This blog is created by Linda Williams at the Connecticut State Library. It’s purpose is to suggest books, by topic, to replace outdated books in the children’s/YA book collection. Tabs across the top categorize ongoing posts. Please feel free to suggest topics for future posts!

LGBTQIA+ Issues and History for Children and Teens

October 16, 2018 Leave a comment

A booklist on the history of LBTQIA+ rights & issues.

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017)
Tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, a crime that focuses on the concepts of race, class, gender, crime, and punishment.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick, 2014)
Shares insights into the teen transgender experience, tracing six individual’s emotional and physical journey as it was shaped by family dynamics, living situations, and the transition each teen made during the personal journey.

Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington (Second Story Press, 2013)
Examines the persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis, citing raids, arrests, prison sentences, expulsions, and concentration camp incarceration. [YA]

A House for Everyone: A Story to Help Children Learn About Gender Identity and Gender Expression by Jo Hirst, illustrated by Naomi Bardoff (Jessica Kingsley, 2018)
This children’s picture book helps adults to explain gender identity and expression to 4 to 8 year olds using simple language and engaging, diverse characters, covering the entire spectrum of gender. Includes a guide for parents and professionals and a lesson plan at the end of the book.

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Leland Purvis (Abrams ComicArts, 2016)
A biography of the mathematician, reveals the story of an eccentric genius, olympic-class runner, and groundbreaking theoretician whose work is still influencing the science and telecommunication systems of the modern world.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson (Orca, 2016)
This work of nonfiction for middle readers examines what — and why — gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters celebrate on Pride Day every June.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno (Random House, 2018)

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager (HarperCollins, 2017)
A LGBTQ chronicle for teens shares hip, engaging facts about 23 influential gender-ambiguous notables from the era of the Roman Empire to the present, exploring how they defied convention to promote civil rights, pursue relationships on their own terms and shape culture.

Sewing the Rainbow: A Story About Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Magination Press, 2018)
The powerful story of Gilbert Baker and the creation of the rainbow flag. This book takes readers from Gilbert’s childhood in a small town in Kansas, to his historic artistic career in San Francisco. Includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” with more about Gilbert and the flag’s history.

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum (Viking, 2015)
A dramatic retelling of the Stonewall riots of 1969, introducing teen readers to the decades-long struggle for gay rights.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten (Magination Press, 2014)
A picture book illustrating a Pride parade. The endmatter serves as a primer on LGBT history and culture and explains the references made in the story. [Elementary]

Categories: Uncategorized

European Countries – Fiction & Narrative Nonfiction

August 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific European nations:
Akrotiri ; Albania ; Andorra ; Austria ; Belarus ; Belgium ; Bosnia-Herzegovina ; Bulgaria ; Croatia ; Cyprus ; Czech Republic ; Denmark ; Dhekelia ; England ; Estonia ; Faroe Islands ; Finland ; France ; Germany ; Gibraltar ; Greece ; Guernsey ; Holy See (Vatican City) ; Hungary ; Iceland ; Ireland ; Isle of Man ; Italy ; Jan Mayen ; Jersey ; Kosovo ; Latvia ; Liechtenstein ; Lithuania ; Luxembourg ; Macedonia ; Malta ; Moldova ; Monaco ; Montenegro ; Netherlands ; Norway ; Poland ; Portugal ; Romania ; San Marino ; Scotland ; Serbia ; Slovakia ; Slovenia ; Spain ; Svalbard ; Sweden ; SwitzerlandUkraine ; United Kingdom ; Wales 








Historical & Biographical Fiction

Narrative Nonfiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction

The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland (Viking, 2018)
In 1798, fifteen-year-old Hortense de Beauharnais, Napoleon Bonaparte’s stepdaughter, attends an exclusive boarding school, dreaming of her brother’s fellow officer Christophe, unaware of the role she is fated to play.

The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette* by Carolyn Meyer (Harcourt, 2010)
In eighteenth-century France, Marie Antoinette rails against the rules of etiquette that govern her life even as she tries to fulfill her greatest obligation, giving birth to the next king, but she finds diversion in spending money on clothing, parties, and gambling despite her family’s warnings and the whispers of courtiers.

Black Radishes by Susan Meyer (Delacorte, 2010)
Gustave, having been forced to move from Paris to the countryside after his parents decided it was not safe for Jews to live in the city during World War II, meets a Catholic girl named Nicole, whose family is part of the French Resistance,and together they devise a plan to rescue his friend and family members from the Nazi occupied territory.



Historical & Biographical Fiction 





Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction


Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction 



Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction



Historical & Biographical Fiction



Swedish Americans 










NOTE: A red asterisk means that the book is available at the Middletown Library Service Center.

Categories: Uncategorized

School Shootings – A Bibliography for Teens

August 16, 2018 Leave a comment


Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash (Putnam’s, 2015)
Alys, a Plaineville, Wisconsin, junior who dreams of studying violin at Julliard, must deal with the aftermath of a tragic high school shooting in which her older brother, Luke, was the shooter.

Until I Break by Kara Bietz (Albert Whitman, 2016)
When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as well as a problem that nobody else seems to see– Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. How far will Sam go to stop Ace? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?

Hate List by Jennifer Brown (Little, Brown, 2009)
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (Simon Pulse, 2018)
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and friends, Annabelle, eighteen, runs from Seattle to Washington, D.C., becoming a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to her recent trauma.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs (Candlewick, 2016)
Seven interwoven narratives spanning three tense hours on a fateful day share the perspectives of a girl with a rare memory condition, a teacher who fears a student may be planning an act of violence, and a girl about to embark on a cross-country plot.

Mockingbird (Mok’ing-bûrd) by Kathryn Erskine (Philomel, 2010)
Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

Monday Redux by Robert J. Favole (Flywheel, 2003)
After his childhood friend, Lance, goes on a shooting rampage at school, fifteen-year-old Rego is given the chance to travel back in time to relive the day and possibly change the outcome.

Catholic (Reluctantly) by Christian M. Frank (Sophia Institute Press, 2007)
The seven students of a newly-established, “real” Catholic high school try to learn and do what is right as they face the possibility that their building will be condemned, personality conflicts, and problems with the nearby public high school, where two of them are on the wrestling team.

The Silent by Rebecca Kenney (JourneyForth, 2010)
Seventeen-year-old Nikki has her hands full with being a high school senior, choosing the right Christian college, and her parents’ failing marriage, but when someone sends threatening emails to several of her teachers, a police officer asks her to watch and listen for clues to the sender’s identity.

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (Scholastic, 2018)
In the three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre, a story has grown up around one of the victims, Sarah McHale, that says she died proclaiming her Christian faith–but Leanne Bauer was there, and knows what happened, and she has a choice: stay silent and let people believe in Sarah’s martyrdom, or tell the truth.

Bang by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2013)
A teen who used to see a vision of a crash must help her boyfriend as he is now seeing a vision of a school shooting.

The Last Domino by Adam Meyer (Putnam’s, 2005)
Vulnerable following his brother’s suicide, a high school boy comes under the thrall of a darkly violent classmate and events at home and at school go chillingly out of control.

Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover (HMH, 2019)
After high school graduation, best friends Matt and Cole strive to put behind them the school shooting they survived in first grade and really begin to live. Told in two voices.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire, 2016)
Minutes after the principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama finishes her speech welcoming the student body to a new semester, they discover that the auditorium doors will not open and someone starts shooting as four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.

After by Francine Prose (HarperCollins, 2003)
In the aftermath of a nearby school shooting, a grief and crisis counselor takes over Central High School and enacts increasingly harsh measures to control students, while those who do not comply disappear.

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016)
Ever since the mass shooting at her California high school, junior Morgan Grant has become increasingly agoraphobic until even the idea of stepping outside her door can bring on a panic attack, a situation not made any easier by the fact that her parents are divorced–but when Evan moves in next door she finds herself attracted to him and begins to find herself longing for the life she has been missing.

Point Blank by Mark A. Rempel (Thomas Nelson, 2002)
A senior class assignment prompts students to consider past events that have shaped their philosophies of life, leading two troubled boys to plan what will be the worst school shooting in American history.

Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser (S&S, 2000)
Events leading up to a night of terror at a high school dance are told from the point of view of various people involved.

Violent Ends by various authors (Simon Pulse, 2015)
Relates how one boy–who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before–became a monster capable of entering his high school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates, as told from the viewpoints of several victims. Each perspective is written by a different writer of young adult fiction.

Quad by C. G. Watson (Razorbill, 2007)
Interweaves the stories of Muir High School’s various groups of students–from the “jocks” to the “drama queens”–as they clash over everything from cheating on tests to cheating in relationships, with the ultimate clash that comes when one student reaches the breaking point.


School Shootings and School Violence by Barbara C. Cruz (Enslow, 2002)
Discusses the problem of violence in schools, citing cases of shootings at Columbine High School and others, and suggests possible reasons for these incidents as well as some of the ways schools have reacted to them.

Columbine High School Shooting: Student Violence by Judy L. Hasday (Enslow, 2002)
Provides an account of the violent student shootings that took place at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

The Newtown School Shooting by Lisa Owings (ABDO, 2014)
This title examines an important historic event–the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Easy-to-read, compelling text explores the man behind the shooting, Adam Lanza, the tragic events of December 14, 2012, the shooting’s aftermath and the community’s response, and the victims’ families advocacy work in subsequent months. Also discussed are gun laws in the United States, new legislation introduced in Congress regarding gun control, and mental health policy and law.

Categories: Uncategorized

Australia-Oceania – Fiction

August 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific nations of Australia / Oceania:
American Samoa ; Ashmore and Cartier Islands ; Australia ; Baker Island ; Christmas Island ; Cocos (Keeling) Islands ; Cook Islands ; Coral Sea Islands ; Fiji ; French Polynesia ; Guam ; Howland Island ; Jarvis Island ; Johnston Atoll ; Kingman Reef ; Kiribati ; Marshall Islands ; Federated States of Micronesia ; Midway Islands ; Nauru ; New Caledonia ; New Zealand ; Niue ; Norfolk Island ; Northern Mariana Islands ; Palau ; Palmyra Atoll ; Pitcairn Islands ; Samoa ; Solomon Islands ; Tokelau ; Tonga ; Tuvalu ; United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges ; Vanuatu ; Wake Island ; Wallis and Futuna



When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Scholastic, 2017)
Michael’s parents are leaders of a new anti-immigrant political party called Aussie Values which is trying to halt the flood of refugees from the Middle East; Mina fled Afghanistan with her family ten years ago, and just wants to concentrate on fitting in and getting into college–but the mutual attraction they feel demands that they come to terms with their family’s concerns and decide where they stand in the ugly anti-Muslim politics of the time.

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2018)
Terribly shy, India Wimple is brilliant at spelling and her loving family will do whatever it takes to help her compete in a televised national spelling bee in Sydney, Australia.

On the Run by Tristan Bancks (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015)
Twelve-year-old Ben, who aspires to be a police officer, struggles to do the right thing when his parents suddenly take him and his little sister “on vacation,” and he learns they took a large amount of money that was mistakenly deposited in their bank account.

The Harper Effect by Taryn Bashford (Skyhorse, 2018)
Sixteen-year-old Harper acquires a new tennis coach who immediately partners her with the moody Cole, but between Cole’s secrets and her love for sister’s ex-boyfriend, can Harper make her tennis dreams come true?

Out of This Place by Emma Cameron (Candlewick, 2013)
Follows three teens who struggle with hardscrabble realities, from Luke, who works at the local supermarket and tries to stay out of trouble; to Bongo, who drinks to avoid his abusive family; to Casey, who longs to escape her controlling father.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Knopf, 2017)
Teenagers Rachel and Henry find their way back to each other while working in an old bookstore full of secrets and crushes, love letters and memories, grief and hope.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
Subhi’s contained world as a refugee in an Australian permanent detention center rapidly expands when Jimmie arrives on the other side of the fence and asks him to read her late mother’s stories to her.

Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Scholastic, 2010)
In 1855, seventeen-year-old Camille sets out from San Francisco, California, on her last sea voyage before entering a loveless marriage, but when her father’s ship is destroyed, she and a friend embark on a cross-Australian quest to find her long-lost mother who holds a map to a magical stone.

The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale (Harper, 2017)
Summer’s father moves their family to Australia after the sudden death of her brother Floyd, and the only thing that keeps her grounded is Floyd’s guitar, which was miraculously unharmed in the bombing that killed him.

