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East & Southeast Asian Countries – Picture Books

November 16, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Picture books which take place in specific East & Southeast Asian nations.
Brunei ; Burma ; Cambodia ; China ; Hong Kong ; Indonesia ; Japan ; North Korea ; South Korea ; Laos ; Macau ; Malaysia ; Mongolia ; Papua New Guinea ; Paracel Islands ; Philippines ; Singapore ; Spratly Islands ; Taiwan ; Thailand ; Timor-Leste ; Vietnam


Silent Lotus*
by Jeanne M. Lee (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1991)
Although she cannot speak or hear, Lotus trains as a Khmer court dancer and becomes eloquent in dancing out the legends of the gods.

The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh* by Frederick Lipp (Holiday House, 2001)
A young Cambodian girl saves her money to buy a bird on which to make a wish for her poor family’s future.

Running Shoes by Frederick Lipp (Charlesbridge, 2008)
Sophy, a determined young girl living in an impoverished Cambodian village, fulfills her dream of going to school–with the help of a pair of running shoes.

Historical & Biographical Fiction 

Grandfather’s Dream* by Holly Keller (Greenwillow, 1994)
After the end of the war in Vietnam, a young boy’s grandfather dreams of restoring the wetlands of the Mekong delta, hoping that the large cranes that once lived there will return.

Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin* by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Lee & Low, 2006)
In the early 1900s, little Sap, a young girl from the rice fields of Cambodia, wins a coveted place in the royal dance troupe and learns the steps so well that she is noticed by the famous artist Auguste Rodin, who rewards her with a special prize. A foreword and an author’s note give additional information about the history of Cambodia, Khmer dance, and Auguste Rodin.

Half Spoon of Rice: A Survival Story of the Cambodian Genocide by Icy Smith (East West, 2009)
Nine-year-old Nat and his family are forced from their home on April 17, 1975, marched for many days, separated from each other, and forced to work in the rice fields, where Nat concentrates on survival. Includes historical notes and photographs documenting the Cambodian holocaust.

Cambodian Americans 

A Path of Stars* by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge, 2012)
A refugee from Cambodia, Dara’s beloved grandmother is grief-stricken when she learns her brother has died, and it is up to Dara to try and heal her.



* by Judy Allen, Illustrated by Tudor Humphries (Candlewick, 1993)
While on an expedition to western China with his father, twelve-year-old Jake sees a panda but when he tries to take its picture the camera breaks and no one believes his story.

Chopsticks by Jon Berkeley (Random House, 2005)
A small mouse named Chopsticks who lives on a floating restaurant in China becomes friends with a carved wooden dragon who wants to fly.

Jin Jin the Dragon by Grace Chang (Enchanted Lion, 2008)
Jin Jin the dragon does not know what kind of creature he is, so he embarks on a journey, assisted by other animals he meets along the way, to find Old Turtle and Crane, who will help him learn his identity. Includes information about Chinese writing and the place of the dragon in Chinese lore.

Boy Dumplings* by Ying Chang Compestine (Holiday House, 2009) *
When a hungry ghost threatens to gobble up a plump little boy, the boy tricks the ghost by convincing him to prepare an elaborate recipe first.

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine (Dutton, 2011)
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty–but magic–wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.

Blue Willow* by Pam Conrad, illustrated by Susan Gallagher (Philomel, 1999)
Kung Shi Fair’s wealthy father gives her everything she asks of him; but when she requests permission to marry, he learns too late the value of listening.

Paper Lanterns by Stefan Czernecki (Talewinds, 2001)
With the lantern festival close at hand, Old Chan, the master paper lantern maker, must find an apprentice with the talent to continue his work.

The Girl Who Drew a Phoenix* by Demi (Margaret McElderry, 2008)
A young girl acquires the qualities of the miraculous phoenix–wisdom, clear sight, generosity, and right judgment–by practicing drawing the mythical bird.

Long-Long’s New Year* by Catherine Gower (Tuttle, 2005)
Long-Long helps his Grandfather sell vegetables at the market so his family can make money for the Spring Festival celebration, but when he and Grandpa run into trouble, Long-Long wonders if they will sell enough to make do.

The Ghost of Shanghai by Claude Guillot (Abrams, 1999)
In Shanghai, Li has a bicycle accident, goes through a near-death experience, and meets the ghost of Master Chen, whom she decides to honor by performing an important task for him. 

When Panda Came to our House* by Helen Zane Jensen (Dial, 1985)
A panda visits an American girl and teaches her about China.

Lotus & Feather by Ji-Li Jiang, illustrated by Julie Downing (Disney-Hyperion, 2016)
A lonely Chinese girl rescues an injured crane.

