Special Collections

Asian American Fiction K-12

Description: Explore the wide range of identities under the Asian/Pacific American umbrella with these K-12 books from the Asian/Pacific American Library Association's Literature Award and the National Education Association's Asian American Booklist. #kids #teens


Showing 1 through 25 of 81 results
 

Beacon Hill Boys

by Ken Mochizuki

In 1972 Seattle, a teenager in a Japanese American family struggles for his own identity, along with a group of three friends who share his anger and confusion.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

A Single Shard

by Linda Sue Park

In this Newbery Medal-winning book set in 12th century Korea, Tree-ear, a 13-year-old orphan, lives under a bridge in Ch'ulp'o, a potters' village famed for delicate celadon ware. He has become fascinated with the potter's craft; he wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday.

When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is elated -- until he finds obstacles in his path: the backbreaking labor of digging and hauling clay, Min's irascible temper, and his own ignorance. But Tree-ear is determined to prove himself -- even if it means taking a long, solitary journey on foot to present Min's work in the hope of a royal commission... even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

A Step from Heaven

by An Na

From master storyteller An Na comes the Printz Award-winning novel about a Korean girl who tells her firsthand account of trying to find her place and identity in America from the day she leaves Korea as a child to her rocky journey through the teenage years.

At age four, Young Ju moves with her parents from Korea to Southern California. She has always imagined America would be like heaven: easy, blissful, and full of riches. But when her family arrives, she finds it to be the opposite. With a stubborn language barrier and cultural dissimilarities, not only is it impossible to make friends, but even her family's internal bonds are wavering. Her parents' finances are strained, yet her father's stomach is full of booze.

As Young Ju's once solid and reliable family starts tearing apart, her younger brother begins to gain more freedom and respect simply because of his gender. Young Ju begins to lose all hope in the dream she once held--the heaven she longs for. Even as she begins to finally fit in, a cataclysmic family event will change her idea of heaven forever. But it also helps her to recognize the strength she holds, and envision the future she desires, and deserves.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

Apple Pie Fourth Of July

by Janet S. Wong

No one wants Chinese food on the Fourth of July, I say. We're in apple-pie America, and my parents are cooking chow mein!. . . They just don't get it. Americans do not eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July. Right? Shocked that her parents are cooking Chinese food to sell in the family store on this all-American holiday, a feisty Chinese-American girl tries to tell her mother and father how things really are. But as the parade passes by and fireworks light the sky, she learns a lesson of her own. This award-winning author-illustrator team returns with a lighthearted look at the very American experience of mixed cultures.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

The Firekeeper's Son

by Linda Sue Park

In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king by means of signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army. Linda Sue Park's first picture book for Clarion is about Sang-hee, son of the village firekeeper. When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit-but he wishes that he could see soldiers . . . just once. Mountains, firelight and shadow, and Sunhee's struggle with a hard choice are rendered in radiant paintings, which tell their own story of a turning point in a child's life. Afterword.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Sixteen Years In Sixteen Seconds

by Paula Yoo

The inspirational true story of Sammy Lee, a Korean American who overcame discrimination to realize both his father's desire that he become a doctor and his own dream of becoming an Olympic champion diver.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Kira-Kira

by Cynthia Kadohata

kira-kira (kee' ra kee' ra): glittering; shining

Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem.

The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare.

And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.

Luminous in its persistence of love and hope, Kira-Kira is Cynthia Kadohata's stunning debut in middle-grade fiction.

Newbery Medal Winner

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Project Mulberry

by Linda Sue Park

Julia Song and her friend Patrick would love to win a blue ribbon, maybe even two, at the state fair. They've always done projects together, and they work well as a team. This time, though, they're having trouble coming up with just the right plan. Then Julia's mother offers a suggestion: They can raise silkworms, as she did when she was a girl in Korea.

Patrick thinks it's a great idea. Of course there are obstacles-for example, where will they get mulberry leaves, the only thing silkworms eat?-but nothing they can't handle.

Julia isn't so sure. The club where kids do their projects is all about traditional American stuff, and raising silkworms just doesn't fit in. Moreover, the author, Ms. Park, seems determined to make Julia's life as complicated as possible, no matter how hard Julia tries to talk her out of it.

In her first novel with a contemporary setting, Linda Sue Park delivers a funny, lively story that illuminates both the process of writing a novel and the meaning of growing up American.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Nothing But the Truth

by Justina Chen

Half Asian and half white, Patty Ho has never felt completely home in her skin. When a Chinese fortuneteller foresees a white guy on Patty's horizon, things go from bad to worse in this novel by acclaimed author Justina Chen.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

The Year of the Dog

by Grace Lin

It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to "find herself." Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one's passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Keeping Corner

by Kashmira Sheth

Pretty as a peacock, twelve-year-old Leela had been spoiled all her life. She doesn't care for school and barely marks the growing unrest between the British colonists and her own countrymen. Why should she? Her future has been planned since her engagement at two and marriage at nine. Leela's whole life changes, though, when her husband dies.

She's now expected to behave like a proper widow: shaving her head and trading her jewel-toned saris for rough, earth-colored ones. Leela is considered unlucky now, and will have to stay confined to her house for a year -- "keep corner" -- in preparation for a life of mourning for a boy she barely knew. When her schoolteacher hears of her fate, she offers Leela lessons at home.

For the first time, despite her confinement, Leela opens her eyes to the changing world around her. India is suffering from a severe drought, and farmers are unable to pay taxes to the British. She learns about a new leader of the people, a man named Gandhi, who starts a political movement and practices satyagraha-- non-violent protest against the colonists as well as the caste system. The quiet strength of satyagraha may liberate her country. Could she use the same path to liberate herself?