Sam, Grace, and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie (Fremantle, 2011)
When the steamship Georgette sinks off Western Australia in 1876, Sam Isaacs, a stockman, sixteen-year-old Grace Bussell, and their horses go to the rescue of the passengers and crew from an overturned lifeboat, in a tale based on a true story.

Get it Together, Delilah by Erin Gough (Chronicle, 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green is doing her best to deal with a chaotic life–she is running the family café, The Flywheel, by herself because her father is on a vacation trying to get over his wife deserting him; she is getting flack at school because she is a lesbian, and one of the “in-girls” has started to come on to her, and she is hopelessly attracted to a girl named Rosa, who dances the flamingo outside the café every evening.

Munro vs. the Coyote by Darren Groth (Orca, 2017)
In this novel for teens, Munro Maddux goes to Australia on a student exchange in order to try and deal with his younger sister’s death.

The Blue-Eyed Aborigine by Rosemary Hayes (Frances Lincoln, 2011)
Tells the story of a cabin boy called Jan Pelgrom and a soldier involved in a notorious mutiny after the shipwreck of the Batavia off Western Australia in 1629.

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Atheneum, 2014)
Friendship, love, and a mystery fill the life-changing summer of fifteen-year-old Sky, who lives with her unconventional family in a run-down record store in St. Kilda, a seaside suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil (Peachtree, 2018)
Told from two viewpoints, Sophia, seventeen, a Sri Lankan-Australian math prodigy with social anxiety, is panicking about her future when classmate and amateur magician Joshua proclaims his love for her.

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (Harlequin Teen, 2017)

Timber Creek Station by Ali Lewis (Carolrhoda Lab, 2016)
Thirteen-year-old Danny Dawson lives on a cattle station in the Australian outback, where his family struggles to cope with the accidental death of his older brother a year earlier and his sister’s pregnancy by an Aboriginal.

Lucy at Sea by Barbara Mariconda (HarperCollins, 2013)
Lucy travels to Australia in her magical house-turned-ship to find her long-lost Aunt Pru and solve the mystery of the curse on her family

Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Tundra, 2014)
Reluctantly assisting her friend Mycroft’s investigation into the murder of a homeless man, Rachel Watts realizes her attraction to her bad-boy partner before finding herself targeted by the killer.

Bob by Wendy Mass (Feiwel and Friends, 2018)
Visiting her grandmother in Australia, Livy, ten, is reminded of the promise she made five years before to Bob, a strange, green creature who cannot recall who or what he is.

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan (Fremantle, 2015)
After being removed from her home, a young Aboriginal girl is placed in an institution, but manages to overcome the death of a close friend and make a new life for herself.

Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars by Martine Murray (Knopf, 2017)
Molly longs for normalcy but when her mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly must embrace all the things she has tried to run away from.

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra (Skyscape, 2013)
Two girls survive a flood in the Tasmanian bush and are rescued by two tigers who raise them in the wild for four years, but when the girls return to civilization, both have trouble adapting to being fully human after their experience.

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza (Flatiron Books, 2017)
When a boy claiming to be Frankie’s half brother disappears, Frankie searches for him and the truth about her past.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung (Knopf, 2016)
In Australia, Lucy tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

Long Dark Dusk by J. P. Smythe (Quercus, 2017)
When the violent intersteller transport ship Australia crashes back to Earth, seventeen-year-old Chan finds herself living in poverty on a planet she has never known but always dreamed of, and as she tries to muster the will to survive, Chan learns that Mae, the little girl she once rescued on Australia, could be alive.

Way Down Dark by J. P. Smythe (Quercus, 2016)
Seventeen-year-old Chan, whose ancestors left a dying Earth hundreds of years ago, lives on the violent interstellar transport ship Australia, filled with murderous gangs and twisted cults, but Chan’s discovery of a possible way to return the Australia to Earth, which may still be uninhabitable, puts her life and those of her loved ones in terrible danger.

Don’t Forget Me by Victoria Stevens (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2018)
Forced to leave her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, in a nursing home in England and move to Australia to live with the father she has never met, seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke struggles to build a new life for herself until she is befriended by Red and his quiet, grieving twin brother Luca, who help her learn to love her new home and realize the importance of honesty and family.

Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan (Scholastic, 2018)
A collection of illustrated short stories, each one about the relationship of humans and the animals, both wild and domestic, that share the urban environment of the inner city.

Cloudwish by Fiona Wood (Little Brown, 2016)
Vietnamese-Australian teenager Vân Uoc Phan, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, doesn’t believe in magic until the day an absent-minded wish actually comes true and she attracts the attention of her longtime crush

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Little, Brown, 2015)
Fourteen-year-old Dan Cereill’s life is turned upside-down when his father announces he is gay and leaves Dan and his mother with nothing, forcing them to move to an aunt’s house, Dan to enroll in public school, and his mother to try to start a business, but the top thing on Dan’s list is kissing Estelle, the girl next door.

Velocity by Chris Wooding (Scholastic, 2017)
Cassica and Shiara have grown up in Coppermouth, a dust choked town in the Outback, but now they hope to use their skills as race driver and mechanic to take on the Widowmaker, an off-road rally through some of the most dangerous places on Earth, to win fame and fortune–provided they survive the race.

The Protected by Claire Zorn (Sourcebooks Fire, 2017)
Nearly a year after her popular older sister’s accidental death, Hannah meets Anne, a guidance counselor, and Josh, a potential new friend, who offer her the chance to move forward.


Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt (Henry Holt, 2003)
Thirteen-year-old Isabel, a girl living on the island of Guam, and her family try to cope with the suicide of Isabel’s mother.

Songs of Papa’s Island by Barbara Kerley (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)
A mother tells her daughter a series of stories about life on Guam before the daughter was born and when she was a baby.

No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler (Merit Press, 2014)
Fifteen-year-old Kiko wants to prove that he is a man, so he decides to avenge his mother’s rape by a Japanese soldier during World War II by murdering the old Japanese soldier living in the Guamanian jungle behind his house.







Hunter by Joy Cowley (Philomel, 2004)
A Maori boy in 1805 and a plane crash survivor marooned on a deserted island in 2005 experience interconnecting visions.

Into the River by Ted Dawe (Polis, 2016)
Wanting more than the Maori customs and rituals provide Te Arepa believes his prayers are answered when he is awarded a scholarship to a boarding school across the country.

The 10 p.m. Question by Kate de Goldi (Candlewick, 2010)
Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced to face the ultimate ten p.m. question.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 2010)
Eighteen-year-old New Zealand boarding school student Ellie Spencer must use her rusty tae kwon do skills and new-found magic to try to stop a fairy-like race of creatures from Maori myth and legend that is plotting to kill millions of humans in order to regain their lost immortality.

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Little, Brown, 2011)
When a rash of suicides disturbs Summerton, an oddly perfect tourist town on the west coast of New Zealand, the younger siblings of the dead boys become suspicious and begin an investigation that reveals dark secrets and puts them in grave danger.

Take it Easy by David Hill (Dutton, 1997)
Sent by his father on a five-day wilderness hike in the rugged New Zealand mountains, Rob and five other less-experienced teenagers must go it alone when their leader suddenly dies.

River Song by Belinda Hollyer (Holiday House, 2008)
Jessye loves living with her grandmother in a traditional Maori village, but when her free-wheeling mother comes back into her life, Jessye must decide whether to stay or move to the city.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (Harcourt, 2003)
As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.

The Boy Who Returned From the Sea by Clay Morgan (Dutton, 2007)
Jack is reunited with his beloved sheepdog Moxie on the island where they first met, but the dangerous Blackburn Jukes is there too, searching for valuable amber that is hidden in the island’s bogs.

The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Clay Morgan (Dutton, 2003)
After being marooned on an island near New Zealand, Jack, an orphaned cabin boy from San Francisco, becomes allied with a group of dogs who protect the local sheep from wild dogs.

NOTE: Red numbers denote how many holdings are noted in reQuest. An asterisk means that the book is available at the State Library Service Centers.

Categories: Countries

East & Southeast Asian Countries – Fiction

August 15, 2018 Leave a comment

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


Little, Brother by Allan Baillie (Viking, 1992)
In Cambodia after the Vietnamese War, Vithy learns to overcome social upheaval, a hostile jungle, and his own inability to trust, in order to rescue his older brother.

Gathering the Dew by Minfong Ho (Orchard, 2003)
After the Communists take over Cambodia and her family is torn from their city life, twelve-year-old Nakri and her older sister attempt to maintain their hope as well as their classical dancing skills in the midst of their struggle to survive.

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (Balzer + Bray, 2012)
Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge.


Anya’s War by Andrea Alban (Feiwel and Friends, 2011)
In 1937, the privileged and relatively carefee life of a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, whose family emigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, to Shanghai, China, comes to an end when she finds an abandoned baby, her hero, Amelia Earhart, goes missing, and war breaks out with Japan. Based on the author’s family history. [Ukrainians in China]

The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang (Delacorte, 2017)
Teens Tianyi, his best friend Kai, and Julie, a wealthy American, join with Professor Chen and local guide Asat Amat seek the lost city of Jinjue, hindered by lethal creatures and an evil force.

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth (Algonquin, 2018)
After her parents are arrested by Chinese soldiers because of their religious beliefs, twelve-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam travel from their home in Tibet across the Himalayas to India in order to seek the help of the Dalai Lama.

Bronze and Sunflower by Wenxuan Cao (Candlewick, 2017)
Taken in by a poor family in a rural village after the death of her father, Sunflower bonds with the family’s only child, Bronze, who has not spoken since being traumatized by a terrible fire.

In the Eye of War by Margaret and Raymond Chang (McElderry, 1990)
During the final days of the Japanese occupation of China, Shao-shao celebrates his tenth birthday, observes traditional holidays with his family, and befriends the daughter of a traitor.

Sword by Da Chen (Laura Geringer, 2008)
When Miu Miu turns fifteen, she learns the truth about her father’s violent death and discovers that she must avenge his murder before she can marry the man to whom she is betrothed. Based on a story told to the author by a former prisoner during China’s Cultural Revolution.

Wandering Warrior by Da Chen (Delacorte, 2003)
Eleven-year-old Luka, destined to become the future emperor of China, is trained in the ways of the kung fu wandering warriors by the wise monk Atami.

A Banquest for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales by Ying Chang Compestine (Henry Holt, 2009)
Presents and eight-course banquet of ghost stories centering around Chinese cooking and culture. Each story is followed by a recipe and historical notes.

Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine (Henry Holt, 2007)
Starting in 1972 when she is nine years old, Ling, the daughter of two doctors, struggles to make sense of the communists’ Cultural Revolution, which empties stores of food, homes of appliances deemed “bourgeois,” and people of laughter.

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine (Amulet, 2014)
Through the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, thirteen-year-old Ming, a village boy in 1970s China, learns the history of Emperor Qin, known both for building the Great Wall of China and for burying scholars alive, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be.

Shen and the Treasure Fleet by Ray Conlogue (Annick Press, 2007)
After rebel forces seize the Chinese royal city of Nanjing in 1403, thirteen-year-old Shen and his younger sister Chang take refuge with a traveling acrobat troupe who gains passage on a vast fleet of ships setting sail to explore the world.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin (Viking, 2019)
Lillia, fifteen, flees Warsaw with her father and baby sister in 1940 to try to make a new start in Shanghai, China, but the conflict grows more intense as America and Japan become involved. [Polish in China]

Sign of the Qin by Laura Geringer (Hyperion, 2004)
In long-ago China, Prince Zong, the mortal young Starlord chosen to save humankind from destruction, joins the twin outlaws, White Streak and Black Whirlwind, to fight the Lord of the Dead and his demon hordes.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown, 2014)
As Jin Ling tries to save her sister, Mei Yee, from the Brotherhood of the Red Dragon in Hak Nam Walled City, one boy, Dai, can reunite them and save their lives–but only if he’s willing to risk his own.

Spilled Water by Sally Grindley (Bloomsbury, 2004)
After her father’s death, Lu Si-Yan’s uncle sells her to a rich family who expect her to work as their servant until she is old enough to marry their son, but when she runs away things only get worse.

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang (Tanglewood, 2011)
Called to follow the wind and search for information about his father who disappeared many years ago, thirteen-year-old Chengli, carrying a piece of jade with strange writing that had belonged to his father, joins a caravan charged with giving safe passage to the Emperor’s daughter as it navigates the constant dangers of the Silk Road in 630 A.D.

Moon Princess by Barbara Laban (Scholastic, 2017)
After her mother disappears and her mean housekeeper starts to act suspiciously, Sienna and her invisible dog Rufus set out to find answers and encounter Feng and other companions on their journey.

Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley (Clarion, 2017)
In order to save her family’s farm, Roshen, sixteen, must leave her rural home to work in a factory in the south of China. There she finds arduous and degrading conditions and contempt for her minority (Uyghur) background. Sustained by her bond with other Uyghur girls, Roshen is resolved to endure all to help her family and ultimately her people.

The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley (Clarion, 2013)
Life has been hard for fourteen-year-old Mehrigul, a member of the Uyghur tribal group scorned by the Chinese communist regime, so when an American offers to buy all the baskets she can make in three weeks, Mehrigul strives for a better future for herself and her family despite her father’s opposition.

Little Pear: The Story of a Little Chinese Boy by Eleanor Frances Lattimore (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1931)
The adventures of Little Pear, a mischievous five-year-old boy living in China in the early 1900s.

The Dragon’s Pearl by Julie Lawson (Clarion, 1993)
During a terrible drought, a cheerful, dutiful son finds a magic pearl which forever changes his life and the lives of his mother and neighbors.

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis (HRW, 1932)
In the 1920’s, a Chinese youth from the country comes to Chungking with his mother where the bustling city offers adventure and his apprenticeship to a coppersmith brings good fortune.

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim (Scholastic, 2017)
After being sold as a bride to a wealthy family that treats her poorly, eleven-year-old Jing, with the help of her animal friends, runs away.

Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu (Carolrhoda Lab, 2018)
Told in two voices, Luli and Yun, raised in an orphanage to age sixteen, work together in a factory until Yun, pregnant, disappears and Luli must confront the dangers of the outside world to find her. Includes facts about China’s One-Child Policy and its effects.

Year of the Tiger by Alison Lloyd (Holiday House, 2010)
In ancient China, two boys forge an unlikely alliance in an effort to become expert archers and, ultimately, to save their city from invading barbarians.

Along the River by Adeline Yen Mah (Delacorte, 2009)
CC suffers a bad fall and, in order to treat her injuries, she undergoes hypnotherapy that reveals her connection to an eleventh-century girl named Mei Lan, who defied convention to befriend a household servant who was a brilliant artist. Includes glossary and pronunciation of Chinese words, and author’s note on the background of the story.

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah (HarperCollins, 2005)
During the Japanese occupation of parts of China, twelve-year-old Ye Xian is thrown out of her father’s and stepmother’s home, joins a martial arts group, and tries to help her aunt and the Americans in their struggle against the Japanese invaders. Includes historical notes.

The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean (HarperCollins, 2002)
In thirteenth-century China, after trying to save his widowed mother from a horrendous second marriage, twelve-year-old Haoyou has life-changing adventures when he takes to the sky as a circus kite rider and ends up meeting the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

The Shanghai Incident by Bryan Methods (Carolrhoda, 2017)
In the early 1900s, an English schoolboy and his criminal mastermind butler travel to Paris and then race to Shanghai to solve a dangerous kidnappng case and unravel a plot to attack the child emperor of China.

Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll (Candlewick, 2005)
The posthumous papers of Rebecca MacKenzie document her adventures, along with her brother Doug, in 1920s China as the teenaged siblings are sent to live aboard their uncle’s ship where they become involved in the dangerous activities of a mysterious secret society called the Honourable Guild of Specialists.

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai (Henry Holt, 2019)
When Soviet troops invade Japanese-occupied Manchuria during the last days of World War II, twelve-year-old Natsu Kimura must care for her younger sister as they struggle to survive and return to Japan.

An Ocean Apart, A World Away by Lensey Namioka (Delacorte, 2002)
Despite the odds facing her decision to become a doctor in 1920’s Nanking, China, teenaged Yanyan leaves her family to study at Cornell University where, along with hard work, she finds prejudice and loneliness as well as friendship and a new sense of accomplishment.

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka (Delacorte, 1999)
Ailin’s life takes a different turn when she defies the traditions of upper class Chinese society by refusing to have her feet bound.

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli (Atheneum, 2004)
In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child’s feet so that she alone might marry well.

A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman (Delacorte, 2018, c1986)
A clever, cheerful, hard-working farmer’s son wins the hand of a Chinese princess by outwitting her father the Emperor, who treasures his daughter more than all the rice in China.

Threads by Ami Polonsky (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
An American girl finds a note written by a Chinese girl forced to work in a factory in Beijing.

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon (Greenwillow, 2011)
When Ai Ling leaves her home and family to accompany Chen Yong on his quest to find his father, haunted by the ancient evil she thought she had banished to the underworld, she must use her growing supernatural powers to save Chen Yong from the curses that follow her.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon (Greenwillow, 2009)
With her father long overdue from his journey and a lecherous merchant blackmailing her into marriage, seventeen-year-old Ai Ling becomes aware of a strange power within her as she goes in search of her parent.

Chenxi and the Foreigner by Sally Rippin (Annick Press, 2009)
When Anna, an Australian art student, moves to Shanghai for her studies, she feels alienated as a foreigner until she befriends Chenxi, her fellow student and guide, and becomes entangled in his political activism. [Australians in China]

Shanghai Shadows by Lois Ruby (Holiday House, 2006)
From 1939 to 1945, a Jewish family struggles to survive in occupied China; young Ilse by remaining optimistic, her older brother by joining a resistance movement, her mother by maintaining connections to the past, and her father by playing the violin that had been his livelihood.

Child Bride by Ching Yeung Russell (Boyds Mills, 1999)
In the 1940’s in southeastern China, eleven-year-old Ying will do whatever it takes to avoid the marriage arranged for her by a grandmother she barely knows because it would take her away from the grandmother who is raising her.

Lichee Tree by Ching Yeung Russell (Boyds Mills, 1997)
In the late 1940’s in southeastern China, ten-year-old Ying can’t wait for her lichee tree to bloom so she can sell the fruit for money to help her family.

Marco? Polo! by Jon Scieszka (Viking, 2006)
The Time Warp Trio find themselves in a desert in China, and in order to retrieve their magical book from the court of Kublai Khan, they must pose as astrologers and join the caravan of Marco Polo and his father.

Red Butterfly by A. L Sonnichsen (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
In China, a foundling girl with a deformed hand raised in secret by an American woman must navigate China’s strict adoption system when she is torn away from the only family she has ever known.

Dragon by Jeff Stone (Random House, 2010)
Thirteen-year-old Long, a dragon-style kung fu master and the oldest of the five survivors of the destroyed Cangzhen, must get to the Forbidden City before Tonglong declares himself emperor.

Chu Ju’s House by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2004)
In order to save her baby sister, fourteen-year-old Chu Ju leaves her rural home in modern China and earns food and shelter by working on a sampan, tending silk worms, and planting rice seedlings, while wondering if she will ever see her family again.

Rebel: A Tibetan Odyssey by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel (HarperCollins, 2000)
Although he rebels against life in the Tibetan Buddhist monastery where he had been sent, fourteen-year-old Thunder comes to some amazing realizations about himself.

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson (Hyperion, 2005)
An orphan slave girl becomes a Dragon Keeper when she heroically comes to the aid of an aging dragon and both go on a dangerous journey across China to protect a mysterious stone vital to the dragon’s legacy.

Dragon Moon by Carole Wilkinson (Hyprion, 2008)
In China during the Han Dynasty, young Ping must take Kai, the dragon she rescued, on a long and perilous journey to the ancient haven of the dragons following cryptic clues left by the wise dragon, Danzi, and aided by old friends.

Garden of the Purple Dragon by Carole Wilkinson (Hyperion, 2007)
In China during the Han Dynasty, young Ping, doubting that she is the true dragonkeeper, struggles to care for the baby dragon, Kai, in the desolate mountains of Tai Shan, until fate leads her back to the Imperial Palace and the Garden of the Purple Dragon, but even in the safety of the palace, enemies abound and tempt her to try to escape her destiny.

The Dragon’s Gate by Barry Wolverton (Walden Pond, 2016)
Recused by archaeologist Lady Jean Barrett, the survivors of the Albatross embark on a journey into the heart of China to find the buried tomb of the first emperor.

The Golden Rat by Don L. Wulffson (Bloomsbury, 2007)
When sixteen-year-old Baoliu is wrongfully accused of murdering his stepmother, his father pays someone else to die in his place, leaving Baoliu to fend for himself on the streets of twelth-century China.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang (Delacorte, 2011)
Emmajin, the sixteen-year-old eldest granddaughter of Khublai Khan, becomes a warrior and falls in love with explorer Marco Polo in thirteenth-century China.

The Bone Collector’s Son by Paul Yee (Marshall Cavendish, 2004)
In 1907 Vancouver, Canada, after helping unearth a skeleton to be returned for burial in China, fourteen-year-old Bing experiences strange events that cause him to confront his fear of both ghosts and of his father.

The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep (HarperCollins, 2008)
In 1922, ten-year-old Gim Lew reluctantly leaves his village in China to accompany his father to America, but before they go he must prepare for a grueling test that he must pass–without stuttering–at California’s Angel Island, where strict officials strive to keep out unwanted immigrants. Includes facts about immigration from China and the experiences of the author’s family.

Dragons of Silk by Laurence Yep (Harper, 2011)
Four generations of Chinese and Chinese-American girls, beginning in 1835, are tied together by the tradition of raising silkworms and the legacy of the legendary Weaving Maid.

Lady of Ch’iao Kuo: Warrior of the South by Laurence Yep (Scholastic, 2001)
In 531 A.D., a fifteen-year-old princess of the Hsien tribe in southern China keeps a diary which describes her role as liaison between her own people and the local Chinese colonists, in times of both peace and war.

Spring Pearl: The Last Flower by Laurence Yep (Pleasant Company, 2002)
Called boyish by her new family for being able to read and write, twelve-year-old, orphaned Spring Pearl’s “odd ways” help save the family during the 1857 Opium War in Canton, China.

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue and Clare Farrow (Barefoot Books, 2008)
In Communist China in 1966, eight-year-old Leap Forward learns about freedom while flying kites with his best friend, by trying to get a caged wild bird to sing, and through the music he is learning to play on a bamboo flute. Includes author’s notes on his childhood in Beijing, life under Mao Zedong, and the Cultural Revolution.

The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang (Aladdin, 2017)
During a family trip to China, eleven-year-old Mia Chen and her older brother, Jake, follow clues and solve riddles in hopes of finding their missing Aunt Lin and, perhaps, a legendary treasure.


The Year of the Fortune Cookie by Andrea Cheng (HMH, 2014)
Eleven-year-old Anna takes a trip to China and learns more about herself and her Chinese heritage.

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by L. Tam Holland (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Vee’s history assignment is to create a family tree, but he doesn’t know anything about his family beyond his parents’ generation.


Subway Girl by P. J. Converse (HarperTeen, 2011)
In Hong Kong, Chan Tze Man, called Simon Chan, leaves high school because he can’t master English, but when he befriends Amy, a Chinese- American who knows little Chinese, their unlikely bond gives hope to both.

Nine Days by Fred Hiatt (Delacorte, 2013)
Tenth-graders Ethan and Ti-Anna go to Hong Kong seeking her father, an exiled Chinese democracy activist who has disappeared, and follow his trail to Vietnam and back, also uncovering illegal activity along the way. Includes author’s note and the history behind the novel written by the girl who inspired it. [Americans in China]

Necropolis by Anthony Horowitz (Scholastic, 2009)
To stop the evil corporation Nightrise from unleashing its devastating power around the globe, fifteen-year-old Matt and three other Gatekeepers travel to Hong Kong to find Scarlet, the final Gatekeeper, whose fate is inextricably joined to their own.

Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell (Lee & Low, 2009)
Growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, a young girl dreams of becoming a writer in spite of conventional limits placed on her by society and family. Based on the author’s childhood.


Disguised: A Wartime Memoir by Zubli Clercq (Candlewick, 1799)
Details the author’s experiences in a Japanese POW camp where she, disguised as a boy and outraged at the conditions, injustice, and torture, dared to speak up for her fellow prisoners of war.

Overboard by Elizabeth Fama (Cricket, 2002)
Escaping from a sinking ferry in the waters off Sumatra, fourteen-year-old Emily fights for survival for herself and a young Indonesian boy, who draws courage from his quiet but firm Islamic faith.

After the Ashes by Sara K. Joiner (Holiday House, 2015)
In 1883 thirteen-year-old Katrien Courtlandt is more interested in science and exploring the Javanese jungle for beetles with her native friend, than in becoming a young lady like her despised cousin Brigitta–but when Krakatoa erupts, the tsunami hits, and their families are swept away the two cousins must struggle to survive together.