Thanking the Moon by Grace Lin (Knopf, 2011)
Each member of a Chinese family contributes to the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Includes author’s note explaining this festival’s customs and traditions.

Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo (Sky Pony, 2014)
A little boy wishes to join his father’s Chinese opera but learns that you must work hard in order to reach your goals. With an author’s note at the end

The Laziest Boy in the World by Lensey Namioka (Holiday House, 1998)
When Xiaolong devises a way to capture the thief who breaks into his family’s home, all the people in the Chinese village change their minds about the “lazy” boy.

Ling Cho and His Three Friends* by V. J. Pacilio, illustrated by Scott Cook (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2000)
Through his plan to share the wealth of his wheat crop with three friends, a Chinese farmer teaches the importance of allowing other people to help in time of need.

The Pea Blossom* by Amy Lowry Poole (Holiday House, 2005)
In a garden near Beijing, five peas in a shell grow and wait to discover what fate has in store for them. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story: Five peas in a pod.

Mei-Mei Loves the Morning by Margaret Tsubakiyama (Albert Whitman, 1999)
A young Chinese girl and her grandfather enjoy a typical morning riding on grandpa’s bicycle to do errands and meet friends in the park.

The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau (Albert Witman, 2016)
The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with young Xingling! But Xingling is clever and thinks quickly to outwit him with Chinese New Year traditions

Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams (Barefoot Books, 2009)
When his mother sends him to the market to buy necessities for the upcoming festival, Lin Yi is certain his bargaining skills will get him the best prices and he will have money left over for his coveted red rabbit lantern.

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like* by Jay Williams, illustrated by Mercer Mayer (Four Winds, 1976)
Because of the road sweeper’s belief in him, a dragon saves the city of Wu from the Wild Horsemen of the north.

This Next New Year* by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Frances Foster, 2000)
A family prepares to celebrate the Lunar New Year and looks forward to the good luck they hope it will bring.

Maggie’s Chopsticks* by Alan Woo, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant (Kids Can, 2012)
Maggie has new chopsticks, but her family tells her that she is holding them all wrong, until Father comes along to tell her that she is unique and can do it her own way.

Angel in Beijing* by Belle Yang (Candlewick, 2018)

The Jade Necklace* by Paul Yee, illustrated by Grace Lin (Crocodile Books, 2001)
When her father is lost at sea during a typhoon and her family no longer has enough to eat, Yenyee travels to Vancouver as a servant, across the ocean which she feels betrayed her.

The Butterfly Boy* by Laurence Yep, illustrated by Jeanne M. Lee (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993)
A boy in long-ago China sees the world around him from a butterfly’s point of view. Based on the writings of philosopher Chuang Tzu.

The City of Dragons* by Laurence Yep (Scholastic, 1995)*
A boy with a face so sad that nobody wants to look at him runs away with a caravan of giants to the city of dragons, where his sorrowful face is finally appreciated.

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem About China* by Ed Young (Chronicle, 2005)
Lyrical text and illustrations featuring Chinese characters and paper collage introduce the beauty and richness of China.

Monkey King* by Ed Young (HarperCollins, 2001)
In his journey to a more enlightened state, a monkey must end his trickery and understand that there is strength in admitting weakness. Based on a section of the Chinese epic “Journey to the West.”

Historical & Biographical Fiction

Sparrow Girl* by Sara Pennypacker (Hyperion, 2009)
When China’s leader declares war on sparrows in 1958, everyone makes loud noise in hopes of chasing the hungry birds from their land except for Ming-Li, a young girl whose compassion and foresight prevent a disaster.

The Warlord’s Beads* by Virginia Walton Pilegard, illustrated by Nicolas Debon (Pelican, 2001)
A young Chinese boy helps his father count the warlord’s vast treasures by using beads threaded on a branch. Includes a brief history of the abacus and instructions for making one.

The Warlord’s Kites* by Virginia Walton Pilegard, illustrated by Nicolas Debon (Pelican, 2004)
When a hostile army attacks the warlord’s palace in ancient China, Chuan and his friend, Jing Jing, find an ingenious way to scare them off using simple kites. Includes instructions for making a kite from a paper bag.

The Warlord’s Messengers* by Virginia Walton Pilegard, illustrated by Nicolas Debon (Pelican, 2005)
In ancient China, Chuan and Jing Jing invent a cart that sails on land in order to quickly reach the warlord with an important message from the emperor.


The Hunter: A Chinese Folktale* by Mary Casanova, illustrated by Ed Young (Atheneum, 2000)
After learning to understand the language of animals, Hai Li Bu the hunter sacrifices himself to save his village.

Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale* by Lily Toy Hong (Albert Whitman, 1993)
A poor old Chinese farmer finds a magic brass pot that doubles or duplicates whatever is placed inside it, but his efforts to make himself wealthy lead to unexpected complications.

The Roosters Antlers: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac* by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by YoungSheng Xuan (Holiday House, 1999)
Relates how the Jade Emperor chose twelve animals to represent the years in his calendar. Also discusses the Chinese calendar, zodiac, the qualities associated with each animal, and what animal rules the year in which the reader was born.

Ten Suns: A Chinese Legend* by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by YoungSheng Xuan (Holiday House, 1998)
When the ten sons of Di Jun walk across the sky together causing the earth to burn from the blazing heat, their father looks for a way to stop the destruction.

How the Rooster Got His Crown* by Amy Lowry Poole (Holiday House, 1999)
In the early days of the world, when the sun refuses to come out for fear of a skillful archer’s arrows, a small rooster saves the day by coaxing the sun out with his crowing.

The Pea Blossom* by Amy Lowry Poole (Holiday House, 2005)
In a garden near Beijing, five peas in a shell grow and wait to discover what fate has in store for them.

The Master Swordsman & The Magic Doorway: Two Legends from Ancient China* by Alice Provensen (Simon & Schuster, 2001)
In two stories set in ancient China, Little Chiu masters the sword and Mu Chi escapes death through his marvelous painting.

The Journey of Meng: A Chinese Legend* by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Yang Ming-Yi (Dial, 1991)
A Chinese tale in which a woman goes in search of her husband who has been forced to be a slave for a cruel king.

The Long-Haired Girl: A Chinese Legend* by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Yang Ming-Yi (Dial, 1995)
Ah-mei challenges the God of Thunder so her parched village will have water for planting crops.

Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior* by Robert D. San Souci, illustrated by Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng (Hyperion, 1998)
A retelling of the original Chinese poem in which a brave young girl masquerades as a boy and fights the Tartars in the Khan’s army.

Rabbit’s Gift: A Fable from China* by George Shannon, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Harcourt, 2007)
Woodland animals, each thinking of his neighbor, share a turnip left on their doorstep.

No Year of the Cat* by Mary Dodson Wade, illustrated by Nicole Wong (Sleeping Bear, 2013)
Long ago, the emperor of China, seeking a way to help recall the year in which certain events occur, calls upon the animals to race one another and the first twelve to finish will have a year named after them.

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac* by Gabrielle Wang, illustrated by Sally Rippin (Candlewick, 2013)
Retells the race of the animals from which the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac were derived. Includes illustrations in the style of classical Chinese painting.

White Wave: A Chinese Tale* by Diane Wolkstein, illustrated by Ed Young (Harcourt, 1996, c1979)
Kuo Ming’s discovery of a moon goddess inside a snail shell changes his lonely life.

The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes* by Laurence Yep, illustrated by Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng (Scholastic, 1994)
An honest young boy tries to get rid of an ever-increasing number of snakes that have come with the bowlful of silver coins he found.

The Cat from Hunger Mountain* by Ed Young (Philomel, 2016)
Lord Cat lives a lavish lifestyle until drought strikes Hunger Mountain, but when he goes to seek sustenance, he finds much more than food.

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China* by Ed Young (Philomel, 1989)
Three sisters staying home alone are endangered by a hungry wolf who is disguised as their grandmother.

Picture Book Nonfiction

To Grandmother’s House: A Visit to Old-Town Beijing* by Douglas Keister (Gibbs Smith, 2008)
Zhang Yue, a girl from Beijing, travels with her cousin tovisit their grandmother, Laolao, in the historic part of the city and learns how to make Laolao’s special dumplings. Includes a recipe. Presented in English and Chinese.

We’re Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road* by Laurie Krebs and Helen Cann (Barefoot Books, 2005)
Rhyming text introduces the sights and sounds of the Silk Road, such as the Yellow River, the oasis at Dunhuang, the rugged desert near Hami, and the excitement of the market at Kashgar. Includes a history of this trade route and the places where people stopped along the way.

My First Book of Chinese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book* by Faye-Lynn Wu, illustrated by Aya Padrón (Tuttle, 2012)
Introduces Chinese language to preschool children in a gentle, playful way. The ABC structure provides a familiar framework that encourages fun and easy learning.

Chinese Americans

Kai’s Journey to Gold Mountain* by Katrina Saltonstall Currier, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo (Angel Island Association, 2005)
In 1934, twelve-year-old Kai leaves China to join his father in America, but first he must take a long sea voyage, then endure weeks of crowded conditions and harsh examinations on Angel Island, fearing that he or his new friend will be sent home.

