Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month 2022

kiBooka members recommend books by other Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora creators. So many wonderful titles—enjoy!

Click on a book cover to order the book from Bookshop.org, helping local, independent bookstores thrive. A percentage of the sales supports this website.

Angela Ahn

Angela Ahn

author of

Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm will be available in August from Tundra Books

recommends

Living with Viola
Rosena Fung
Annick Press, 2021

A moving graphic novel about a Chinese-Canadian girl learning to cope with her anxiety.  Beautifully resonant images and color palette will draw readers in. 

Kat Cho

Kat Cho

author of

Once Upon a K-Prom will be available from Disney-Hyperion in May 2022.

recommends

The Ivory Key
Akshaya Raman
Clarion Books, 2022

The Ivory Key is a masterfully crafted fantasy world, with amazing sibling dynamics, that’s beautifully written. I recommend it for anyone who is drawn to complex, emotion driven fantasy!

Tina Cho

Tina Cho

author of

recommends

Red, White, and Whole
Rajani LaRocca
Quill Tree, 2021

This poignant novel in verse shows how an Indian girl and mother deal with cancer.

Jane Park

Jane Park

author of

a new book from the creators of Juna’s Jar, available in May from Lee & Low Books

recommends

Magic Candies
Heena Baek
translated by Sophie Bowman
Amazon Crossing Kids, 2021

Magical, transportive, funny, and a one-of-a-kind experience!

Anna Kang

Anna Kang

author of

Just released from Two Lions in March 2022

recommends

Bee-bim Bop!
Linda Sue Park
illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
Amazon Crossing Kids, 2021

My brother gave my first born daughter this wonderful picture book on her one year birthday,  or “Tdol” in Korean, a huge milestone and celebration in Korean culture. Bee-Bim Bop!, with its catchy, rhythmic text and warm watercolor illustrations, immediately became one of our family’s favorite books. We read it so often, we quickly had the words memorized, and we would chant the words everywhere we went. For me personally, as a Korean American who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, seeing a family like mine depicted in the pages was thrilling. Even the inclusion of everyday, ordinary items, like the rice cooker, the slippers, and the long-handled spoons and chopsticks gave me such a thrill and a feeling of validation. Plus, the most amazing part is that there is a recipe included at the end for Bee-bim bop! I wish there had been a book like this when I was my daughter’s age.

Helena Ku Rhee

Helena Ku Rhee

author of

Available from Random House Studio in June

recommends

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
Jeff Yang, Phil Wu, and Philip Wang
Harper, 2022

… because it’s not only informative, but also very entertaining. It’s a great non-fiction pick about Asian American movers and shakers!

Grace Shim

Grace Shim

author of

Celebrating Grace’s first book, released on May 3, 2022, from Kokila

recommends

Troublemaker
John Cho
Little, Brown, 2022

Poignant and relevant, Troublemaker is able to easily engage young readers while tackling difficult subjects such as racism in an accessible way.

Jama Kim Rattigan

Jama Kim Rattigan

author of

recommends

The Hundred Choices Department Store
Ginger Park
Fitzroy Books, 2022

This beautifully written, heart-wrenching, coming-of-age story speaks to the enduring power of familial bonds and the resiliency of the human spirit. The heightened pathos of deftly crafted scenes will inspire empathy and compassion for the plight of refugees.

Janet Wong

Janet Wong

author of

recommends

The Name Jar
Yangsook Choi
Dragonfly Books, 2001

In Me and Rolly Maloo, Jenna loses her way; lucky for her, she has a good friend who stands up for her and reminds her of who she is. The Name Jar is about Unhei’s courage to be her unique self with the help of a friend, too. These books celebrate the bystanders and allies who help us be our true selves.

author of

recommends

Year of the Reaper
Makiia Lucier
Clarion Books, 2021

I’ve been a fan of Makiia’s books for a while now, and Year of the Reaper is a new favorite of mine! Set in a medieval fantasy world overrun by plague, Year of the Reaper is an intricately-plotted fantasy mystery with action and a sprinkling of romance. I couldn’t put it down!

David Yoon

David Yoon

author of

recommends

Troublemaker
John Cho
Little, Brown, 2022

It’s an amazing middle-grade urban adventure. Also, John Cho!

Julie Lee

Julie Lee

author of

recommends

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
Jessica Kim
Kokila, 2020

I recommend Jessica Kim’s Stand Up, Yumi Chung! This funny and charming book brought me back to my middle school years—bad perm and all!

Graci Kim

Graci Kim

author of

Available from Rick Riordan Presents in June 2022

recommends

The Noh Family
Grace K. Shim
Kokila, 2022

What if a DNA test revealed you were secretly Korean chaebol royalty? Killer concept and fantastic execution. Would highly recommend this book by Grace Shim! 

Erin Yun

Erin Yun

author of

recommends

The Boys in the Back Row
Mike Jung
Levine Querido, 2020

The Boys in the Back Row is an engaging middle-grade book that showcases the platonic love between two male best friends. Kids will love Jung’s voice and humor!

