Family Stories: Asian Pacific American Heritage

These stories celebrate the ties and customs of Asian Pacific American families from around the world and speak to the importance of family in sharing laughter, tears, and hope.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

Age Level: 6-9

This book, based on experiences of the author's mother and grandparents, tells the story of a Japanese American family relocated to an internment camp in Utah. Even in the harsh landscape of the desert, a young girl is able to find beauty in unlikely places, and to re-establish her identity through art, by drawing what she remembers of her life before coming to the camp. Historical notes included. Bilingual English and Japanese.

Bringing Asha Home

Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9

It's Rakhi Day, a Hindu celebration special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a little sister. Soon his wish comes true when he finds out that his parents will be adopting Asha, a little girl from India. Waiting for Asha is hard, though, and Arun is impatient. Arun's patience finally pays off when Asha arrives — just in time to celebrate another Rakhi Day. Beautiful pastel illustrations bring Arun and this uplifting story to life.

Chachaji's Cup

Illustrated by: Soumya Sitaraman
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Neel loves listening to Chachaji's stories over steaming cups of tea. Chachaji's tales of great Hindu gods and demons, and of his adventures in the Indian Army, leave Neel openmouthed. But it is the tale of his great-uncle's favorite teacup that teaches Neel the most, for Chachaji's cup holds far more than sweet, spicy masala chai. It holds the story of a family and a country split in two during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. When the precious cup and Chachaji's health both prove to be more fragile than they look, Neel knows what he must do.

Dragonwings

Age Level: 9-12

Moon Shadow joins his father, traveling from China to San Francisco in the early 20th century. Together father and son confront harsh prejudice as well as kindness, and ultimately follow a dream to build a flying machine in this Newbery Honor novel.

Dumpling Days

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Pacy is back! This summer, Pacy's family is going to Taiwan for an entire month to visit family and prepare for their grandmother's 60th birthday celebration. Pacy's parents have signed her up for a Chinese painting class, and at first she's excited. But everything about the trip is harder than she thought it would be. At least the dumplings are delicious…

Heroes

Illustrated by: Dom Lee
Age Level: 6-9

From the author of Baseball Saved Us comes an intergenerational story that describes how a Japanese-American family deals with the painful legacy of war. Set against the backdrop of the 1960s and talk of Vietnam, it offers a universal message of dignity and courage to anyone who feels they are different. Full-color illustrations.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby

Illustrated by: Holly Meade
Age Level: 0-3

A loving mother asks animals from a water buffalo to a lizard to "hush" so her baby can sleep. Once the noises stop, the mother herself sleeps — and the baby is now awake! Textured illustrations evoke the Thai setting and convey the understated humor of this unique bedtime book.

In the Park

Age Level: 3-6

Spring has arrived and Xiao Ming can't wait to spend the day in the park with his mother. All around them are signs of the season: insects flying, leaves on the trees, and flowers in bloom. Xiao Ming's mother teaches Xiao Ming how to write the words for these things in Chinese by first drawing pictures of them. Following the highly acclaimed At the Beach and In the Snow, this is Huy Voun Lee's third book on Chinese character writing.

Kite Flying

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

The young narrator describes how she and her family each contribute to a handsome kite which they then enjoy flying. Signature illustrations show traditional Chinese kite designs combined with an author's note about kite history. The result is the celebration of an ebullient family tradition that readers may want to take up themselves!

Maggie's Chopsticks

Illustrated by: Isabelle Malenfant
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Poor Maggie struggles to master her chopsticks — it seems nearly everyone around the dinner table has something to say about the "right" way to hold them! But when Father reminds her not to worry about everyone else, Maggie finally gets a grip on an important lesson.

Nim and the War Effort

Age Level: 6-9

Nim, a young girl living in San Francisco's Chinatown during World War II, is determined to collect the tallest stack of newspapers to support her school's newspaper drive and the national ongoing war effort. The story and its evocative illustrations depict the cultural traditions and quiet determination of a Chinese American family trying to embrace their American identity while the country is at war with Japan.

Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek

Age Level: 3-6

The playful rhyming verses in this story from Thailand follow a game of hide-and-seek between a father and daughter as it moves from the house to the yard to the nearby streams and lush jungle. Vivid illustrations are done in watercolor and cut-paper collage.

Starry River of the Sky

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

Rendi, a self-centered, unhappy boy runs away from home and winds up in a sad town. Storytelling, however, instigated by a mysterious newcomer allows Rendi to mature and help the villagers. The rich narrative incorporates tales inspired by Chinese tales in this worthy companion to Where the Mountain meets the Moon.

Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story

By: Yumi Heo
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Follow a little girl as she and her family prepare for the new baby that will soon be joining them. And simultaneously, watch the girl's mother fly off to Korea, meet the new baby, and bring her home. Here is a child-centric look at the adoption process through the eyes of a soon-to-be older sibling.