Sea by Heidi R. Kling (Putnam’s, 2010)
Despite recurring nightmares about her mother’s death and her own fear of flying, fifteen-year-old Sienna accepts her father’s birthday gift to fly to Indonesia with his team of disaster relief workers to help victims of a recent tsunami, never suspecting that this experience will change her life forever.

The Flame Tree by Richard Lewis (Simon & Schuster, 2004)
Just before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an anti-American Muslim group gains power in Java, and Isaac, the twelve-year-old son of American missionary doctors, finds his world turned upside-down.

The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (Simon Pulse, 2008)
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sumatra, two teenagers, American Sarah and Acehnese Ruslan, meet and continue together their arduous climb inland, where Ruslan hopes to find his father and Sarah seeks a doctor for her brother. Includes maps and author’s note about the tsunami on which the story is based.

Rescued by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic, 2016)
When John was ten years old his father brought back a baby orangutan from Indonesia, and Raja quickly becomes John’s “brother” and responsibility–so years later, after his parents divorce, and his father has sold Raja to a roadside zoo, John sets out to rescue him and bring him to a sanctuary in Indonesia. [Americans in Indonesia]


Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam’s, 2017)
After an attempt is made on her life, Mariko disguises herself as a boy and infiltrates a gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, determined to hunt down the person responsible.

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam’s, 2018)
Mariko must uncover deception in the imperial court and rescue Okami, while preparing for her nuptials.

The Last Leaves Falling by Fox Benwell (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.

Young Samurai by Chris Bradford (Disney Hyperion, 2011)
In 1613 Japan, English orphan Jack Fletcher’s determination to keep the rutter, his father’s navigational logbook, safe at all costs places his friends, daimyo Takatomi, and others in great danger.

The Way of the Sword by Chris Bradford (Disney Hyperion, 2009)
In 1611 Japan, English orphan Jack Fletcher continues his difficult training at Niten Ichi Ryu Samurai School, while also trying to get back the rutter, his father’s navigational logbook, that an evil ninja wants to possess.

The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw (Sky Pony, 2016)
Twelve-year-old Yuriko’s happy life with her father in Hiroshima, Japan, is disrupted when her aunt and cousin move in, when a dark secret is revealed, and then, devastatingly, when the atomic bomb is dropped.

The Heavenward Path by Kara Dalkey (Harcourt Brace, 1998)
Haunted by a broken promise to a powerful god, fifteen-year-old Mitsuko again enlists the aid of a mischievous shape-shifter who helps her learn to think for herself.

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu (Atheneum, 2016)
Eleven-year-old Emma’s life in Tokyo changes for the worse when she and her American mother, who is pregnant, must move in with her Japanese grandmother the summer before 9/11 changes the world.

The Black Lotus by Kieran Fanning (Scholastic, 2016)
Ghost can become invisible, Cormac can run up walls, and Kate can talk to animals–all talents that make them perfect recruits for the Black Lotus, a training school for the ninjas who are sworn to protect the world from the evil Samurai-run Empire and its plot to find the Moon Sword, a dangerous, powerful weapon in sixteenth-century Japan.

Spirit’s Chosen by Esther M. Friesner (Random House, 2013)
As Himiko traverses ancient Japan in order to free enslaved members of her clan, she encounters members of many other tribes and emerges as the leader who will unify them.

Spirit’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner (Random House, 2012)
In ancient Japan, Himiko, the privileged daughter of her clan’s leader, fights the constraints and expectations imposed on young women and finds her own path, which includes secret shaman lessons.

Owl Ninja by Sandy Fussell (Candlewick, 2011)
Sensei Ki-yaga leads Niya and the other students of the Cockroach Ryu on a journey to beg the feudal Emperor to stop war from breaking out between the mountain ryus, putting to the test the firm friendship and unusual skills of these physically-disabled samurai-in-training.

White Crane by Sandy Fussell (Candlewick, 2010)
Even though he has only one leg, Niya Moto is studying to be a samurai, and his five fellow-students are similarly burdened, but sensei Ki-Yaga, an ancient but legendary warrior, teaches them not only physical skills but mental and spiritual ones as well, so that they are well-equipped to face their most formidable opponents at the annual Samurai Games.

The Perfect Sword by Scott Goto (Charlesbridge, 2008)
After a Japanese master swordmaker and his apprentice craft the perfect sword, they search high and low for someone worthy of it.

Grenade by Alan Gratz (Scholastic, 2018)
On April 1, 1945 with the battle of Okinawa beginning, fourteen-year-old native Okinawan Hideki, drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps, is handed two grenades and told to go kill American soldiers; small for his age Hideki does not really want to kill anyone, he just wants to find his family, and his struggle across the island will finally bring him face-to-face with Ray, a marine in his very first battle–and the choice he makes then will change his life forever.

Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz (Dial, 2006)
While obtaining a Western education at a prestigious Japanese boarding school in 1890, sixteen-year-old Toyo also receives traditional samurai training which has profound effects on both his baseball game and his relationship with his father.

Rise of the Ninja by Simon Higgins (Little, Brown, 2010)
It’s the dawn of an age of peace in medieval Japan. But a power-hungry warlord is plotting to plunge the national into a deadly civil war. Enter Moonshadow, the newest agent for the Grey Light Order, a secret brotherhood of ninja spy warriors. Can Moonshadow defeat the evil warlord or will his first mission be his last?

Wrath of Silver Wolf by Simon Higgins (Little, Brown, 2011)
Battling a power-hungry warlord in medieval Japan, teenaged Moonshadow, an orphaned ninja in the shogun’s secret service with the ability to see through the eyes of animals, encounters a weaponless assassin who enters the mind of his victims during their sleep.

The Demon in the Teahouse by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2001)
In eighteenth-century Japan, fourteen-year-old Seikei, a merchant’s son in training to be a samurai, helps his patron investigate a series of murders and arson in the capital city of Edo, each of which is associated in some way with a popular geisha.

The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 1999)
While attempting to solve the mystery of a stolen jewel, Seikei, a merchant’s son who longs to be a samurai, joins a group of kabuki actors in eighteenth-century Japan.

In Darkness Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2004)
In eighteenth-century Japan, young Seikei becomes involved with a ninja as he helps Judge Ooka, his foster father, investigate the murder of a samurai.

A Samurai Never Fears Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2007)
Returning home to investigate the possible connection of his family’s tea shop with smugglers, Seikei, now a samauri in eighteenth-century Japan, becomes involved in murder at a local puppet theater and saving the life of his sister’s accused boyfriend.

Seven Paths to Death by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2008)
Samurai Seikei and Judge Ooka, his foster-father, seek seven men who have seven maps on their backs in order to locate a cache of dangerous weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

The Sword that Cut the Burning Grass by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Philomel, 2005)
In his latest adventure in eighteenth-century Japan, fourteen-year-old samurai apprentice Seikei, with the help of a servant girl and an imperious old man, sets out to rescue the young Emperor Yasuhito from his kidnappers.

Shadow Warrior by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Annick Press, 2017)
Based on the true story of a fearless ninja and her network of female spies.

Blood Ninja by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
After his father is murdered and a ninja saves his life, Taro discovers the connection between ninjas and vampires and finds himself being dragged into a bitter conflict between the rival lords ruling Japan.

Blood Ninja II: The Revenge of Lord Oda by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2010)
In sixteenth-century Japan, Taro, a vampire like all ninja warriors, tries to protect his mother and defeat the power-hungry Lord Oda, who he believed was dead.

Blood Ninja III: The Betrayal of the Living by Nick Lake (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
In sixteenth-century Japan, Taro enlists his friends to help vanquish a dragon in hopes of winning a reward that would allow him to marry Hana, but he also faces surprisingly difficult obstacles as Kenji Kira raises the dead against him and his own flesh and blood betrays him.

Gothic Lolita by Dakota Lane (Atheneum, 2008)
Sixteen-year-olds Chelsea and Miya have a lot in common, from their love of blogging, loss of loved ones, and the Shonin rainbow warrior books, to nationalities, even though they are half-way across the world from each other.

Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic, 2004)
Princess Kazunomiya, half-sister of the Emperor of Japan, relates in her diary and in poems the confusing events occurring in the Imperial Palace in 1858, including political and romantic intrigue.

Taka-chan and I: A Dog’s Journey to Japan by Betty Jean Lifton (New York Review of Books, 2012, c1967)
A dog digs a hole in the sand, all the way to Japan, where he meets a little girl held captive by a dragon and helps her to find the most loyal person in Japan.

Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz (Crown, 2016)
A novel in verse about the March 2011 tsunami that sent Japan into chaos, told from the point-of-view of Kai, a biracial teenaged boy.

Running with Cosmos Flowers: The Children of Hiroshima by Shizumi Sigeto Manale (Pelican, 2014)
After months of seeking family members with the aunt she was visiting when Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, seven-year-old Hanako finally goes back to school and gets on with a life that leads, eventually, to her visiting Washington, D.C. and the church that provided them humanitarian aid. Based on first-hand accounts and interviews with survivors, and illustrated with paintings by Hiroshima children.

Missing in Tokyo by Graham Marks (Bloomsbury, 2006)
When his older sister is reported missing, teenager Adam travels from England to Tokyo, Japan, to look for her.

The Way of the Warrior by Andrew Matthews (Dutton, 2008)
In 16th century Japan Jimmu Shimomura is raised to avenge his father’s death caused by Lord Ankan, but after training as a samurai warrior and becoming a bodyguard for his sworn enemy he becomes sympathetic toward Ankan and is unsure what the right thing to do is.

Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan (Kane Miller, 2009)
Australian teenager Hannah spends a semester in Japan with a Japanese family who are friends of her mother and, after finding a written message in a box and meeting a singing monk, is drawn into solving an ancient, mysterious riddle.

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe (VIZ Media)
With a determined plan to reunite his mother and father, the 10-year-old boy named Wataru knowingly enters a fantasy realm inhabited by a goddess who has the power to change destiny. With the help of the Lizard Boy, the Cat Girl, and the Fire-breathing Dragon, Wataru faces a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. One way or another, the young hero must reach the Tower of Destiny and bring his mother and father back together again.

Hachiko Waits by Lesléa Newman (Henry Holt, 2004)
Professor Ueno’s loyal Akita, Hachiko, waits for him at the train station every afternoon, and even after the professor has a fatal heart attack while at work, Hachiko faithfully continues to await his return until the day the dog dies. Based on a true story; includes an author’s note and glossary of Japanese words.

Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House, 2007)
When Merlin is weighed down by sorrows, Jack and Annie travel back to feudal Japan to learn one of the four secrets of happiness.

Dolls of Hope by Shirley Parenteau (Candlewick, 2015)
In 1927 Japan, after disobeying her parents, eleven-year-old Chiyo is sent to an exclusive boarding school where she feels lonely and homesick until the Friendship Doll exchange with America piques her interest, but a bully stands in her way.

Dolls of War by Shirley Parenteau (Candlewick, 2017)
Living on the World War II-era Oregon coast with her father, the director of a doll museum, 11-year-old Macy is dismayed when many of their neighbors demand that a treasured Japanese friendship doll be destroyed in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai by François Place (David R. Godine, 2004)
Tojiro, a young seller of rice cakes in the Japanese capital of Edo, later known as Tokyo, is amazed to discover that the grumpy and shabby old man who buys his cakes is a famous artist renowned for his sketches, prints, and paintings of flowers, animals, and landscapes.

The Bamboo Sword by Margi Preus (Amulet, 2015)
In Japan in 1853, at the time of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry’s visit to Japan, Yoshi, a young Japanese boy who dreams of becoming a samurai one day, learns about America from Majiro and has adventures with Jack, a young cabin boy aboard one of the U.S. ships. Includes historical notes and glossary.

Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro by Margi Preus (Amulet, 2010)
In 1841, rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions castaways on a remote island, fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, learns new laws and customs as he becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States.

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn (Viking, 2012)
After a high-profile art heist of three van Gogh drawings in her home town of Seattle, sixteen-year-old Violet Rossi finds herself in Japan with her artist father, searching for the related van Gogh painting.

The Monster on the Road is Me by J. P. Romney (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016)
In Japan, a teenage boy with narcolepsy is able to steal the thoughts of supernatural beings in his sleep, and uses this ability to defeat a mountain demon that’s causing a string of suicides at his school.