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

Roots and Wings

by Many Ly

Grace's grandmother has died, and she and her mother must travel back to the Cambodian community to give her a proper Cambodian funeral.

But Grace wants to use the trip to solve a few mysteries, like who her father was, why her mother and grandmother moved from St. Petersburg to Pennsylvania, where they’re the only Cambodians Grace has ever seen, and what Cambodian culture is really about.

Embraced by her mother’s old friends, Grace feels both at home and lost, fascinated by the traditions she’s never known, but strangely judged by some members of the community.

Can she make sense of, and honor, the life of the grandmother she barely knew? And will revelations about the past bring Grace closer to her mother, or push them even further apart?

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

1001 Cranes

by Naomi Hirahara

WHEN 12-YEAR-OLD ANGELA Kato arrives in L. A. , the last thing she wants to do is spend the entire summer with her grandparents. But in the Kato family, one is never permitted to complain. Grandma Michi and Aunt Janet put Angela to work in their flower shop, folding origami and creating 1001 crane displays for newlyweds. At first, Angela learns the trade begrudgingly. But when her folding skills improve and her relationships with family and friends grow, Angela is able to cope with her troubles, especially her parents’ impending divorce. From the Hardcover edition.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Good Enough

by Paula Yoo

How to make your Korean parents happy:

1. Get a perfect score on the SATs.

2. Get into HarvardYalePrinceton.

3. Don't talk to boys.*

Patti's parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.

But Patti's discovering that there's more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there's Cute Trumpet Guy. He's funny, he's talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti's favorite band. Then, of course, there's her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn't want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?

Paula Yoo scores big in her hilarious debut novel about an overachiever who longs to fit in and strives to stand out. The pressure is on!

*Boys will distract you from your studies.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

Tofu Quilt

by Ching Yeung Russell

Growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, a young girl dreams of becoming a writer in spite of conventional limits placed on her by society and family.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Heart of a Samurai

by Margi Preus

In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.

Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

2011 Newbery Honor Book

New York Times Bestseller

NPR Backseat Book Club pick

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Middle Grade

Bamboo People

by Mitali Perkins

Narrated by two teenaged boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of Burma's many Ethnic minorities, this coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Chiko isn't a fighter by nature. He's a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion when the boys' stories intersect.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Shooting Kabul

by N. H. Senzai

Fadi never imagined he'd start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles from home in Kabul--and half a world away from his missing six-year-old sister, Mariam. Adjusting to life in the United States isn't easy for Fadi's family, and as the events of September 11 unfold, the prospects of locating Mariam in war-torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize of a trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home? Based in part on Ms. Senzai's husband's own experience fleeing Soviet-controlled Afghanistan in 1979, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

The House Baba Built

by Ed Young and Libby Koponen

This book is a nostalgic picture book memoir by Ed Young, one of our most beloved children's illustrators, about his childhood in Shanghai.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu

by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

A humorous and heartwarming debut about split cultural identities, and all the ways life fails to go according to plan for sixth-grader Lucy Wu.

Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She's ready to rule the school as a sixth grader, go out for captain of the school basketball team, and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother's sister, is coming to visit for several months -- and is staying in Lucy's room.

Lucy's vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, a bully who tries to scare Lucy off the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. Lucy's year is ruined -- or is it?

A wonderfully funny, warm, and heartfelt tale about the ways life often reveals silver linings in the most unexpected of clouds.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Orchards

by Holly Thompson

After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg--a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American--wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.

Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

Winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

by Hildi Kang

Chengli is an orphaned errand boy who lives in Chang'an China in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness and his father is presumed dead after disappearing into the desert when Chengli was a baby.

Now thirteen, Chengli feels ready for independence. He is drawn to the desert, beckoned by the howling of strange winds and the hope of learning something about his father-who he was and how he died. Chengli joins a caravan to travel down the merchant route known as the Silk Road, but it is a dangerous life, as his father knew. The desert is harsh, and there are many bandits-bandits interested in Chengli's caravan because a princess, her servants, and royal guards are traveling with them. But the desert is full of amazing places and life-changing experiences, as the feisty princess learns the meaning of friendship and Chengli learns the heroism of which he is capable.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

The Thing About Luck

by Cynthia Kadohata and Julia Kuo

Summer knows that kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan—right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills.

The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss’s cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own.

Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished—but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

The Vine Basket

by Josanne La Valley

Things aren't looking good for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul. She yearns to be in school, but she's needed on the family farm. The longer she's out of school, the more likely it is that she'll be sent off to a Chinese factory . . . perhaps never to return. Her only hope is an American woman who buys one of her decorative vine baskets for a staggering sum and says she will return in three weeks for more. Mehrigul must brave terrible storms, torn-up hands from working the fields, and her father's scorn to get the baskets done. The stakes are high, and time is passing. A powerful intergenerational story of a strong, creative young artist in a cruelly oppressive society.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Children's

Jet Black and the Ninja Wind

by Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani

Seventeen-year-old Jet Black is a ninja. There's only one problem-she doesn't know it.

Raised by her single Japanese mother on a Navajo reservation in the Southwest. For as long as Jet can remember, every Saturday night she and her mother played "the game" on the local mountain. But this time, Jet is fighting for her life. And at the end of the night, her mother dies and Jet finds herself an orphan-and in mortal danger.

Fulfilling her mother's dying wish, Jet flies to Japan to live with her grandfather where she discovers she is the only one who can protect a family treasure hidden in her ancestral land. She's terrified, but if Jet won't fight to protect her world, who will? Stalked by bounty hunters and desperately attracted with the man who's been sent to kill her, Jet must be strong enough to protect the treasure, preserve an ancient culture and save a sacred mountain from destruction.

Date Added: 08/09/2017


Category: Young Adult


Showing 1 through 25 of 81 results