Happy Belly, Happy Smile* by Rachel Isadora (Harcourt, 2009)
Sitting in the kitchen of his grandfather’s Chinese restaurant, a young boy enjoys watching the chefs and waiters prepare and serve mouth-watering dishes.

Landed* by Milly Lee, illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006)
After leaving his village in southeastern China, twelve-year-old Sun is held at Angel Island, San Francisco, before being released to join his father, a merchant living in the area. Includes historical notes.

Orange Peel’s Pocket by Rose Lewis, illustrated by Grace Zong (Abrams, 2010)
A five-year-old Chinese American girl sets out to learn about the place where she was born–China.

Bringing in the New Year* by Grace Lin (Knopf, 2008)
A Chinese American family prepares for and celebrates the Lunar New Year. End notes discuss the customs and traditions of Chinese New Year.

Fortune Cookie Fortunes* by Grace Lin (Knopf, 2004)
After a young Chinese American girl opens fortune cookies with her family, she notices that the fortunes seem to come true. Includes brief notes on the history of the fortune cookie.

The Ugly Vegetables* by Grace Lin (Charlesbridge, 1999)
A little girl thinks her mother’s garden is the ugliest in the neighborhood until she discovers that flowers might look and smell pretty but Chinese vegetable soup smells best of all. Includes a recipe.

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic* by Ginnie Lo, illustrated by Beth Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)
A Chinese American girl’s Auntie Yang discovers soybeans-a favorite Chinese food-growing in Illinois, leading her family to a soybean picnic tradition that grows into an annual community event.

Henry’s First-Moon Birthday* by Lenore Look, illustrated by Yumi Heo (Atheneum, 2001)
A young girl helps her grandmother with preparations for the traditional Chinese celebration to welcome her new baby brother.

Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding* by Lenore Look, illustrated by Yumi Heo (Atheneum, 2006)
A Chinese American girl describes the festivities surrounding her uncle’s Chinese wedding and the customs behind each one.

An Mei’s Strange and Wondrous Journey* by Stephan Molnar-Fenton, illustrated by Vivienne Flesher (DK Ink, 1998)
Six-year-old An Mei tells the story of how she was born in China and came to live in America.

The American Wei* by Marion Hess Pomeranc, illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo (Albert Whitman, 1998)
When Wei Fong loses his first tooth while going to his family’s naturalization ceremony many soon-to-be Americans join in the search.

“Leave That Cricket Be, Alan Lee”* by Barbara Ann Porte, illustrated by Donna Ruff (Greenwillow, 1993)
Alan Lee tries to catch the singing cricket in his mother’s office.

Apple Pie 4th of July* by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2002)
A Chinese American child fears that the food her parents are preparing to sell on the Fourth of July will not be eaten.

Hannah is my Name* by Belle Yang (Candlewick, 2004)
A young Chinese girl and her parents immigrate to the United States and try their best to assimilate into their San Francisco neighborhood while anxiously awaiting the arrival of their green cards.

Coolies* by Yin, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet (Philomel, 2001)
A young boy hears the story of his great-great-great-grandfather and his brother who came to the United States to make a better life for themselves helping to build the transcontinental railroad.

My Mei Mei* by Ed Young (Philomel, 2006)
Antonia gets her wish when her parents return to China to bring home a Mei Mei, or younger sister, for her.

Chinese Canadians

A Song for Ba* by Paul Yee, Jan Peng Wang (Groundwood, 2004)
Story is set in the early parts of the 20th century, when Chinese immigrants to the Pacific coast struggled to keep the ancient art of Chinese opera alive.





Ayu and the Perfect Moon by David Cox (Bodley Head, 1984)
In a Balinese village, a young girl performs a traditional dance.


Go To Sleep, Gecko!: A Balinese Folktale by Margaret Read MacDonald (August House, 2006)
Retells the folktale of the gecko who complains to the village chief that the fireflies keep him awake at night but then learns that in nature all things are connected.

The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story* by Judy Sierra (Simon & Schuster, 2000)
In a Balinese village, a young girl performs a traditional dance.



Dodsworth in Tokyo
by Tim Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013)*
Dodsworth’s duck companion is surprisingly well-behaved during a visit to Tokyo, although he does fall into the koi pond at the Imperial Palace and becomes the center of attention at a Sanja Festival.

Wabi Sabi* by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young (Little, Brown, 2008)
Wabi Sabi, a cat living in the city of Kyoto, learns about the Japanese concept of beauty through simplicity as she asks various animals she meets about the meaning of her name.