Sarah Jung

Sarah Jung

author of

recommends

Toasty
Sarah Hwang
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2021

This is a fun and playful book about friendship and dogs. It’s a great introductory story for kids about developing relationships as well as a sense of identity (and humour!) 

Soma Han

Soma Han

author of

recommends

Alitaptap: A Philippine Myth of the Firefly
Mylene Leumin
illus by Stephanie Richoll
Independently Published, 2019

Filipina author Mylene Leumin offers her beautifully illustrated interpretations of Philippine folklore in a picture book series entitled Tales of Potos. Alitaptap is the second of three self-published so far.

Suzanne Park

Suzanne Park

author of

recommends

K-Pop Revolution
Stephen Lee
Point, 2022

K-Pop Revolution is an empowering, engrossing and addictive read. Candace’s comeback story made me want to give this book a standing ovation when I finished. I will read anything Stephan Kim writes!

Paula Yoo

Paula Yoo

author of

recommends

Troublemaker
John Cho
Little, Brown, 2022

Troublemaker is a deeply moving story of redemption between a 12-year-old Korean American rebellious son and his strict storeowner father, set in the heart of 1992 Los Angeles’ Koreatown on the first night of what would become one of our country’s most iconic movements of civil unrest.

Takami Nieda

Takami Nieda

translator of

recommends

The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir
E.J. Koh
Little, Brown, 2022

E.J. Koh writes of her parents going home to Korea, leaving her and her brother to live on their own in California, and through the process of translating her mother’s letters to her written in Korean, Koh begins to articulate hard-won truths about language, love, and loss. 

Ginger Park

Ginger Park

author of

recommends

Dumpling Soup
Jama Kim Rattigan
illus by Lillian Hsu-Flanders
Little, Brown, 1998

Food brings us closer, makes us curious about people and other cultures. Dumpling Soup does just that. Set in Hawaii, this beautiful picture book tells the story of one family of many origins celebrating the New Year by making a ‘mixed’ and fragrant dumpling soup together.

Aram Kim

Aram Kim

author of

recommends

The Grandmaster’s Daughter
Dan-ah Kim
Greenwillow Books, 2021

I instantly fell in love when I saw this book. Who wouldn’t want to learn taekwondo from the grandmaster’s daughter, at the dojang by the persimmon tree?

Lyla Lee

Lyla Lee

author of

recommends

The Red Palace
June Hur
Feiwel & Friends, 2022

Set in the Joseon Korean dynasty, The Red Palace perfectly captures elements of historical K-dramas while also including profound feminist themes applicable to modern day times.

Frances Park

Frances Park

author of

recommends

Grandfather’s Journey
Allen Say
Clarion Books, 2013

The first time I read Grandfather’s Journey, I felt paralyzed from head to toe. Beautifully rendered, it made me reflect upon my own parents’ journey.

Hope Lim

Hope Lim

author of

recommends

Ready for the Spotlight!
Jaime Kim
Candlewick Press, 2022

A charming story of sibling rivalry told from a little sister’s perspective, which resolves with sharing the spotlight and mutual appreciation.

Sarah Suk

Sarah Suk

author of

recommends

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea
Axie Oh
Feiwel & Friends, 2022

This is a lush, romantic, and creative fantasy world that I never wanted to leave.

Hyewon Yum

Hyewon Yum

author of

available in late May from Neal Porter Books / Holiday House

recommends

Mommy’s Hometown
Hope Lim
illus by Jaime Kim
Candlewick Press, 2022

This book is about the young boy and his mom’s deepening bond, traveling through his mommy’s hometown. Love the scene at the end, the young boy and mommy’s younger self run through the Korean landscape.

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park

author of

recommends

Punky Aloha
Shar Tuiasoa
HarperCollins, 2022

Kapaemahu
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu,
Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
illus by Daniel Sousa
Kokila, 2022

Celebrating the ‘PI’ in AAPI! Two forthcoming picture books centering Pacific Islanders. Can’t wait! (Punky Aloha pubs on May 3, Kapaemahu on June 7.)

Jane Hur

June Hur

author of

recommends

If I Had Your Face
Frances Cha
Ballantine Books, 2021

If I Had Your Face is a poignant book that will stay with you even after the last page. 

Carol Kim

Carol Kim

author of

recommends

Zahra’s Blessing:
A Ramadan Story

Shirin Shamsi
illus by Minal Mirza
Barefoot Books, 2022

The story of Zahra, who longs for a sister, is set during Ramadan and lovingly shares family traditions and universal themes of loss and gratitude. 

Sarah Hwang

Sarah Hwang

author of

recommends

Ready for the Spotlight!
Jaime Kim
Candlewick Press, 2022

A charming story of sibling rivalry told from a little sister’s perspective, which resolves with sharing the spotlight and mutual appreciation.