Sam Samurai by Jon Scieszka (Viking, 2001)
Joe, Fred, and Sam are transported to seventeenth century Japan where they infuriate a Samurai warrior, encounter their great-grandaughters, and save their lives by reciting an ancient form of poetry.

The Terror of the Tengu by John Seven (Stone Arch, 2015)
When twenty-fifth century time-travelers Dawkins and Hypatia find a plastic artifact among the Neanderthals, it is an anomaly–but on their next assignment to Japan in 1595 they find much more significant evidence of tampering, using virtual reality to induce belief in a demon tengu, and causing mass hysteria.

Model Misfit by Holly Smale (HarperTeen, 2015)
Feeling impossibly awkward and unpopular in spite of her international fame, Harriet decides a summer modeling job in Japan will make the perfect vacation, until her gorgeous model ex-boyfriend Nick shows up.

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (Roaring Brook, 2016)
After a suicide attempt, Reiko is sent to Japan where she visits a historic village designed to replicate the Edo period and finds herself transported back in time into the life of a woman who also seeks revenge.

Chasing the Secret by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2009)
When, after intercepting a secret message from their mother, their evil Uncle Hidehira uncovers their samurai disguise, Kimi and Hana again must flee for their lives and, with the help of a fellow student, undertake a perilous journey to find their mother and brother before they are captured by Hidehira’s samurai.

Journey Through Fire by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2009)
Recovering from injuries sustained while escaping a fire, Kimi, Hana, and their mother and little brother take refuge in a monastery where their mother petitions the Shogun for help against evil Uncle Hidehira.

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow (HarperCollins, 2008)
Two aristocratic sisters in ancient Japan disguise themselves as samurai warriors to take revenge on the uncle who betrayed their family.

Prisoner of War by Michael P. Spradlin (Scholastic, 2017)
Fifteen-year-old Henry Forrest lies about his age and enlists in the Marines to escape from his abusive father, but when he is immediately sent to the Philippines he finds himself in the middle of the Japanese invasion–and as he grows up he will have to endure the Bataan Death March, overcrowded prisons, and the Japanese factory in Tokyo where he is eventually sent as slave labor.

Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure by Kevin Sylvester (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Celebrity teenaged chef Neil Flambé heads to Japan to solve his next mystery when news arrives that his cousin Larry, a manga comic book writer visiting Tokyo, has died in a boating accident.

Nobody Knows by Shelley Tanaka (Groundwood, 2012)
Twelve-year-old Akira must take care of his younger siblings after they are abandoned by their mother and left to fend for themselves in a Tokyo apartment.

Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson (Henry Holt, 2016)
“In this novel in verse, a resilient American boy deals with bullying and the challenges of being an outsider that come with living in a Japanese fishing village.

The Language Inside by Holly Thompson (Delacorte, 2013)
Raised in Japan, American-born tenth-grader Emma is disconcerted by a move to Massachusetts for her mother’s breast cancer treatment, because half of Emma’s heart remains with her friends recovering from the tsunami.

Orchards by Holly Thompson (Delacorte, 2011)
Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate’s suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

Strange Lights Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan by Rui Umezawa (Groundwood, 2015)
A bitterly jealous brother, a samurai who makes the ultimate sacrifice, a cold-hearted husband, a monk who mistakes desire for piety, a fraudulent merchant who meets his match in a supernatural river otter the motives underlying these traditional Japanese folktale characters are explored with haunting results.

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (Little, Brown, 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the United States, and she unexpectedly finds herself drawn to Jamie, a boy with whom she shares a heartbreaking history. Can their one short week of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Blue Fingers: A Ninja’s Tale by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel (Clarion, 2004)
Having failed apprenticeship as a dye maker, Koji is captured and forced to train as a ninja, where he remains disloyal until he discovers samurai have burned his former village.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (Little, Brown, 2013)
When his mother dies three weeks before his high school graduation, Danny goes to Tokyo, where his mother had been going for cancer treatments, to learn about the city his mother loved and, with the help of his friends, come to terms with her death.

The Letters by Kazumi Yumoto (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002)
In Japan, the death of her former landlady triggers a young woman’s memories about her father’s death when she was six years old, and the special way the old lady helped her to cope with the loss.

The Spring Tone by Kazumi Yumoto (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999)
Plagued by headaches and nightmares, Tomomi tries to make sense of her grandmother’s death, her little brother’s obsession with saving sick and abandoned cats, and her fear that she is becoming a monster.


In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien (Scholastic, 2017)
Twelve-year-old Mia is on a five-day tour of North Korea with her older brother, Simon, and their father, Mark, an food aide worker, but she is scared because her father keeps sneaking off at night, and terrified that her brother’s sullen, rebellious behavior (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Koreans) is going to get them in trouble–and things get much worse when she is pulled into a deadly political game that seeks to expose North Korean atrocities, and her father is arrested.


Echoes of the White Giraffe by Sook Nyul Choi (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
Fifteen-year-old Sookan adjusts to life in the refugee village in Pusan but continues to hope that the civil war will end and her family will be reunited in Seoul.

Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi (Houghton Mifflin, 1991)
A young Korean girl survives the oppressive Japanese and Russian occupation of North Korea during the 1940s, to later escape to freedom in South Korea.

Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars by Sheri Holman (Scholastic, 2002)
In a series of messages placed in her grandmother’s ancestral jar, a seventh century princess and future ruler of the Korean kingdom of Silla vents her frustration at not being permitted to study astronomy because she is a girl.

The Long Season of Rain by Helen Kim (Henry Holt, 1996)
When an orphan boy comes to live with her family, eleven-year-old Junehee begins to realize that the demands placed on Korean women can destroy their lives.

Archer’s Quest by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2006)
Twelve-year-old Kevin Kim helps Chu-mong, a legendary king of ancient Korea, return to his own time.

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2000)
In Korea in 1473, eleven-year-old Young-sup overcomes his rivalry with his older brother Kee-sup, who as the first-born son receives special treatment from their father, and combines his kite-flying skill with Kee-sup’s kite-making skill in an attempt to win the New Year kite-fighting competition.

Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 1999)
Impatient with the constraints put on her as an aristocratic girl living in Korea during the seventeenth century, twelve-year-old Jade Blossom determines to see beyond her small world.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2001)
Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2002)
With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

Ferocious by Paua Stokes (Tor Teen, 2017)
Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to nefarious businessman Kyung, who she believes is responsible for her sister’s death.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout (Thomas Dunne, 2015)
Grace Wilde is hoping for a fresh start from her family, famous in the music industry, and escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame and love.

So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1986)
A fictionalized autobiography in which eleven-year-old Yoko escapes from Korea to Japan with her mother and sister at the end of World War II.


Gilded by Christina Farley (Skyscape, 2014)
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting into a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

Somebody’s Daughter by Marie G. Lee (Beacon Press, 2005)
Adopted and raised by Scandinavian-American parents in Minnesota, a Korean teenager returns to her native country to find her mother.

In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak (Tuttle, 2014)
Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon hopes to compete professionally playing Starfare, the world’s most popular computer game, but when he gets the chance to move to Korea and train full-time, he may not be ready for the culture shock and leaving his possible girlfriend, Hannah.


Little Cricket by Jackie Brown (Hyperion, 2004)
After the upheaval of the Vietnam War reaches them, twelve-year-old Kia and her Hmong family flee from the mountains of Laos to a refugee camp in Thailand and eventually to the alien world of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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.

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (Harper, 2010)
In 1982 twelve-year-old Vonlai, his parents, and sister Dalah, escape from Laos to a Thai refugee camp where they spend four long years struggling to survive in hopes of one day reaching America.




Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint (Clarion, 2017)
In 1986 Malaysia, as she worries about her parents’ constant fighting, ardent soccer fan Maya, age eleven, trains herself and pulls together a team at her girls’ school, despite soccer being a “boys’ game.”

Other Echoes by Adèle Geras (David Fickling, 2004)
Now eighteen years old and living in England, Flora remembers the experiences she had as a nine-year-old in North Borneo, or Sabah, where she endured outsider status and where she uncovered the secret story of an old house.


The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan by P. B. Kerr (Orchard, 2011)
While volcanoes spew golden lava around the world, djinn twins John and Philippa, with their parents, Uncle Nimrod, and Groanin, face evil more powerful than ever before when they try to stop the wicked djinn trying to rob the grave of Genghis Khan.

Alien Expedition by Pamela F. Service (Carolrhoda, 2009)
Young alien agent Zack joins an archaeological dig in Mongolia to ensure that there is no trouble from the dinosaur-like scientists from Vraj’s home planet who are on a similar dig nearby.

I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade by Diane Lee Wilson (Orchard, 1998)
In early fourteenth-century China, Oyuna tells her granddaughter of her girlhood in Mongolia and how love for her horse enabled her to win an important race and bring good luck to her family.


Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen (Scholastic, 2014)
When sullen teenager Dylan Barstow is caught joyriding in a stolen car he is sent to his ex-Marine uncle for the summer, but soon they are on the way to Papua New Guinea in search of a World War II fighter plane and Dylan discovers that defiance is not a survival skill when you are lost in a jungle.

Devil’s Breath Volcano by Richard Trout (Pelican, 2008)
Scuba diving in Papua New Guinea, the MacGregors and Natalie Crosswhite find a concealed safe, and later discover a dangerous link between a toxic underwater leak and an illegal gold-mining operation.




Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling, 2011)
Sixteen-year-old Bernardo, who is eight feet tall and suffers from a condition called Gigantism, leaves the Philippines to live with his mother’s family in London, much to the delight of his thirteen-year-old half sister Andi, a passionate basketball player.

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Knopf, 2018)
When the Phillipine government takes over Culion, an island for people with leprosy, Ami is put in an orphanage on another island, where she finds a friend willing to help her return before her mother dies.

Beyond Paradise by Jane Hertenstein (Morrow, 1999)
Within months of arriving in the exotic Philippines from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to live with her missionary parents on the island of Panay, fourteen-year-old Louise finds herself a prisoner of war in an internment camp when the Japanese invade her new country in 1941.

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury (Wendy Lamb, 2014)
Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.

Prisoner of War by Michael P. Spradlin (Scholatic, 2017)
Fifteen-year-old Henry Forrest lies about his age and enlists in the Marines to escape from his abusive father, but when he is immediately sent to the Philippines he finds himself in the middle of the Japanese invasion–and as he grows up he will have to endure the Bataan Death March, overcrowded prisons, and the Japanese factory in Tokyo where he is eventually sent as slave labor.






Dumpling Days by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2012)
When Pacy, her two sisters, and their parents go to Taiwan to celebrate Grandma’s sixtieth birthday, the girls learn a great deal about their heritage.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (Little, Brown, 2018)
After her mother’s suicide, grief-stricken Leigh Sanders travels to Taiwan to stay with grandparents she never met, determined to find her mother who she believes turned into a bird.

Want by Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse, 2017)
Jason Zhou is trying to survive in Taipei, a city plagued by pollution and viruses, but when he discovers the elite are using their wealth to evade the deadly effects, he knows he must do whatever is necessary to fight the corruption and save his city.


The White Elephant by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow, 2006)
In old Siam, young elephant trainer Run-Run and his old charge, Walking Mountain, must deal with the curse of a sacred white elephant.

Breath of the Dragon by Gail Giles (Clarion, 1997)
Malila draws pictures to accompany her grandmother’s stories about Thai festivals, traditions, and customs.

Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris (Chronicle, 2012)
In Chiang Mai, Thailand, nine-year-old Tua releases an abused elephant from its chains–can she complete the rescue by getting it to an elephant refuge without being caught herself?

Rice Without Rain by Minfong Ho (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1990)
After social rebels convince the headman of a small village in northern Thailand to resist the land rent, his seventeen-year-old daughter Jinda finds herself caught up in the student uprising in Bangkok.

Lost Girls by Ann Kelley (Little, Brown, 2012)
In 1974, fourteen-year-old Bonnie, eight other Amelia Earhart Cadets aged nine to seventeen, and their irresponsible young leader are stranded on a forbidden island off the coast of Thailand on the brink of a deadly storm and must fight to survive.

Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (Harper, 2010)
In 1982 twelve-year-old Vonlai, his parents, and sister Dalah, escape from Laos to a Thai refugee camp where they spend four long years struggling to survive in hopes of one day reaching America.

Silk Umbrellas by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2004)
Eleven-year-old Noi worries that she will have to stop painting the silk umbrellas her family sells at the market near their Thai village and be forced to join her older sister in difficult work at a local factory instead.

