Dragon Path by Ethan Young

The Wong Clan hopes to leave their blighted homeland for a mythical place called Old Land, but first they must pass through the Dragon Path. Young Prince Sing is separated from the clan during an attack by their fearsome enemies, the Dragon Clan.

As the Wong Clan and the Dragon Clan battle, a terrible betrayal by a devious advisor throws the conflict into chaos. With the help of Ming, a mystic from the Old Land, and his cat-like warrior beast Midnight, Prince Sing must do all he can to save both the Wong Clan and the Dragon Clan from mutual destruction.

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence

Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she's got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have… together.

But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey's demands, and soon Keiko's besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she's been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn't have a crush on, the friendship she's always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble.

Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends — even if it means losing one of them — or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?

Front Desk & Three Keys by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series by Sayantani DasGupta

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey, until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. It turns out that there might be some truth to her parents' fantastical stories — for example, that Kiranmala is a real Indian princess who comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they've come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons, all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen, in order to find her parents and, essentially, to save New Jersey, as well as her entire world and everything beyond it.

Diary of an Ice Princess Series by Christina Soontornvat

Princess Lina has a life any kid would envy. She lives in a massive palace in the clouds. Everyone in her family has the power to control the wind and weather. On a good day, she can even fly! She loves making lemons into lemon ice, riding wind gusts around the sky, and turning her bedroom into a real life snow globe.

There's just one thing Lina wants: to go to regular, non-magical school with her best friend Claudia. She promises to keep the icy family secret under wraps. What could go wrong? (EVERYTHING!)

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She's obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she's been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi's estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life. When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto's outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family's dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.

But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara's house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara's entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she's ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee

In this romantic coming-of-age novel about chasing big dreams, a Korean-American girl travels to Seoul in hopes of debuting in a girl group at the same K-pop company behind the most popular boy band on the planet. 

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Anna Chiu has her hands full. When she’s not looking after her brother and sister or helping out at her father’s restaurant, she’s taking care of her mother, whose debilitating mental illness keeps her in bed most days. Her father’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could be a normal teen.

But when her mother finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as her mother’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

Caster & Spell Starter by Elsie Chapman

Aza Wu knows that real magic is dangerous and illegal. After all, casting killed her sister, Shire. As with all magic, everything comes at a price. For Aza, it feels like everything in her life has some kind of cost attached to it. Her sister had been casting for money to pay off Saint Willow, the gang leader that oversees her sector of Lotusland. If you want to operate a business there, you have to pay your tribute. And now with Shire dead, Aza must step in to save the legacy of Wu Teas, the teahouse that has been in her family for centuries.When Aza comes across a secret invitation, she decides she doesn't have much else to lose. She quickly realizes that she's entered herself into an underground casting tournament, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Real magic, real consequences. As she competes, Aza fights for her life against some very strong and devious competitors.When the facts about Shire's death don't add up, the police start to investigate. When the tributes to Saint Willow aren't paid, the gang comes to collect. When Aza is caught sneaking around with fresh casting wounds, her parents are alarmed. As Aza's dangerous web of lies continues to grow, she is caught between trying to find a way out and trapping herself permanently.