Picture Book Highlights | Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

By Monica C. RSS Mon, May 8, 2023

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — a perfect time to highlight some recent books written and/or illustrated by Asian creators.

We've done it in the past, and you can find more inspiring reads here and here. These books are for year-round reading fun!


Lizzy and The Cloud  by The Fan Brothers

It’s a little out of fashion to buy a pet cloud, but Lizzy doesn’t mind. She’s not looking for a big one or a fancy one, just one that’s right for her. And she finds it in Milo. Soon, she’s taking Milo out on walks with her family, watering Milo right on schedule, and seeing Milo grow and grow. But what happens when her pet cloud gets too big for Lizzy to handle?

Ebook available in Overdrive

Juna and Appa  by Jane Park; illustrated by Felicia Hoshino

Juna enjoys helping her father in their dry-cleaning shop on Saturdays. It's their special time together. One day Juna sees a customer yelling at Appa about a lost jacket. Juna has never seen her father look so worried and becomes determined to help. She sets off on a magical journey in search of the jacket, and along the way meets remarkable animals that show her the different ways that fathers care for their young.

Sunday Pancakes  by Maya Tatsukawa

It's Sunday! And for Cat that means... pancakes! But Cat is out out of eggs and milk — maybe inviting friends will fix that. Luckily, Rabbit and Bear have the missing ingredients covered, and these friends get to work baking stacks and stacks and STACKS of pancakes! There may be a few spills and oops along the way, but pancakes — and friends — don't have to be perfect to be wonderful. Included in the story is a simple recipe so readers can enjoy making pancakes of their own! 

Ebook available in Overdrive

Punky Aloha  by Shar Tuiasoa

Meet Punky Aloha — a spunky Polynesian girl who uses the power of saying "aloha" to make friends and experience new, exciting, and unexpected adventures. Punky loves to do a lot of things — except meeting new friends; she doesn’t feel brave enough. So when her grandmother asks her to go out and grab butter for her famous banana bread, Punky hesitates. But with the help of her grandmother’s magical sunglasses and a lot of "aloha" in her heart, Punky sets off on a BIG adventure for the very first time.

Tofu Takes Time  by Helen H. Wu; illustrated by Julie Jarema

LICK CLACK WHIRRRR... Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother.

Ebook available from Overdrive

Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country  by Kelly Yang

From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu; to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris; this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields. Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end.

Ebook available from Overdrive

Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome  by Kat Zhang; illustrated by Charlene Chua

Amy’s class has a new student from China! Amy tries hard to make Lin feel included, but she can’t draw him out of his shell. Then she sees Lin chattering happily in Chinese with his family. The gears in her head start to turn, and a plan blossoms. Step one: invite Lin to her dumpling party. â€‹With a little help from her grandma and a shiny new banner, can Amy give Lin the warmest welcome?

Ebook available from Overdrive

American Desi  by Jyoti Rajan Gopal; illustrated by Supriya Kelkar

A young girl longs to know where she fits in: Is she American, or is she Indian? Does she have to pick, or can she be both? With bright, joyful rhyme, and paired with an immersive art style using American and Indian fabrics, American Desi celebrates the experiences of young children growing up first and second generation Indian American: straddling the two cultural worlds they belong to, embracing all they love of both worlds, and refusing to be limited by either.

Anni Dreams of Biryani  by Namita Mehra; illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

Anni’s on a mission to YUM! The café across the street from Anni’s home in Little India makes the best biryani in the world. Fluffy and fragrant, spicy and succulent — Anni could eat it every day. In fact, Anni loves that biryani so much that she’s determined to uncover the secret to the recipe. She has so many questions for Uncle — the grumpy chef and owner of the café — but he isn’t providing any easy clues. So, with some careful planning, Anni sets out on a mission to find out the secret ingredients to this most special dish. Will Anni get the answers she’s looking for… before it’s too late?

The Best Kind of Mooncake  by Pearl Auyeung

Once upon a morning in Hong Kong, in the alley of Tai Yuen Street, a girl is promised a mooncake with a double-yolk center — the best kind! The special mooncake seems like the only excitement on an otherwise boring day in the market where nothing changes… until an exhausted stranger falls to his knees right in the street! He ran through forests, swam through rivers, and even stowed away on a ship, all to get to Hong Kong. Now at the end of his journey, all he needs is a bite to eat, but no one seems willing to help — not even the girl, if it means giving up her prized treat. The girl’s ultimate decision has surprising, far-reaching consequences in this mostly true story that reminds us that even the smallest acts of kindness hold the power to change lives, for the giver as much as the receiver.

Kimchi, Kimchi Every Day  by Erica Kim

Whether round and crunchy like a kimchi pancake or pinched and plump like a kimchi dumpling, there are so many ways to enjoy this Korean traditional dish. Explore the different ways to eat kimchi in this fun, rhyming tale that also teaches the days of the week. Korean-American author-illustrator Erica Kim shares her pride in her delicious cultural food through her cut-paper art technique. The Hanji paper that is used to illustrate the book comes from a paper mulberry tree native to Korea. This beautiful reflection of culture will inspire children to take pride in their cultural foods, too.

Ebook available from Overdrive

Finding Papa  by Angela Pham Krans; illustrated by Thi Bui

No one can make Mai laugh like her papa! She loves playing their favorite game — the crocodile chomp, chomp! But then Papa leaves Vietnam in search of a new home for their family in America and Mai misses him very much. Until one day, Mama and Mai pack a small bag and say goodbye to the only home Mai has ever known. And so begins Mai and Mama’s long, perilous journey by foot and by boat, through dangers and darkness, to find Papa.

Ode To A Bad Day  by Chelsea Lin Wallace; illustrated by Hyewon Yum

Sometimes the small disappointments and inconveniences in kids' days can feel much bigger than they are. And when they start multiplying... oh, what a bad day it can become! Told in a series of dramatic odes to a day’s annoyances, Ode to a Bad Day lets children and caregivers alike find the humor and compassion in the days that could have gone better — and encourages readers to look forward to a better day... tomorrow.

Rainbow Shopping  by Qing Zhuang

Shopping for and preparing a delicious meal helps a young Chinese American girl feel connected to her family.

Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room for these titles and many more being added.

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