As a children’s librarian, one of my goals is to build empathy through stories and information. As a member of the AAPI community, that goal has taken on more urgency as I’ve watched the numbers of anti-AAPI hate crimes multiply. In this time of fear, there are many ways I am supporting my community. One of them is turning to books as a way to empower, support, and celebrate the AAPI community during AAPI Heritage Month and all year round..
There are lots of reasons to read books by AAPI creators. No matter a child’s identity, reading books with authentic AAPI representations is important. Representation builds empathy and combats harmful stereotypes, such as the model minority myth. For children who identify as AAPI, seeing their experiences and identities reflected in a book is extremely empowering. Those stories build a sense of belonging and confidence. It can even help them become stronger readers because kids who see themselves in the books they read have higher levels of reading motivation.
Ready to pick out some books to share with the kids in your life? Here are a few of my favorite books by AAPI creators. Visit Read - Play - Learn for more book recommendations and resources for kids and families.
- Jasmine Toguchi series by Debbi Michiko Florence
- The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Parvati Pillai
- Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly
- Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
- Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim
- Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
- Mindy Kim series by Lyla Lee
- Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki
- The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
- The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion