We hope these selections serve to spotlight #ownvoices stories by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage, introduce readers to diverse writers and perspectives, and educate and encourage a dialogue on topics of racial justice in AAPI communities.

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence

Eager to do something her big sister has not done first, Jasmine Toguchi, eight, decides to pound mochi with the men and boys when her family gets together for New Year.  A fun book the explores family dynamics and more. This title is the first in the Jasmine Toguchi series by author Debbi Michiko Florence. The author is Japanese American and shares this with the series’ main character Jasmine.

Available formats: Book

The Shark King: A Toon Book  by R. Kikuo Johnson

In graphic novel format,  this is a retelling of the Hawaiian story of Nanaue, born of human mother and shark father, who struggles to find his place in a village of humans. Author and illustrator R. Kikuo Johnson grew up in Hawaii and shares this in this beginning reader graphic novel.

Available formats: Book

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to Louisiana from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” When Apple’s friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. Author Erin Entrada Kelly shares thier Filipino heritage with the main character of this novel.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

  Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture.  To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds. Author Thanhha Lai shares thier Vietnamese heritage with the story’s main character.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Hoopla), eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

Near the start of World War II, young Manami, her parents, and Grandfather are evacuated from their home and sent to Manzanar, an ugly, dreary internment camp in the desert for Japanese-American citizens. While not an #ownvoices author, Lois Sepahban’s research has allowed her to create a poignant work of historical fiction that is grounded in the real life accounts of families forcibly relocated to the internment camps.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

When you Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now, the tigers want it back. And when one of those tigers approaches Lily with a deal—return what Halmoni stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health—Lily is tempted to accept. With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find  the courage to face a tiger. Korean American author Tae Keller shares their identity with Lily, the main character.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey. Then her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.  Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. Now she must try her best to save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it. This is the first book in the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series. Author Sayantani DasGupta shares thier South Asian identity with the character. DasGupta is an Indian American physician and author.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), eBook (CloudLibrary), eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook, Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla)

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She’s going to build her own “tiny house,” 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou  finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer. Lou discovers it’s not easy to save her land, or to build a house. Lou won’t give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family. Author Mae Respicio shares their Filipino American identity with the main character of this story.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Hoopla)

Stand up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she’s a girl named Kay Nakamura–and Yumi doesn’t correct them.  Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about. Author Jessica Kim shares thier Asian identity with the main character in this story.

Available formats: Book

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions about her family. Priyanka’s mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. To learn the truth, Priyanka must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew. This graphic novel is a poignant story that about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds. Author Nidhi Chanani is Indian-American like the main character in this story.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer. Author Grace Lin shares thier identity with the main character.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Moon is everything Christine isn’t. Moon is confident, impulsive, artistic and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. But after Moon moves in next door, these unlikely friends are soon best friends, sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs. Moon’s visions have an all-too-earthly root, however, and soon Christine’s best friend is in the hospital, fighting for her life.  Author and illustrator Jen Wang shares their identity with the main characters in this graphic novel.

Available formats: Book

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Mia’s parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.  Mia needs to navigate this difficult home life, keep her job, and develop her skills as a budding author.  Asian American author Kelly Yang shares their identity with the main character in this novel.

Available formats: Book, eBook (Overdrive Media on Demand),Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from Hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tail and penchant for peaches. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven.  Asian American author F.C. Yee  shares their identity with the main character in this  upper middle grade novel.

Available formats: Book


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