May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than reading about it with your kids? I’ve gather a list of our family’s favorites as well as some new to us books that celebrate Asian American culture. These picture books are a perfect way to learn more and educate your family about the rich Asian American culture and history.
Reading Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo to my kids made me smile. It’s such a cute story about finding family in a strange place. A young girl tells the story of how her immigrant mother and Auntie Yang discover a soybean field in the Midwest. Soybeans were one her parents’ favorite food from China and they finally found it in the United States! Thus begins the tradition of the great soybean picnic.
I can totally empathize with Tuyet in Duck for Turkey Day for Jacqueline Jules. Growing up, my family served a banquet of Vietnamese food for Thanksgiving. We younger kids always wished we could have turkey like our friends did. Just like Tuyet, my cousins and I learned that everyone has their own spin on Thanksgiving dinner.
In Nadia’s Hands by Karen English, Nadia is excited to chosen as a flower girl for her aunt’s wedding. As her hands are decorated for the event, she learns to appreciate her rich culture.
Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park is a fun book about how a family shops for and cooks this traditional Korean rice dish. It’s written in rhyme and even includes the author’s bee-bim bop recipe!
Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia is lyrical and is a blast to read out loud. Aneel’s grandfather tells him the story of how the delicious Indian flatbread helped him accomplish many great things. It’s a truly fun and magical book to read.
In Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, Marisa is excited to help her grandmother make their family’s traditional dumpling soup to celebrate the new year. Except she’s worried it won’t taste as good. Set in Hawaii, this book is a great introduction to the multicultural Hawaiian life. (This book is out of print but you can purchase used copies from third party sellers on Amazon.)
I can’t leave Grace Lin’s books off this list. Her colorful picture books gives a slice of life view of a Chinese American family. Two of our favorites ar Dim Sum for Everyone! and Fortune Cookie Fortunes. Don’t worry she has written other books that aren’t about food. Guess we like to eat!
Visit your library to find these books or you can easily add them to your personal collection. Sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial for free 2 Day shipping (among other perks).
Today I’m focusing on picture books, but stay tuned for a list of chapter and YA books. For more resources and activities, visit the Smithsonian Asia Pacific American Center’s website.