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Throughout May, community organizations, and cultural institutions across New York City and around the country have been celebrating the cultures, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Since 1992, when the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (opens PDF) and designated the entire month of May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month,” AAPI Heritage Month has provided City teachers, students, and school communities with excellent opportunities to explore the rich history and cultures of New Yorkers whose familial, ethnic, and ancestral roots come from countries in Asia and the Pacific Ocean. And in turn, these stories and histories have allowed us to reexamine and renew our own understanding of American history in ways that enable each of us to identify what we all have in common with each other both as Americans and as New Yorkers.

In commemoration of AAPI Heritage Month, many City schools have organized events, activities, lessons, and even performances throughout the month to highlight the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures in the U.S. It is in this spirit that we put together the following list of AAPI heritage-related books for students in grades 3-K through 12. Take a look through our list below—you might just discover a favorite new book—and let us know your thoughts!

Mother and two children lying down on a bed together looking at a tablet computer placed between the three of them

Booklists for Young Readers

Many of the books below are available on the DOE’s Asian American/Pacific Islanders eBook collection on Sora, as well as within the physical and/or digital collections of the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn Public Libraries. “Check out” these books throughout May and the rest of the year, and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Early Elementary School (Grades 3-K through 2)

  • The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung; art by Julie Kwon
  • Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around the World by Nancy Roe Pimm; art by Alexandra Bye
  • Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale; art by Mika Song
  • I Am Golden by Eva Chen; art by Sophie Diao
  • It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear; art by Julie Morstad
  • Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall; art by Yas Imamura
  • Maryam’s Magic: The Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani by Megan Reid; art by Aaliya Jaleel
  • My First Day by Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huýnh Kim Liên
  • The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
  • Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Siung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson; art by Rebecca Huang
  • Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh
  • Song of the Old City by Anna Pellicioli; art by Merve Atilgan
  • Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn; art by Victo Ngai

Cover for Kyo Maclear's book, "It Began With a Page."

Elementary School (Grades 3–5)

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
  • Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss; art by Yuko Shimizu
  • Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
  • Drawn Together by Minh Lê; art by Dan Santat
  • Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi; art by Yutaka Houlette
  • The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • Lia Park and the Missing Jewel by Jenna Yoon
  • Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
  • Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar; art by Uma Krishnaswamy
  • Marshmallow & Jordan by Alina Chau
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker-Harvey; art by Dow Phumiruk
  • A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Cover for the book, "Marshmallow & Jordan" by Alina Chau

Middle School (Grades 6–8)

  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
  • The Bamboo Sword by Margi Preus
  • The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy
  • Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
  • It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
  • The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor
  • Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte; art by Ann Xu
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
  • Troublemaker by John Cho and Sarah Suk
  • The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao
  • We Belong by Cookie Hiponia
  • When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Cover for Shing Yin Khor's book, "The Legend of Auntie Po"

High School (Grades 9–12)

  • After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
  • Almost American Girl by Robin Ha
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
  • Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lại
  • Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Özge Samancı
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
  • From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo
  • Himawari House by Harmony Becker
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
  • This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
  • We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

Cover for Adib Khorram's book, "Darius the Great is Not Okay"


We hope you enjoy these titles, resources, and events as you commemorate AAPI heritage throughout May and beyond! For more AAPI Heritage Month coverage, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to The Morning Bell below.

On behalf of the NYC Department of Education, we wish all of our families a wonderful remainder of AAPI Heritage Month!

Banner photo by Yaroslav Shuraev. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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