Sumo Mouse* by David Wisniewski (Chronicle, 2002)
When an evil toy store owner brings crime to the city of Tokyo, only a mysterious, and large, hero is able to defeat the villain.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars: A Twelfth-Century Tale from Japan* by Jean Merrill (Philomel, 1992)
In this retelling of an anonymous twelfth-century Japanese story, the young woman Izumi resists social and family pressures as she befriends caterpillars and other socially unacceptable creatures.

The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: A Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore (Tuttle, 2015)
A fictionalized account of a bonsai tree that lived with the Yamaki family in Hiroshima, Japan, for more than 300 years before being donated to the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., in 1976 as a gesture of friendship and peace to celebrate the American Bicentennial.

Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village by Sunny Seki (Tuttle, 2012)
After the 1783 eruption of Japan’s Mount Asama destroys crops in nearby villages, a orphaned blind girl who lives at the Daruma Temple in Takasaki invents a doll representing a famed Buddhist monk and his teachings about resilience.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers* by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene (Sleeping Bear, 2008)
In Japan, as a provincial governor, his wife, and daughter Yuki, followed by 1,000 attendants, travel the historic Tokaido Road to the Shogun’s palace in Edo, Yuki keeps up with her lessons by writing poems describing the journey.


Bamboo Hats and a Rice Cake: A Tale Adapted from Japanese Folklore* by Ann Tompert, illustrated by Demi (Crown, 1993)
Wishing to have good fortune in the new year, an old man tries to trade his wife’s kimono for rice cakes. Characters from the Japanese alphabet are incorporated into the text.

Tsunami!* by Kimiko Kajikawa (Phlomel, 2009)
A wealthy man in a Japanese village, who everyone calls Ojiisan, which means grandfather, sets fire to his rice fields to warn the innocent people of an approaching tsunami.

The Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale* by Koko Nishizuka (Holiday House, 2009)
A retelling of the traditional Japanese tale describing the origins of the beckoning cat and how it came to be a symbol of good luck.

Kogi’s Mysterious Journey* by Elizabeth Partridge, illustrated by Aki Sogabe (Dutton, 2003)
Kogi paints the shore of Lake Biwa, but is unable to capture the vigor and beauty that inspire him. One day, Kogi wades into the water to release a fish, and unable to resist follows in its wake, eventually becoming a fish himself, and learning what it is to be a fish in the lake.

The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks* by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon (Lodestar, 1990)
A pair of mandarin ducks, separated by a cruel lord who wishes to possess the drake for his colorful beauty, reward a compassionate couple who risk their lives to reunite the ducks.

The Strongest Boy in the World by Jessica Souhami (Frances Lincoln, 2014)
Retells the traditional Japanese tale in which a boy, who has defeated all the other boys in his village in wrestling, travels to the city to test his skill at a sumo tournament, but along the way he meets a girl who is even stronger than he.

Tsubu, the Little Snail* by Carol Ann Williams, illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
When an elderly couple pray for a son, the Water God sends them a snail boy who grows up to marry a noble’s daughter.

The Wise Old Woman* retold by Yoshiko Uchida, illustrated by Martin Springett (McElderry, 1994)
An old woman demonstrates the value of her age when she solves a warlord’s three riddles and saves her village from destruction.

The Crane Wife* by Sumiko Yagawa, illustrated by Suekichi Akaba (Morrow, 1981)
After Yohei tends a wounded crane, a beautiful young woman begs to become his wife and three times weaves for him an exquisite silken fabric on her loom.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War* by Yukio Tsuchiya Dykes, illustrated by Ted Lewin (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)
Recounts how three elephants in a Tokyo zoo were put to death because of the war, focusing on the pain shared by the elephants and the keepers who must starve them.

Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain* by Deborah Kogan Ray (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001)
Tells the fascinating life story of the Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849) who rose from poverty, taught himself to draw, became the promising pupil of a great master, and then defied tradition to become one of the most important and influential artists in the world.

I Live in Tokyo* by Mari Takabayashi (Houghton Mifflin, 2001)
Seven-year-old Mimiko introduces her family and describes their activities on special days throughout the year.

Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog* by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
Relates the true story of a dog who accompanied his master to and from a Tokyo train station for a year and, after his master died, continued to wait for him there every day for many years.

Japanese Americans

Ghosts for Breakfast* by Stanley Todd Terasaki, illustrated by Shelly Shinjo (Lee & Low, 2002)
One night, a young boy and his father investigate their frightened neighbors’ report of ghosts on a nearby farm.

The Bracelet* by Yoshiko Uchida, illustrated by Joanna Yardley (Philomel, 1993)
Emi, a Japanese American in the second grade, is sent with her family to an internment camp during World War II, but the loss of the bracelet her best friend has given her proves that she does not need a physical reminder of that friendship.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin* by Chieri Uegaki and Qin Leng (Kids Can, 2014)
Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Will her confidence waver on the night of the show?

Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family’s Experience in a Japanese Internment Camp* by Katie Yamasaki (Holiday House, 2013)
When brothers Taro and Jimmy and their mother are forced to move from their home in California to a Japanese internment camp in the wake of the 1941 Pearl Harbor bombing, Taro daringly escapes the camp to find fresh fish for his grieving brother.



Peach Heaven* by Yangsook Choi (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005)
The Korean town where Yangsook lives is famous for wonderful peaches, but one year a heavy rainstorm threatens the crop.

Minji’s Salon by Eun-hee Choung (Kane/Miller, 2008)
While her mother is getting her hair done in a salon, Minji tries a new style on the dog at home.

Mermaids by Cynthia Heinrichs (Simply Read, 2011)
Jae Hyun dreams of being a haenyo like her mother and grandmother and collect seaweed and sea creatures to support her family one day, but, because her mother forbids it because it is dangerous, she must find a way to prove to her she can do it, and, when a tragedy strikes, she has the chance to do so.

Something For School by Hyun Young Lee (Kane Miller, 2008)
On the first day of kindergarten, Joon’s teacher mistakes Joon, who has short hair and is wearing trousers, for a boy, something she finds very upsetting until she figures out a way to let everyone know who she is.

My Freedom Trip by Frances Park, illustrated by Debra Reid Jenkins (Boyds Mills, 1998)
The story of a young girl’s escape from North Korea, based on the life of the authors’ mother.

The Royal Bee* by Frances Park, illustrated by Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang (Boyds Mills, 2000)
In the days when only wealthy Korean children are allowed to attend school, a poor boy named Song-ho learns by listening outside a schoolroom door, which eventually earns him a chance to better himself and make life easier for his widowed mother.

Where on Earth is my Bagel?* by Frances & Ginger Park, illustrated by Grace Lin (Lee & Low, 2001)
When a young boy in Korea dreams of eating a New York bagel, he asks a farmer, a fisherman, a beekeeper, and a baker for help.

Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth* by Joan Schoettler, illustrated by Jessica Lanan (Shen’s Books, 2011)
When Ji-su’s mother is chosen by the emperor to be a seamstress in his court, Ji-su vows to learn to sew the beautiful Korean bojagi, or wrapping cloths, just as well so that she will also be summoned to the palace and be reunited with her mother.

Historical & Biographical Fiction

The Firekeeper’s Son* by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Julie Downing (Clarion, 2004)
In eighteenth-century Korea, after Sang-hee’s father injures his ankle, Sang-hee attempts to take over the task of lighting the evening fire which signals to the palace that all is well.


The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy* by Yangsook Choi (Knopf, 1997)
A hungry tiger tries to trick a brother and sister into opening their door by pretending to be their absent mother.

The Chinese Mirror* by Mirra Ginsburg, illustrated by Margot Zemach (Harcourt, 1988)
A retelling of a traditional Korean tale in which a mirror brought from China causes confusion within a family as each member looks in it and sees a different stranger.

Kongi and Potgi: A Cinderella Story from Korea* by Oki S. Han, illustrated by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett (Dial, 1994)
Although Kongi is treated unfairly by her stepmother and stepsister, she proves she is worthy to become the Prince’s bride.

The Rabbit’s Tail: A Story from Korea* by Suzanne Crowder Han, illustrated by Richard Wehrman (Henry Holt, 1999)
Tiger is afraid of being eaten by a fearsome dried persimmon, but when Rabbit tries to convince him he is wrong, Rabbit loses his long tail.

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale* by Yumi Heo (Houghton Mifflin, 1996)
A folktale about two green frogs who always disobey their mother, explaining why green frogs cry out whenever it rains.

Older Brother, Younger Brother: A Korean Folktale* by Nina Jaffe, illustrated by Wenhai Ma (Viking, 1995)
After being turned out by his greedy older brother, Hungbu and his family manage to prosper when his kindness to an injured sparrow is richly rewarded.

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong, the Robin Hood of Korea* by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Charlesbridge, 2006)
Graphic novel treatment of the life and career Hong Kil Dong, the Korean equivalent of Robin Hood.

The Tigers of the Kumgang Mountains: a Korean Folktale by Kim So-un (Tuttle, 2005)
A young man practices for years to become a great marksman, and goes into the Kumgang mountains of Korea to hunt the tigers that killed his father.

In the Moonlight Mist: A Korean Tale* by Daniel San Souci, illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan (Boyds Mills, 1999)
A good-hearted woodcutter finds a heavenly wife in this retelling of a Korean folk tale.

