When was the last time you cozied up with a good book just for fun? Don’t remember?
Children’s books don’t have to be just for kids. Whether it’s a stressful day at work, mountains of midterm exams or a sick day in bed, these books are sure to bring some peace and innocence back into your life with their gentle themes and simple illustrations. Or, you could just curl up with a cute book with your favorite kiddo. In celebration of Children’s Picture Book Day, check out these 9 AAPI-authored books:
1.“Ordinary Ohana” by Lee Cataluna, illustrated by Cheyne Gallarde
After years of working as a playwright, metro columnist and novelist, Cataluna broke onto the children’s book scene in 2016 with “Ordinary Ohana,” a story that celebrates how families can come in all shapes and sizes. Made to look and feel like a scrapbook, “Ordinary ‘Ohana” shows that in the end, family is what you make of it.
2. “Listening with My Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion” by Gabi Garcia, illustrated by Ying Hui Tan
“Listening with My Heart” explores mindfulness, empathy and kindness through the eyes of a young protagonist, Esperanza, as she learns that being a friend to yourself can be just as important as being a friend to others. With its heartwarming story and soft, painterly illustrations, “Listening with My Heart” is a great addition to any bookshelf.
3. “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi
On her first day at a new school, Unhei experiences a fear that many AAPI children know all too well—the fear that other children won’t be able to pronounce her name. “The Name Jar” is a story that celebrates difference, acceptance and all the unique quirks that make you one-of-a-kind.
4. “A Dolphin Day in Hawaii” by Dennis Asato
A classic for children living in Hawaii, “A Dolphin Day in Hawaii” tells the story of a delightful friendship between a curious bear and a dolphin. As they explore the wonders of the land and the beauty of the sea, the pair build a friendship based on love and trust.
5. “A Hawai‘i Japanese New Years with Yuki-chan” by Tokie Ching, illustrated by Kerina Salazar
Ching’s charming picture book tells the story of Yuki-chan, a Japanese girl adopted by a loving family in Hawai‘i. As Yuki-chan spends her first New Years with her new family, she learns about the family’s holiday traditions and shares a few of her own as well. “A Hawai‘i Japanese New Years with Yuki-chan” shows readers that adjusting to big life changes can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be done alone.
6. “Ladder to the Moon” by Maya Soetoro-Ng, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
This dream-like tale tells the story of how a young girl named Suhaila takes a trip to the moon to meet the grandmother she never knew. A powerful tale that weaves fantasy and folklore together, “Ladder to the Moon” shows that remembering passed loved ones can be as easy as looking up at the moon.
7. “This Next New Year” by Janet S. Wong
Lunar New Year is a time for new beginnings. For some people the holiday means watching parades and receiving red envelopes. For others, the holiday means celebrating with unique family traditions. Follow along with “This Next New Year’s” young half-Korean, half-Chinese narrator as he explores what the Lunar New Year means to him and others he meets along his journey.
8. “I Live in Tokyo” by Mari Takabayashi
Through simple, yet eye-catching storytelling and illustrations, Takabayashi tells the story of Mimiko, a little Japanese girl living in Tokyo. “I Live in Tokyo” follows Mimiko through a year in her life and describes all of the excitement of living in a big city—the delicious food, breathtaking sights and wonderful people.
9. “Hush! A Thai Lullaby” by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Holly Meade
Ho, a prominent Southeast Asian social justice author, wrote a simple yet memorable tale about a Thai mother, her baby boy and the animals that keep the pair awake at night. Featuring a wide cast of characters like a long-tailed lizard and a big elephant, this book is sure to enchant the youngest and oldest of readers.