Nowhere Girl by Ammi-Joan Paquette (Walker, 2011)
Fair-skinned and blond-haired, thirteen-year-old Luchi was born in a Thai prison where her American mother was being held and she has never had any other home, but when her mother dies Luchi sets out into the world to search for the family and home she has always dreamed of.

Dangerous Wishes by William Sleator (Dutton, 1995)
To end the bad luck that fifteen-year-old Dom and his parents have been experiencing since their arrival in Thailand, Dom and his new friend Lek search for a jade carving that must be returned to its shrine to appease an angry Thai spirit.





Escape from Communist Heaven by Dennis Dunivan (Sentient Publications, 2013)
The communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975 is very hard for Viet Nguyen, fourteen, and his family but when Viet foolishly tries to speed up their plans to escape he is arrested and sentenced to the harsh life of a labor camp in the jungle.

Song of the Buffalo Boy by Sherry Garland (HBJ, 1992)
Shunned and mistreated because of her mixed heritage and determined to avoid an arranged marriage, seventeen-year-old Loi runs away to Ho Chi Minh City with the hope that she and the boy she loves will be able to go to the United States to find her American father.

The Trouble Begins by Linda Himelblau (Delacorte, 2005)
Reunited with his family for the first time since he was a baby, fifth grader Du struggles to adapt to his new home in the United States.

Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam by Quang Nhuong Huynh (HarperCollins, 1997)
The author describes his close relationship to two water buffalo that were part of his family when he was growing up in a village in the central highlands of Vietnam.

A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum, 2010)
In 1975 after American troops pull out of Vietnam, a thirteen-year-old boy and his beloved elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper, 2011)
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

The Buddha’s Diamonds by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2008)
As a storm sweeps in, Tinh’s father tells him to tie up their fishing boat but the storm scares him and he runs away, but when the damage to the boat is discovered, Tinh realizes what he must do.

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2007)
When her grandmother reveals that the daughter that she had given up for adoption is coming from America to visit her Vietnamese family, nine-year-old Binh is convinced that her newly-discovered aunt is wealthy and will take care of all the family’s needs.

Noodle Pie by Ruth Starke (Kane Miller, 2010)
Experiencing culture shock during a family visit to Vietnam, Andy struggles to respond to a Vietnamese name he does not recognize and is surprised by a family restaurant that is nothing like what he expected.


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

Categories: Countries

Middle Eastern & Southeast Asian Countries – Fiction

August 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Picture books which take place in specific Middle Eastern and South Asian countries:
Afghanistan ; Armenia ; Azerbaijan ; Bahrain ; Bangladesh ; Bhutan ; British Indian Ocean Territory ; Gaza Strip ; Georgia ; India ; Iran ; Iraq ; Israel ; Jordan ; Kuwait ; Lebanon ; Maldives ; Nepal ; Oman ; Pakistan ; Qatar ; Saudi Arabia ; Sri Lanka ; Syria ; Turkey ; United Arab Emirates ; West Bank ; Yemen

MIDDLE EAST (download .doc) or MIDDLE EAST (download .pdf)


The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi (Philomel, 2014)
Two teens from different ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan must fight their culture, tradition, families, and the Taliban to stay together as they and another village boy relate the story of their forbidden love.

Camel Bells by Janne Carlsson (Groundwood, 2002)
In 1978 Afghanistan, Hadjar, living with his mother and sister in a small mountain village, is happy to accompany his best friend to the capital city of Kabul but the city is in turmoil as the government is overthrown and the Russian tanks and troops begin to arrive.

Extra Credit by Andrew Clements (Atheneum, 2009)
As letters flow back and forth–between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides–sixth-grader Abby, ten-year-old Amira, and eleven-year-old Sadeed begin to speak and listen to each other.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (Doutlas & McIntyre, 2001)
Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women’s freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father’s arrest.

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi (Harper, 2016)
Forced to move from Kabul to a small village after her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, dresses as a boy to bring her family luck and encounters an entirely different outside world of play and exploration alongside a fellow bacha posh.

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan (Groundwood, 2009)
Based on a true story, Jameela, a young girl living in war-torn Afghanistan, must struggle to find her place in the world after her mother dies and she is moved to Kabul with her drunken father where she clashes with her mean stepmother and ends up in an orphanage run by the same army who was responsible for killing members of her family.

Torn by David Massey (Scholastic, 2013)
Only eighteen when she is sent to Afghanistan, British army medic Elinor Nielson is continually at odds with her hardnosed bunkmate, Heidi Larson, but connects with a mysterious Afghan girl and local children, as well as an American lieutenant. [Americans in Afghanistan]

Thunder Over Kandahar by Sharon E. McKay (Annick, 2010)
A powerful novel of enduring friendship set amid the terror and chaos of present-day Afghanistan.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy (Scholastic, 2011)
Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilirating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.

Refugees by Catherine Stine (Delacorte, 2005)
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dawn, a sixteen-year-old runaway from San Francisco, connects by phone and email with Johar, a gentle, fifteen-year-old Afghani who assists Dawn’s foster mother, a doctor, at a Red Cross refugee camp in Peshawar.







Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge, 2007)
In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naimi excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy–or disguise herself as one.


The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Scholastic, 2019)
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali is looking forward to going to Caltech and getting away from her conservative Muslim parents’ expectation that she will marry, especially since she is in love with her girlfriend Ariana–but when her parents catch her kissing Ariana, they whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh and a world of tradition and arranged marriages, and she must find the courage to fight for the right to choose her own path.



5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (Knopf, 2015)
In a dystopian future where gender selection has led to girls outnumbering boys 5 to 1 marriage is arranged based on a series of tests. It’s Sudasa’s turn to pick a husband through this ‘fair’ method, but she’s not sure she wants to be a part of it.

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2013)
As the partition of India nears in 1947 bringing violence even to Jalandhar, Tariq, a Muslim, finds himself caught between his forbidden interest in Anupreet, a Sikh girl, and Margaret, a British girl whose affection for him might help with his dream of studying at Oxford.

Outside In by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2017)
In the jungle outside the growing city of Chandigarh, twelve-year-old street child Ram discovers a hidden rock garden, befriends its creator–a factory worked named Nek–and tries to save Nek’s garden when it is threatened with destruction.

Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari (Albert Whitman, 2014)
Fourteen-year-old Mira Levenson travels from London to Kolkata to meet her aunt and her cousin and to find out why the families haven’t spoken in years.

Chloe in India by Kate Darnton (Delacorte, 2016)
Though they’re divided by class, language, appearance–you name it–Chloe and Lakshmi have a lot in common. Both girls are new to Class Five at Premium Academy in New Delhi, India, and neither seems to fit in. But they soon discover how extraordinary an ordinary friendship can be and how celebrating our individuality can change the world.

The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming by Chitra Banerjee Diakaruni (Roaring Brook, 2005)
As twelve-year-old Anand continues his studies to become a full-fledged member of The Brotherhood of the Conch, he journeys back to Moghul times, where he encounters powerful sorcerors, spoiled princes, noble warriors, and evil jinns.

Shadowland by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Roaring Brook, 2009)
A search to find the magical conch shell and restore it to its proper home deep in the Himalayas sends Anand and Nisha to the bleak futuristic city of Coal, where the air and water are polluted and the upper classes live in luxury under hermetically sealed domes.

No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood, 2011)
Valli has always been afraid of the lepers living on the other side of the train tracks in the coal town of Jharia, India, so when a chance encounter with a doctor reveals she also has leprosy, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the streets.

Anila’s Journey by Mary Finn (Candlewick, 2008)
In late eighteenth-century Calcutta, half-Indian half-Irish Anila Tandy finds herself alone with nothing but her artistic talent to rely on, searching for her father who is presumed dead.

The Sapphire Cutlass by Sharon Gosling (Switch Press, 2016)
Rémy, former jewel thief and circus performer, Thaddeus, and the others aboard the ruby airship have journeyed deep into the dangerous Indian jungle to find Desai, who is seeking something, or someone, called the Sapphire Cutlass; but Rémy is also looking for something more important to her–a twin brother that she did not know existed.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial, 2018)
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar (Lee & Low, 2017)
When her mother is jailed for being one of Gandhi’s freedom fighters, ten-year-old Anjali overcomes her own prejudices and continues her mother’s social reform work, befriending Untouchable children and working to integrate her school.

Chained by Lynne Kelly (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2012)
To work off a family debt, ten-year-old Hastin leaves his desert village in India to work as a circus elephant keeper but many challenges await him, including trying to keep Nandita, a sweet elephant, safe from the cruel circus owner.

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami (Groundwood, 2016)
When the mayor tries to shut down Book Uncle’s free library on the street corner, Yasmin and her friends decide to take action, even though they are not old enough to vote in the upcoming local election.

The Sultan’s Tigers by Josh Lacey (HMH, 2013)
Tom, who comes from a long line of criminals, travels with his roguish uncle to India to find a family treasure–an antique jewel-encrusted tiger stolen from the sultan’s throne hundreds of years ago.

Fifteen Lanes by S. J. Laidlaw (Tundra, 2016)
A tale set in Mumbai’s red light district recounts the friendship between a sex-worker’s 11-year-old daughter who wants to acquire an education to escape her mother’s fate and a Canadian bank CEO’s privileged daughter who is being targeted by cyberbullies.

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master (Albert Whitman, 2012)
In the days leading up to the partition of India in 1947, thirteen-year-old Bilal devises an elaborate scheme to keep his dying father from hearing the news about the country’s division.

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis (Amulet, 2008)
Sold to be the eighth wife of a rich and cruel merchant, Safia, also called Raka, tries to escape her fate by telling stories of Farhad the thief, his companion Nitish the white tiger, and their travels across India to retrieve a famous jewel that will save a kidnapped princess from becoming the bride of a demon king.

Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets by Mahtab Narsimhan (Scholastic, 2016)
Dylan, an aspiring photographer, is spending a month in Mumbai with his friend Rohit Lal and his family, but knowing nothing of Indian culture, he cannot seem to do anything right (do not hit cows!)–and the situation is made worse by the tensions within the Lal family over whether Rohit should be raised in India, which Mr. Lal’s wealthy sister is pushing for.

Karma: A Novel in Verse by Cathy Ostlere (Razorbill, 2011)
In 1984, following her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother’s ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.

Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte, 2004)
Secretly in love with her best friend and business partner Steve, fifteen-year-old Jazz must spend the summer away from him when her family goes to India during that country’s rainy season to help set up a clinic.

Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte, 2009)
In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Ashi, a tomboy at the advanced age of sixteen, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Ashi hates.

96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy (Little, Brown, 2019)
While exploring her grandmother’s past at an ashram in India with her cousin Anandi, seventeen-year-old Raya finds herself and, perhaps, true love in this modern retelling of the legend of Dushyanta and Shakuntala. [Americans in India]

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Little, Brown, 2011)
When a mysterious threat reenters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans.

Saraswati’s Way by Monika Schröder (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010)
Leaving his village in rural India to find a better education, mathematically gifted, twelve-year-old Akash ends up at the New Delhi train station, where he relies on Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, to guide him as he negotiates life on the street, resists the temptations of easy money, and learns whom he can trust.

Ticket to India by N. H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
When twelve-year-old Maya and big sister Zara set off on their own from Delhi to their grandmother’s home of Aminpur, a small town in Northern India, they become separated and Maya decides to continue their quest to find a chest of family treasures that their grandmother’s family left behind when they fled from India to Pakistan during the Great Partition.

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth (Balzer + Bray, 2010)
Eleven-year-old Gopal and his family leave their rural Indian village for life with his uncle in Mumbai, but when they arrive his father goes missing and Gopal ends up locked in a sweatshop from which there is no escape.

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2007)
In India in the 1940s, twelve-year-old Leela’s happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi’s social and political reforms.

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2006)
Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother’s traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim (Sky Pony, 2018)
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time–and a destroyed one can stop it completely, eighteen-year-old mechanic Danny investigates fallen clock towers in British-occupied India and unravels more secrets about his and Colton’s past.

Younguncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh (Viking 2006)
In a small town in northern India, three siblings await their father’s youngest brother, Younguncle, who is said to be somewhat eccentric.

Shiva’s Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2000)
In India, a talented dancer sacrifices friends and family for her art.

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson (Henry Holt, 2010)
A retelling of the Perrault fairy tale set in pre-colonial India, in which two stepsisters receive gifts from a goddess and each walks her own path to find her gift’s purpose, discovering romance along the way.

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman (Putnam’s, 2008)
In India, in 1941, when her father becomes brain-damaged in a non-violent protest march, fifteen-year-old Vidya and her family are forced to move in with her father’s extended family and become accustomed to a totally different way of life.