Korean Americans

Halmoni’s Day* by Edna Coe Bercaw, illustrated by Robert Hunt (Dial, 2000)
Jennifer, a Korean American, is worried that her grandmother, visiting from Korea, will embarrass her on her school’s Grandparents’ Day, but the event brings her understanding and acceptance.

The Name Jar* by Yangsook Choi (Knopf 2001)
After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

Yunmi and Halmoni’s Trip* by Sook Nyul Choi, illustrated by Karen Dugan (Houghton Mifflin, 1997)
When she goes to Korea with her grandmother, Yunmi looks forward to visiting relatives she has never seen, but she also worries about whether Halmoni will want to return to New York.

Aekyung’s dream* by Min Paek (Children’s Book Press, 1988)
A young Korean immigrant learns to adjust to her new life in America by heeding the words of an ancient Korean king.

Dear Juno* by Soyunk Pak, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung (Viking, 1999)
Although Juno, a Korean American boy, cannot read the letter he receives from his grandmother in Seoul, he understands what it means from the photograph and dried flower that are enclosed and decides to send a similar letter back to her.

Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong* by Frances Park, illustrated by Yangsook Choi (National Geographic, 2002)
Jangmi finds it hard to say goodbye to relatives and friends, plus the food, customs, and beautiful things of her home in Korea, when her family moves to America.

Bee-Bim Bop!* by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee (Clarion, 2005)
A child, eager for a favorite meal, helps with the shopping, food preparation, and table setting.

Babies Can’t Eat Kimchee!* by Nancy Patz, illustrated by Susan L. Roth (Bloomsbury, 2007)
A baby sister must wait to grow up before doing big sister things, such as ballet dancing and eating spicy Korean food.

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet* by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008)
Although she really would have liked a jump rope for her birthday, Yoon is happy to receive a Korean picture book and a jade bracelet passed down from her grandmother, and when she wears the bracelet to school it seems as if her wish for a jump rope and a friend is about to come true.

The Trip Back Home* by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Bo Jia (Harcourt, 2000)
A young girl and her mother travel to Korea to visit their extended family.



Moon Bear
by Gill Lewis (Atheneum, 2015)
In Laos, twelve-year-old Tam must work at a bear farm where bears are cruelly caged and milked for their bile, but when a familiar cub is brought to the farm, Tam will do anything to free both the cub, and himself.





The Bee Tree
* by Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn (Cinco Puntos, 2007)*
In the rain forests of Malaysia, Nazam waits anxiously to climb the bee tree, proving that he is capable of succeeding his grandfather as leader of the traditional honey-hunting clan.

The Sea Monkey: A Picture Story from Malaysia* by Geraldine Kaye (World Pub., 1968)



My Little Round House
by Balormaa Baasansuren (Groundwood, 2009)
A Mongolian baby describes his first year of life in a nomadic community, from the smells of food cooking to the people he met.

Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongolia* by Ted and Betsy Lewin (Lee & Low, 2008)
Ted and Betsy Lewin describe the landscapes, people, and activities they encounter during a trip to Mongolia for Naadam, the annual summer festival where child jockeys ride half-wild horses for miles across the Mongolian steppe.


Suho and the White Horse: A Legend of Mongolia* by Yūzō Ōtsuka, illustrated by Suekichi Akaba (Viking, 1981)
Relates how the tragic parting of a boy and his horse led to the creation of the horse-head fiddle of the Mongolian shepherds.

The Khan’s Daughter: A Mongolian Folktale* by Laurence Yep, illustrated by Jean & Mou-Sien Tseng (Scholastic, 1997)
In this retelling of a Mongolian folktale a simple shepherd must pass three tests in order to marry the Khan’s beautiful daughter.







Tuko and the Birds
by Shirley Climo (Henry Holt, 2008)
When Tuko the gecko cries so loudly that the birds stop singing and cannot sleep, they try to trick him into moving from their home on the Philippine island of Luzon.

Hand Over Hand by Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Renne Benoit (Second Story, 2017)
In this picture book, a young girl finally gets to go fishing with her grandfather and surprises everyone with her catch.

An Eagle’s Feather: Based on a Story of the Philippine Eagle Foundation by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Francesc Alvarez (Cornell Lab, 2018)


Pedro and the Monkey* by Robert D. San Souci (Morrow Junior, 1996)
A Filipino monkey secures the fortune of his rather dimwitted young owner in this variation of a traditional tale.

Picture Book Nonfiction

All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids by Gidget Roceles Jimenez, illustrated by Corazon Dandan-Albano (Tuttle, 2017)
Presents an introduction to the Phillippines, describing its history, geography, climate, animals, cities, languages, holidays, and social customs, with instructions for making Phillippine crafts and recipes.

