30 Asian & Asian American Children’s Books for ages 0 to 18

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Observed since 1990, it celebrates the rich culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In this list I have focused on Asian and Asian American picture books and contemporary fiction for ages 0 to 18.


30 Asian & Asian American Children’s Books for ages 0 to 18


Babies & Toddlers

Hush! A Thai Lullaby
by Minfong Ho

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Hush! A Thai Lullaby

“Mosquito, mosquito, / don’t come weeping. / Can’t you see that / Baby’s sleeping?” A mother asks a mosquito, a lizard, a monkey, and a water buffalo to be quiet and not disturb her sleeping baby. Repetetive text and colourful illustrations makeHush! A Thai Lullaby an appealing picture book for babies and toddlers.

 

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How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books

How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books

It’s been a big few weeks for America, hasn’t it? From the heartbreak of the Charleston shootings to the landmark #LoveWins Supreme Court decision to the Girl Scouts donor dust-up, people everywhere are talking about prejudice.

While I’ve seen such a beautiful swell of love, support and compassion for all kinds of people all over my social media this past month, I’ve also talked to lots of moms who are wondering how to talk to kids about prejudice and racism. Because even as my kids help me pick out wedding presents for all our friends, prejudice most definitely still exists whether it’s because of the color of your skin or the country your family came from.

Related: 10 outstanding Black History Month books for kids of all ages

One of my favorite go-to tools for starting hard conversations with my kids is by reading books together. Reading a great story is an easy way for me to get my kids talking about concepts like open-mindedness, embracing people who are different from them, and fighting for the rights of people who have been marginalized. Even if marginalization is still a word that’s a little over their heads.

As you browse your bookstore or local library, here are a few tips we’ve found to be helpful when we’re looking for new titles:

1. Above all, make sure the story is good. Because even if the lesson is well-intentioned, your kids won’t pay attention if the book is boring.

2. Choose books with characters that are different than the people in your family. We’ve recently learned thatonly 3% of children’s books feature characters of color. That’s pretty astounding. If you’re white, make an effort to find those fantastic titles not featuring white heroes. If your family is of European descent, seek out books about kids from Latin America, Asia, or Africa. If you have a traditional marriage, try stories about kids with single moms, single dads, or same-sex parents. It really helps build an excellent learning foundation for preschoolers and young kids.

Learning aside, imagining other ways of life can be pretty exciting for kids — whether it’s life on a pirate ship, in a big city, or in a village in Africa.

3. Look for books that show unexpected friendships — maybe a bird and a hippo or a duck and a cow. The plot will probably have nothing to do with prejudice, but you can still open up a conversation about how it’s so cool that these two are friends, even though they aren’t the same.

4. Learn actual history which is always a great way to take your conversations with your kids deeper. Read your children age-appropriate biographies about the giants who have fought hard for basic human rights — for African Americans, for women, for the LGBTQ community, and so many more. You may be surprised just how much even the youngest kids can process.

Just to get you started, here are 12 books my own younger kids are enjoying, and that are giving me a chance to have fantastic conversations with them about race and respect. I really hope you’ll like them too.

CMP is an Amazon affiliate, or find these books in your local independent bookstore

We Tried — And Failed — To Identify The Most Banned Book In America

Footnotes

  1. As the ALA itself notes on its website: “A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. Therefore, we do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges.” ^

From preschool through high school: 24 great books that show empathy, kindness

August 10
“When you read these books aloud, you can tell from their expressions that they are empathetic in relating to these characters. They understand what the characters are feeling,” says Sharon Rawlins, youth services specialist at the New Jersey State Library and president of the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

Here are her suggestions for books that embody that:

A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams (preschool-kindergarten)
When a little girl’s family loses their home and possessions, friends, neighbors, and family members pitch in with essential items and companionship. In their new home, the girl, her mother and her grandmother patiently save coins in a jar until they have enough to buy a comfortable armchair in which the women can rest after work.

The Nice Book” by David Ezra Stein (preschool-kindergarten)
We’re all guilty of using the vague phrase “be nice” when talking to children. Stein’s book breaks down that unhelpful admonition and turns it into specific advice. Each page carries a word or short phrase that instructs how to treat others with kindness and generosity. The simple illustrations of animals caring for one another demonstrate to young children such ideas as “when you get in a snit, don’t hit,” “love is meant to be passed on” and “look after someone little.”

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“diversity-related” graduate education programs

Dear Colleagues,

Through its Cultural Studies, International Education, and Multicultural Education (CSIEME) program, the Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education (COE) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is please to offer the following “diversity-related” graduate education programs—please share this information widely!
An M.Ed. (non-thesis) and an M.S. (thesis) in Multicultural Education.
An Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, International Education, and Multicultural Education.
A Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education (CDOHE) graduate certificate [housed in the Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education, collaboratively coordinated with the Department of Teaching and Learning through the CSIEME program.]
A Social Justice Studies (SJS) graduate certificate [housed in the Department of Teaching and Learning through the CSIEME program, collaboratively coordinated with the Interdisciplinary Degree Programs and the Department of Sociology (in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA)), with additional partners in the Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education (COE) and the Department of History (CLA)].
Coming soon! A post-master’s graduate certificate in Multicultural Education [housed in the Department of Teaching and Learning through the CSIEME program.]
Coming soon! A post-bachelor’s graduate certificate in Multicultural Education [h oused in the Department of Teaching and Learning through the CSIEME program.]
For more information on these programs, please visit: http://tl.unlv.edu/content/csieme/
Graduate assistantships may be available at both academic levels based on funding allocations, departmental teaching needs, and the number of students interested.
Again, please share this information widely with interested students and colleagues!
Best,
Christine
———
Christine Clark, Ed.D.
Professor & Senior Scholar in Multicultural Education
Founding Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
346A Carlson Education Building (CEB)
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box #453005
Las Vegas, NV 89154.3005
702.895.3888 Office Telephone
702.895.2944 Office Facsimile