Island’s End by Padma Venkatraman (Putnam’s, 2011)
A young girl trains to be the new spiritual leader of her remote Andaman Island tribe, while facing increasing threats from the modern world.

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (Nancy Paulsen, 2014)
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens by Gloria Whelan (Simon & Schuster, 2013)
As Rosalind continues to straddle the proper English world of her family and the culture of 1920s India where they live, her support of Gandhi and his followers in opposing British rule grows and she considers trying to carry the rebels’ message to Edward, Prince of Wales, during his visit.

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2000)
When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find the courage to oppose it.

Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
In 1919, independent-minded fifteen-year-old Rosalind lives in India with her English parents, and when they fear she has fallen in with some rebellious types who believe in Indian self-government, she is sent “home” to London, where she has never been before and where her older brother died, to stay with her two aunts.

Child of Spring by F. Zia (Peachtree, 2016)
In India, young Basanta struggles to accept her role as servant to a temperamental rich girl while dreaming of having a beautiful ring of her own.


Abby Spencer Goest to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj (Albert Whitman, 2014)
What thirteen year old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star, in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (Atheneum, 2011)
Eleven-year-old Dini loves movies, and so when she learns that her family is moving to India for two years, her devastation over leaving her best friend in Maryland is tempered by the possibility of meeting her favorite actress, Dolly Singh.

Naming Maya by Uma Krishnaswami (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004)
When Maya accompanies her mother to India to sell her grandfather’s house, she uncovers family history relating to her parents divorce and learns more about herself and her relationship with her mother.

Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2004)
When twelve-year-old Seema moves to Iowa City with her parents and younger sister, she leaves friends and family behind in her native India but gradually begins to feel at home in her new country.


Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak (Eerdmans, 2011)
An orphaned Syrian brown bear cub is adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II and serves for five years as their mischievous mascot in Iran and Italy. Based on a true story.

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis (Pajama Press, 2014)
In 1988 Tehran, teenaged girls Farrin and Sadira are sentenced to death for homosexuality. Farrin prays that her wealthy family will be able to save them before it is too late. Based on a true story.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Algonquin, 2013)
In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher (Atheneum, 2006)
Fourteen-year-old Mitra, of royal Persian lineage, and her five-year-old brother Babak, whose dreams foretell the future, flee for their lives in the company of the magus Melchoir and two other Zoroastrian priests, traveling through Persia as they follow star signs leading to a newly-born king in Bethlehem. Includes historial notes.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher (Atheneum, 1998)
When Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan’s harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories which will save the queen’s life.

Remembrance of the Sun by Kate Gilmore (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
Jill, an American high school student living in Tehran, finds herself falling in love with an Iranian rebel just at the time when the shah’s repressive treatment of his people is making violent revolution inevitable. [Americans in Iran]

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial, 2018)
Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life. [Americans in Iran]

Home is Beyond the Mountains by Celia Barker Lottridge (Groundwood, 2010)
Samira and her brother flee when the Turkish army invades northwestern Persia in 1918, but the director of the orphanage where they end up decides to lead the refugee children on the three-hundred-mile journey back to their homes.

Dawn and Dusk by Alice Mead (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2007)
As thirteen-year-old Azad tries desperately to cling to the life he has known, the political situation in Iran during the war with Iraq finally forces his family to flee their home and seek safety elsewhere.

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Henry Holt, 2017)
In 1982 Iran, twelve-year-old Reza is more interested in music than war, but enlists in obedience to his devout mother and soon finds himself in a prison camp in Iraq. [Iranians in Iraq]

Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres (Amulet, 2006)
In Iran, more than 100 years ago, a young girl with three suitors gets permission from her father and a holy man to weave into her wedding rug a riddle to be solved by her future husband, which will ensure that he has wit to match hers.

Night Letter by Meghan Nuttall Sayres (Nortia Press, 2013)
When nomadic weaver Anahita is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding, her fiancâe and her tribe travel from Iran to Bukhara to rescue her.


It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (Clarion, 2016)
Eleven-year-old Zomorod, originally from Iran, tells her story of growing up Iranian in Southern California during the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis of the late 1970s.



The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley (Charlesbridge, 2008)
During a severe drought in Mesopotamia in 2600 B.C., when their parents can no longer support them, Jomar and his sister Zefa are sent to the city of Ur, where Jomar is apprenticed to a goldsmith and Zefa must try to find a way to keep from becoming a slave. Includes author’s note on the history of the region.

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood, 2010)
Fifteen-year-old Abdul, having lost everyone he loves, journeys from Baghdad to a migrant community in Calais where he sneaks aboard a boat bound for England, not knowing it carries a cargo of heroin, and when the vessel is involved in a skirmish and the pilot killed, it is up to Abdul and three other young stowaways to complete the journey.

Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird (Dutton, 1992)
Her father’s involvement with the Kurdish resistance movement in Iraq forces thirteen-year-old Tara to flee with her family over the border into Iran, where they face an unknown future.

Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2016)
After traveling through the desert, Jayden is finally reunited with Kadesh, but they must flee to Kadesh’s homeland of Sariba when they learn that Horeb is still determined to hold Jayden to their betrothal.

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2014)
Devastated by her betrothal to a violent boy she does not love, Jayden is forced to accept her fate as her ancient Mesopotamian tribe moves to the Summer Lands, where she falls for a mysterious youth from the Southern Lands.

Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Harper, 2017)
Supporting Kadesh’s ascension to the throne after tragedy strikes on what was to have been their wedding day, Jayden finds their circumstances further complicated by the schemes of dark priestess Aliyah and the return of her former betrothed, Horeb.

The Blind Wish by Amber Lough (Random House, 2015)
Zayele and Najwa’s adventure continues as the war between jinnis and humans escalates.

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough (Random House, 2014)
When a princess captures a jinn and makes a wish, she is transported to the fiery world of the jinn, while the jinn must take her place in the royal court of Baghdad.

Seasons of the Sandstorms by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House, 2005)
Guided by a magic rhyme, Jack and Annie travel to ancient Baghdad on a mission to help the Caliph disseminate wisdom to the world.

Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Henry Holt, 2017)
In 1982 Iran, twelve-year-old Reza is more interested in music than war, but enlists in obedience to his devout mother and soon finds himself in a prison camp in Iraq. [Iranians in Iraq]

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Rozines Roy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)
For forty-two days in 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil and his family struggle to survive as Basra, Iraq, is bombed by the United States and its allies.

Dear Blue Sky by Mary Sullivan (Nancy Paulsen, 2012)
Shortly after Cass’s big brother is deployed to fight in Iraq, Cass becomes pen pals with an Iraqi girl who opens up her eyes to the effects of war.


Under the Domim Tree by Gila Almagor (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Chronicles the joys and troubles experienced by a group of teenagers, mostly Holocaust survivors, living at an Israeli youth settlement in 1953.

Broken Bridge by Lynne Reid Banks (Morrow, 1994)
The murder of fourteen-year-old Glen Shelby, soon after his arrival in Israel to visit his father’s family, has a dramatic effect on the lives of his relatives, the other members of their kibbutz, and the Arabs responsible for his death.

One More River by Lynne Reid Banks (Morrow, 1992)
Fourteen-year-old Lesley is upset when her parents abandon their comfortable life in Canada for a kibbutz in Israel prior to the 1967 war.

The Boy From Over There by Tamar Bergman (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)
Avramik, a young Holocaust survivor, has difficulties adjusting to life on a kibbutz in the days before the first Arab-Israeli War.

Samir and Yonatan by Danielle Carmi (Scholastic, 2000)
Samir, a Palestinian boy, is sent for surgery to an Israeli hospital where he has two otherworldly experiences, making friends with an Israeli boy, Yonatan, and traveling with him to Mars where Samir finds peace over his younger brother’s death in the war.

Duel: A Mystery by David Grossman (Bloomsbury, 2004)
In Jerusalem, when elderly Mr. Rosenthal receives a threatening letter accusing him of stealing a painting and challenging him to a duel, twelve-year-old David needs to find who really stole it before someone gets hurt.

Real Time by Pnina Kass (Clarion, 2004)
Sixteen-year-old Tomas Wanninger persuades his mother to let him leave Germany to volunteer at a kibbutz in Israel, where he experiences a violent political attack and finds answers about his own past. [Germans in Israel]

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin (Katherine Tegen, 2017)
Ronit, an Israeli girl, and Jamil, a Palestinian boy, fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered.

Running on Eggs by Anna Levine (Front Street, 1999)
When Karen and Yasmine become friends as well as members of a mixed Arab and Jewish track team in Israel, relatives and friends of both girls disapprove of the relationship.

The Singing Mountain by Sonia Levitin (Simon & Schuster, 1998)
While traveling in Israel for the summer, seventeen-year-old Mitch decides to stay and pursue a life of Jewish orthodoxy, forcing him to make some important decisions about the family and life he is leaving in southern California. [Americans in Israel]

The Garden by Carol Matas (Simon & Schuster, 1997)
After leading a group of Jewish refugees to Israel after World War II, sixteen-year-old Ruth joins the Haganah, the Jewish Army, and helps her people fight to keep the land granted to them by the United Nations.

Masada: The Last Fortress by Gloria D. Miklowitz (Eerdmans, 1998)
As the Roman army marches inexorably across the Judean desert towards the fortress of Masada, Simon and his family and friends prepare, along with the rest of the Jewish Zealots, to fight and never surrender.

Lydia, Queen of Palestine by Uri Orlev (Houghton Mifflin, 1993)
Ten-year-old Lydia describes her childhood escapades in pre-World War II Romania, her struggles to understand her parents’ divorce amid the chaos of the war, and her life on a kibbutz in Palestine. Based on the life of the Israeli poet Arianna Haran.

The Song of the Whales by Uri Orlev (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)
At age eight, Mikha’el knows he is different from other boys, but over the course of three years as he helps his parents care for his elderly grandfather in Jerusalem, Grandpa teaches Mikha’el to use the gift they share of making other people’s dreams sweeter.

The Weight of the Sky by Lisa Ann Sandell (Viking, 2006)
A sixteen-year-old girl travels to Israel to spend the summer on a kibbutz and discovers who she is and what she wants out of life. [Americans in Israel]

Pickled Watermelon by Esty Schachter (Kar-Ben, 2018)
In the summer of 1986, Molly visits her grandparents in mysterious Israel and worries about the language barrier. [Americans in Israel]

Becoming Gershona by Nava Semel (Viking, 1990)
Living in Tel-Aviv in 1958, twelve-year-old Gershona experiences first love, learns a family secret, and crosses the line between childhood and adulthood.

Flying Lessons by Nava Semel (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Living in a village in Israel where her father grows oranges, a motherless girl befriends a sensitive shoemaker from Djerba from whom she hopes to learn how to fly.

The Six-Day Hero by Tammar Stein (Kar-Ben, 2017)
Twelve-year-old Motti discovers that there are many types of heroes as his tiny young nation of Israel fights for survival in the Six-Day War of 1967.

The Dog of Knots by Kathy Walden Kaplan (Eerdmans, 2004)
In Haifa, Israel at the onset of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, nine-year-old Mayim struggles with questions about her future, particularly mandatory service in the Israeli army, but finds comfort in friends, relatives, and a very old, stray dog with no name.

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valérie Zenatti (Bloomsbury, 2008)
Seventeen-year-old Tal Levine of Jerusalem, despondent over the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, puts her hopes for peace in a bottle and asks her brother, a military nurse in the Gaza Strip, to toss it into the sea, leading ultimately to friendship and understanding between her and an “enemy.”


Freefall by Anna Levine (Greenwillow, 2008)
As war between Israel and Lebanon breaks out in 2006 and her compulsory service in the Israeli army draws near, teenaged Aggie considers joining an elite female combat unit. [Israelis in Lebanon]

The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine (Groundwood, 2013)
Faten, a young servant girl, has her life changed when she meets Marwen, a young wealthy man, who drives her to challenge Lebanese societal standards.


What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
In the threatened jungle of the Borderlands between Nepal and India during the 1970s, an orphaned boy discovers his fate as a great elephant driver.

The Cobra King of Kathmandu by Philip Kerr (Orchard, 2007)
Twelve-year-old djinn twins Philippa and John and their friend Dybbuk have further adventures as they travel the world in search of a priceless talisman. [Americans in Nepal]

Sold by Patricia McCormick (Hyperion, 2006)
Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India and that there is no hope of escape.

