Children will adore these picture books by Asian and Asian American writers. The books in this list span a wide range of topics, including learning about one’s family and background, getting lost in nature, and learning about the fascinating lives of historical personalities. You’ve come to the perfect spot if you’re looking for books written particularly by Asian-American writers to guarantee that your bookcases are diversified or if you just want to read a very nice book to your children.

Before getting to the list, Books having a South Asian concentration are not included in this list, which East Asian writers dominate. South Asian and Indian Characters in Children’s Books is where you may discover South Asian books. See our list of middle-grade Asian American History Month novels for books featuring Asian and Asian-American characters for older readers.

This list features three categories: 

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Biography and historical fiction



by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua

Creative problem solving is shown in this adorable tale of a girl trying to produce the ideal bao. Amy struggles but is adamant about persevering even though her parents and grandmother all seem skilled at producing delectable sweets. Zhang did a great job including Amy’s father in the multigenerational kitchen crew creating the baos. Cooking with family books often solely features the ladies. Ages 4 and up.


by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim

This charming, heartfelt tale of a Hmong-American child is delightful. When Paj Ntaub first moves into a new home, she and her grandma hang a traditional Hmong tale cloth, get to know the neighbors, and observe the changing seasons. Along the way, one of her elderly neighbors dies, and twin boys are born. Paj makes a “map into the world” for him out of her keen observational abilities to make him feel better. Ages 5 and up.


by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Genevieve Simms

Her grandpa teaches Mayumi how to enjoy and take care of a garden. Mayumi’s grandfather’s Japanese garden has more stones than flowers. Mayumi uses her grief over the loss to create a miniature, portable stone garden that her grandpa may always keep with him when he is too old to live alone and is forced to leave his home and garden. Why not inspire your kids to design their little zen garden once they finish this book? Sand should be placed in a small dish. Pretty stones and a little rake should also be added. Ages 5 and up.


by Mia Wenjen, illustrated by Nat Iwata

A humorous, uplifting tale of a young man who struggles to find the right balance between being a nice big brother and his passion for sumo wrestling. I like how the plot smoothly incorporates Japanese vocabulary. A nice tale about a sibling bond while also serving as an excellent means of introducing youngsters to the sport.


by Shaun Tan

Tan explores the more sinister aspect of loneliness in his sparse prose and vivid visuals. A lonely girl awakens with the sometimes bizarre experience of being by herself, waiting for anything to happen, and roaming in a bewildering and wide universe. The girl’s mood is improved when she enters her room and discovers a red leaf that has appeared in the center of the floor and grown into a towering red tree. Certain to lead to some fascinating discussions! Ages 5 and up.



by Jason Chin

Chin is a prolific author, and this volume on the geology of the Grand Canyon is no exception. The narrative follows a youngster and an adult on a stroll in the majestic Grand Canyon while describing how the strata were created and the flora and animals that call the basin home. There is so much information here that you and your kids will want to read it often before starting to organize your next holiday! On the nonfiction shelf, search for Jason Chin’s other works. Ages 3 and up.



by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Lin Wang

Anna May Wong grew up working at her parents’ laundry company but always wanted to be an actor. She traveled to Europe after becoming dissatisfied with the fact that the only parts she could find in films were clichés of Chinese people. Nothing had changed when she returned to the States, so she started working on challenging those movie clichés. What an intriguing and significant tale. Ages 6 and up.


by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee

People of Japanese heritage were interned in camps by the American government during World War II. A baseball diamond is constructed by Shorty and his father on the camp’s dusty field. Shorty plays the game to boost his self-esteem and express his rage toward the guards. Be careful to engage students in a critical discussion of this book: Was it true that baseball saved the boys? Was venting their rage a useful strategy for their predicament? Should integration be the ultimate objective? Ages 6 and up.


by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee

This wonderful genuine tale is real. During World War II, the young narrator’s father served as the Japanese ambassador to Lithuania. Many Jewish refugees arrived at the embassy one day to request visas to Japan so they may escape the Nazis. They want to reach Japan so they may go securely to another nation. The boy’s father has requested authorization from Japan to grant the visas three times, and each time he has received a “no” response. However, the father makes the moral choice. I also like how the boy’s father participates in the story, even remarking, “My father always took the time to explain everything to me,” at one point. Just as interesting as the narrative is the author’s aftermath, which details what transpired in subsequent years. Ages 7 and up.

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