Summer Stories: Asian Pacific American Heritage

The summer can bring all kinds of surprises, from unexpected family vacations to the realization that your parents' embarrassing customs may not be quite so bad after all. Follow the adventures of globe-trotting kids, national heroes, and kids stuck at home looking for a little bit of excitement in these stories celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage.

Apple Pie 4th of July

Illustrated by: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Age Level: 6-9

"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.

At the Beach

Age Level: 3-6

Xiao Ming and his mother are spending a summer day at the beach, and the sand is the perfect place to draw characters for words such as "sand" and "water." Xiao Ming's mother helps him see the picture within each character — a trick sure to appeal to readers new to the Chinese written language. The colorful, intricate illustrations, created by cut-paper collages, will fascinate young children. This book is one of a four-part series by the author about Chinese characters related to the different seasons.

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic

By: Ginnie Lo
Illustrated by: Beth Lo
Age Level: 3-6

While on a visit to her aunt and uncle in Illinois, the narrator and her family unexpectedly find a field of growing soybeans which begins a 40 year tradition. Based on the author's experiences, text and child-like illustrations reveal a caring, surprisingly modern family story from times past.

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…

Kohala Kuamo'o: Nae'ole's Race to Save a King

Illustrated by: Aaron Kawai'ae'a
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: When a prophecy proclaims that the unborn Kamehameha would grow to overshadow the ruling chiefs, his life from birth is in danger. Nae'ole races with the helpless infant across the Kohala district of Hawai'i Island to bring Kamehameha to safety. Three generations of the Kawai'ae'a family join together to give us this unique look at place names of the Kohala area and the important events that shaped Hawaiian history. Bilingual edition.

Pacific Crossing

By: Gary Soto
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: In Japan for the summer to practice the martial art of kempo, Lincoln Mendoza sometimes feels like little more than a brown boy in a white gi. Yet with the help of his Japanese brother, Mitsuo, Lincoln sees that people everywhere, whether friend or kempo opponent, share passions much like his own — for baseball, family traditions, and new friendships.

Ruby Lu, Brave & True

Illustrated by: Anne Wilsdorf
Age Level: 6-9

Eight-year old Ruby experiences life with a contagious joie de vivre. However, she really hates Chinese school and worries about the new cousin from China along with other easily recognizable concerns in this episodic, engaging novel. Ruby's life continues in the equally engaging Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything (2006).

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

By: Paula Yoo
Illustrated by: Dom Lee
Age Level: 6-9

As an Asian American child growing up in California, Sammy Lee was only allowed to use the public pool on Wednesdays. But Sammy was not easily deterred from his dream of becoming an Olympic diver, and at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, he became the first Asian American to win a gold medal in U.S. history. Paula Yoo and Dom Lee skillfully bring Sammy's story to life in this inspirational biography.

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time

By: Lisa Yee
Age Level: 9-12

Stanford flunks English and is forced to go to summer school instead of his beloved basketball camp. What makes it worse is Millicent Min, girl genius, is brought in to act as his tutor. This is a very funny book that will especially appeal to boys.

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku

Age Level: 9-12

"The Pacific Ocean was Duke's backyard." So begins the tale of Duke Kahanamoku, often considered the "Father of Modern Surfing." Duke won six Olympic medals as a swimmer, but surfing was his passion. Duke, who encountered discrimination throughout his lifetime, was also a hero, saving eight people singlehandedly from a capsized boat in 1925. Readers will enjoy discovering the story behind Duke's unforgettable legacy.

The Ugly Vegetables

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

In a neighborhood of flower gardens, a Chinese-American girl and her mother plant what the child considers to be ugly vegetables. The ugly vegetables, however, become attractive and help build community when made into a delicious soup! A recipe is included.