Filipino Americans

Lakas and the Manilatown Fish = Si Lakas at Ang Isdang Manilatown* by Anthony D. Robles, illustrated by Carl Angel (Children’s Book Press, 2003)
A boy, his father, and an increasing number of people rush through the streets of San Francisco’s historic Filipino American neighborhood, Manilatown, in pursuit of a fish that can talk and jump and play.







On My Way to Buy Eggs
by Shih-Yuan Chen (Kane Miller, 2003)
When her father sends her out for eggs before she can go out to play, Shau-yu finds plenty of excitement while walking to the store.

Dragon Kite of the Autumn Moon by Valerie Reddix (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1991)
When his grandfather is sick, Tad-Tin goes out to fly his special dragon kite, so that it can take all their troubles away with it.

Taiwanese Americans

Candy Shop* by Jan Wahl, illustrated by Nicole Wong (Charlesbridge, 2004)
When a boy and his aunt find that a bigot has written hurtful words on the sidewalk just outside the candy shop owned by “Miz Chu”, a new immigrant from Taiwan, they set out to comfort her.



The Umbrella Queen
* by Shirin Yim Bridges (Greenwillow, 2008)
In a village in Thailand where everyone makes umbrellas, young Noot dreams of painting the most beautiful one and leading the annual parade as Umbrella Queen, but her unconventional designs displease her parents.

Som See and the Magic Elephant* by Jamie Oliviero, illustrated by Jo’Anne Kelly (Hyperion, 1995)
Som See helps her great-aunt prepare for death by finding her a good luck charm from her past.

The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee’s Story* by Pegi Deitz Shea (Boyds Mill, 1995)*
A young girl in a Thai refugee camp finds the story within herself to create her own pa’ndau.


The Girl Who Wore Too Much: A Folktale from Thailand* by Margaret Read MacDonald (August House, 1998)
Spoiled and vain, Aree cannot decide which of her many silken dresses and lavish jewels to wear to the dance, so she wears them all.

Picture Book Nonfiction

Hello, Bumblebee Bat* by Darrin P. Lunde, illustrated by Patricia Wynne (Charlesbridge, 2007)
Simple text and illustrations introduce the endangered bumblebee bat of Thailand.

An Elephant in the Backyard* by Richard Sobol (Dutton, 2004)
Describes how special elephants are in the village of Tha Kleng in Thailand and looks at the life of one particular young elephant named Wan Pen.





The Lotus Seed*
by Sherry Garland (Harcourt, 1993)
A young Vietnamese girl saves a lotus seed and carries it with her everywhere to remember a brave emperor and the homeland that she has to flee.

Grandfather’s Dream* by Holly Keller (Greenwillow, 1994)
After the end of the war in Vietnam, a young boy’s grandfather dreams of restoring the wetlands of the Mekong delta, hoping that the large cranes that once lived there will return.

Bà-Nam by Jeanne M. Lee (Henry Holt, 1987)
A young Vietnamese girl visiting the graves of her ancestors finds the old gravekeeper frightening until a severe storm reveals to her the old woman’s kindness.

The Hermit and the Well by Thích Nh´ât Hanh (Plum Blossom, 2003)
While on a school field trip in Vietnam, a young boy climbs a mountain without finding the Buddhist hermit he is expecting to see, but later realizes that he has found much more.

Fly Free! by Roseanne Thong (Boyds Mills, 2010)
When Mai feeds the caged birds at a Buddhist temple in Vietnam, her simple act of kindness starts a chain of thoughtful acts that ultimately comes back to her. Includes author’s note explaining the Buddhist concepts of karma and samsara, or the wheel of life.

Going Home, Coming Home=V’ê nhà, Tham Quê Hu´o´ng* by Truong Tran (Children’s Press, 2003)
A young girl visits her grandmother in Vietnam where her parents were born and learns that she can call two places home.

In a Village by the Sea* by Muon Van (Creston Books, 2015)*
Moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again, Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home”– Provided by publisher. It is written in a spare, lyrical style with illustrations showing a dog and a cricket at a fishing village home and back out to sea where a fisherman longs to return to the woman and child in his hillside home.

Vietnamese Americans

My Father’s Boat* by Sherry Garland (Scholastic, 1998) *
A Vietnamese-American boy spends a day with his father on his shrimp boat, listening as he describes how his own father fishes on the South China Sea.

Duck for Turkey Day* by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kathy Mitter (Albert Whitman, 2009)
When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

A Different Pond* by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui (Picture Window, 2017)
As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.



NOTE: A red asterisk means that the book is available at the State Library Service Centers.

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