Dragons of Darkness by Antonia Michaelis (Amulet, 2010)
Two boys from very different backgrounds are thrown together by magic, mayhem, and a common foe as they battle deadly dragons in the wilderness of Nepal.

Peak by Roland Smith (Harcourt, 2007)
A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest. [Americans in Nepal]

Close Encounters of the Third-World Kind by Jennifer J. Stewart (Holiday House, 2004)
Twelve-year-old Annie is reluctant to travel to a village in Nepal for her father’s two-month medical mission, but once there she assists at the clinic, makes friends with a local girl, and has adventures that change her life. [Americans in Nepal]


Broken Moon by Kim Antieau (McElderry, 2007)
When her little brother is kidnapped and taken from Pakistan to race camels in the desert, eighteen-year-old Nadira overcomes her own past abuse and, dressed as a boy and armed with knowledge of the powerful storytelling of the legendary Scheherazade, is determined to find and rescue him.

Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo (Atheneum, 2003)
A fictionalized account of the Pakistani child who escaped from bondage in a carpet factory and went on to help liberate other children like him before being gunned down at the age of thirteen.

Mud City by Deborah Ellis (Douglas & McIntyre, 2003)
Fourteen-year-old Shauzia, an Afghan refugee living in a camp in Pakistan, determines to find a way to fulfill her dreams of seeing the ocean and beginning a new life in France. [Afghans in Pakistan]

An Infidel in Paradise by S. J. Laidlaw (Tundra, 2013)
Set in Pakistan, this is the story of a teen girl–a diplomat’s daughter–living with her mother and siblings in a diplomatic compound. As if getting used to another new country and set of customs and friends isn’t enough, Emma must cope with an increasingly tense political situation that becomes dangerous with alarming speed. Her life and those of her sister and brother depend on her resourcefulness and the unexpected help of an enigmatic Muslim classmate. [Americans in Pakistan]

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master (Albert Whitman, 2012)
In the days leading up to the partition of India in 1947, thirteen-year-old Bilal devises an elaborate scheme to keep his dying father from hearing the news about the country’s division.

Beneath My Mother’s Feet by Amjed Qamar (Atheneum, 2008)
When her father is injured, fourteen-year-old Nazia is pulled away from school, her friends, and her preparations for an arranged marriage, to help her mother clean houses in a wealthy part of Karachi, Pakistan, where she finally rebels against the destiny that is planned for her.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulsen, 2018)
In Pakistan, Amal holds onto her dream of being a teacher even after becoming an indentured servant to pay off her family’s debt to the wealthy and corrupt Khan family.

The Edge by Roland Smith (HMH, 2015)
Fifteen-year-old Peak Marcello is invited to participate in an “International Peace Ascent” in the Hindu Kush, with a team made up of under-eighteen-year-old climbers from around the world–but from the first something seems wrong, so when the group is attacked, and most of the climbers are either killed or kidnapped, Peak finds himself caught up in a struggle to survive, shadowed by the Shen, a mysterious snow leopard. [Americans in Pakistan]

Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Knopf, 1993)
Having relented to the ways of her people in Pakistan and married the rich older man to whom she was pledged against her will, Shabanu is now the victim of his family’s blood feud and the malice of his other wives.

The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008)
An unexpected death brings Shabanu’s daughter, Mumtaz, and nephew, Jameel, both aged fifteen, to the forefront of an attempt to modernize Pakistan, but the teens must both sacrifice their own dreams if they are to meet family and tribal expectations.

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Knopf, 1989)
When eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father’s wishes.

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2005)
During the 2001 Afghan War, the lives of Najmal, a young refugee from Kunduz, Afghanistan, and Nusrat, an American-Muslim teacher who is awaiting her huband’s return from Mazar-i-Sharif, intersect at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.


Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulsen, 2015)
Naila’s vacation to visit relatives in Pakistan turns into a nightmare when she discovers her parents want to force her to marry a man she’s never met.


Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (Tundra, 2005)
Although life for fourteen-year-old Amrith in 1980 Sri Lanka seems rather uneventful and orderly, things change in a hurry when his male cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith finds himself completely enamored with his new visitor.


The Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian (Laurel-Leaf, 2002)
Based on a true story, this tale tells of the struggles a young Armenian man living in Turkey had to go through during the Armenian Holocaust in the early 1900s. [Armenians in Turkey]

Leyla: The Black Tulip by Alev Lytle Crotier (Pleasant Company, 2003)
While trying to help her financially destitute family, twelve-year-old Leyla ends up on a slave ship bound for Istanbul, and then in the beautiful Topkapi Palace, where she discovers that life in the sheltered world of the palace harem follows its own rigid rules and rhythms and offers her unexpected opportunities during Turkey’s brief Tulip Period of the 1720’s.

Against the Storm by Gaye Hiçyılmaz (Little, Brown, 1992)
Twelve-year-old Mehmet’s move from his Turkish village with flowers everywhere to a shanty-town existence in the city of Ankara brings him almost unbearable misery, but his desire to create a life for himself helps him to survive.

The Delphic Choice by Norma Johnston (Four Winds, 1989)
Visiting relatives in Turkey, Meredith becomes involved in efforts to free her uncle, a hostage negotiator for a Quaker peace mission, who is taken hostage by an Islamic terrorist group. [Americans in Turkey]

Without Refuge by Jane Mitchell (Carolrhoda, 2018)
Forced to leave his home in war-torn Syria, thirteen-year-old Ghalib makes an arduous journey with his family to a refugee camp in Turkey. Includes glossary. [Syrians in Turkey]

Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier (Knopf, 2008)
Scholarly eighteen-year-old Paula and her merchant father journey from Transylvania to Istanbul to buy an ancient pagan artifact rumored to be charmed, but others, including a handsome Portuguese pirate and an envoy from the magical Wildwood, want to acquire the item, as well.

Blue Voyage by Diana Renn (Viking, 2015)
Adrenaline junkie Zan finds herself in the crosshairs of an antiquities smuggling ring while on vacation with her mother. She must help them find the ancient treasure they seek in order to keep her family safe! [Americans in Turkey]

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath (Delacorte, 2014)
Inspired by a true story, this relates the tale of siblings Sosi, Shahen, and Mariam who survive the Armenian genocide of 1915 by escaping from Turkey alone over the mountains. [Armenians in Turkey]

Parade of Shadows by Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins, 2007)
In 1907, sixteen-year-old Julia Hamilton, happy to accompany her diplomat father on a tour of the Ottoman-controlled cities of Istambul, Damascus, Palmyra, and Aleppo, soon finds the journey increasingly hazardous as she begins to uncover her father’s true mission and the secret motivations of the other travelers in their group.

Bright we Burn by Kiersten White (2018)
To build the country she wants, Lada, the brutal ruler of Wallachia, must destroy everything that came before, including her relationships with brother Radu and former love Mehmed, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. [Istanbul, Turkey]

Now I Rise by Kiersten White (Delacorte, 2017)
Lada Dracul seeks her younger brother Radu’s help in securing the Wallachian throne, but their father, Sultan Mehmed, has sent him to sabotage Constantinople.


Categories: Countries

Draft Diversity

March 8, 2018 Leave a comment


Book Awards & Annual Lists

  • Amelia Bloomer Book List – Selected by a committee of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Roundtable. A lite of well-written and well-illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers (ages birth through 18).”
  • Arab American Book Awards (Children’s/Young Adult category, winner and honorable mentions): Run by the Arab American National Museum’s Library & Resources Center. Created to honor books written by and about Arab Americans. Books published in the calendar year, announced in the summer following the award year. 2017 award winners.
  • American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award – AILA is an affiliate of ALA. The award is presented every two years to recognize the most outstanding contributions to children’s literature by and about American Indians. Winner and honor books in three categories: Picture Book, Middle School, and Young Adult.
  • Américas Award – Selected by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs. Honors quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. Up to two awards (for primary and secondary reading levels) are given in recognition of U.S. published works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature – Selected by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. Three categories of youth literature are awarded, one winner and one honor book in each: Young Adult, Children’s Literature, and Picture Book.
  • Carter G. Woodson Book Awards – Presented presented to exemplary books written for children and young people” by the National Council for the Social Studies. Eacy year winners and honor books are selected in three categories: Elementary, Middle, and Secondary.
  • Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award – Presented by CALA, and affiliate of ALA, “to promote awareness of the best books of Chinese topics or literature written by authors of Chinese descent, in English or Chinese language, that are originally published in North America.”
  • Children’s Africana Book Awards – Selected by Africa Access, an organization to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their K-12 collections on Africa, in collaboration with in collaboration with the Outreach council of the African Studies Association.
  • Coretta Scott King Award – Given by ALA “to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.” Winner and honor books are presented in two categories: Author, and Illustrator.
  • Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award – Sponsored by The Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilites in collaboration with Special Needs Project. Given in even years “to recognize effective, enlightened portrayals of individuals with developmental disabilities in children’s books.”
  • James Cook Book Award – Given by the Ohio Library Council for a teen book that promotes cultural, ethnic, or social diversity. Winner and honor books chosen in odd years.
  • Jane Addams Book Award – Chosen by The Jane Addams Peace Association. to recognize ” recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.” Winners and honor books are selected in two categories: Books for Younger Children and Books for Older Children.
  • John Steptoe New Talent Award – “Occasionally given [ALA] for young authors or illustrators who demonstrate outstanding promise at the beginning of their careers.”
  • Lambda Literary Awards – Lambda Literary, an organization advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) literature, selects books in many adult categories, but includes one youth literature category, LGBT Children’s/Young Adult.
  • Middle East Book Award – Given by Middle East Outreach Council, a national network of educators dedicated to disseminating apolitical and nonpartisan information, resources and activities furthering understanding about the Middle East, recognizing quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures. Winners and honorable mention titles selected in three categories: Picture Book, Youth Literature, and Youth Nonfiction.
  • Notable Books for a Global Society – Selected by a committee of the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Literacy Association. 25 outstanding trade books for enhancing student understanding of people and cultures throughout the world are chosen. To be eligible for NBGS annual list, a book must have been published in the United States the previous year.
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books – Selected by a Book Review Committee appointed by National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). Books, primarily for children in grades K-8, that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences…”
  • Outstanding International Books List – International books (published or distributed in the US, but originating in a country otehr than the US) selected by the United States Board on Books for Young People, and published each year in the February issue of School Library Journal and as a bookmark.
  • Pura Belpre Award – Co-sponsored by ALA divisions, REFORMA and ALSC. Winner and honor books are presented in two categories: Author, and Illustrator.
  • The Rainbow Project Book List – Selected by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA. A list of recommended books dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, trangendered and questioning issues and situations for children up to age 18.
  • Schneider Family Book Award – Selected by an ALA Commitee to honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Winners selected in three categories: Teen Book, Middle School Book, Young Children’s Book. Bibliography.
  • Skipping Stones Honors List – Skipping Stones magazine selects an annual list of books which “promote and understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and encourage a deeper understandig of the world’s diversity.
  • South Asia Book Award – The yearly book award presented by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium. Winners and honor books in two categories: K-3 and 4-7.
  • Stonewall Book Award – Sponsored by ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. Awards presented for children and teens: Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, plus Stonewall Honor Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award – Presented annually by the Association of Jewish Libraries to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Gold and silver medals, and notable books are named in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers.
  • Tomás Rivera Book Award – Developed by the Texas State University College of Education to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. Winners in two categories: Works for Younger Readers and Works for Older Readers.
  • Walter Awards – Selected by a judging committee from We Need Diverse Books. Awards and honor books are named in two categories: Teen and Young Readers.


Best of 2017:
Want Diversity, Hope and Healing? Open a Book by Cindy Long. NEA Today, December 8, 2017.


On sensitivity readers:

Blogs about diversity and children’s books:

Resource Sites



Twitter Hashtags

Want to keep up? These podcasts talk about diversity issues:

Code Switch – NPR: “Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get…stuck? Code Switch can help. We’re all journalists of color, and this isn’t just the work we do. It’s the lives we lead. Sometimes, we’ll make you laugh. Other times, you’ll get uncomfortable. But we’ll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic.”
Latino USA – NPR: Latino news and cultural weekly radio program.
Nancy – NPR: “BFFs Kathy Tu and Tobin Low are super queer, super fun and ready to take over your podcast feed. Join them for provocative stories and frank conversations about the LGBTQ experience today.”
Otherhood – PRI:
About Race – Panoply: “Co-discussants Anna Holmes, Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby host a lively multiracial, interracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America.”
Mashable list of Diversity Podcasts.
PlayerFM list of Diversity Podcasts.


Categories: Uncategorized