Are you on the hunt for picture books for Asian Heritage Month? Did you know that the Government of Canada has declared the month of May to be Asian Heritage month? This makes it the perfect time to highlight some amazing picture books that are written by Asian authors or illustrated by Asian artists.
Now don’t get me wrong, May should NOT be the first time that your students see an Asian character in a read aloud. But rather you might want to read even more texts highlighting Asian voices during this time.
1) Laxmi’s Mooch
In this book, Laxmi discovers that she has a mooch which is Hindi for mustache. At first, she is devastated. After all, she doesn’t want to be different from her peers. But, after some encouragement from her parents, Laxmi discovers just how fun a mooch can be and that maybe she isn’t so different after all.
This is a really precious story and would be well received in K – 5 classrooms.
Here is an awesome online read aloud done by the author!
2) My Footprints by Bao Phi
My Footprints by Bao Phi is a beautifully lyrical story. Thuy wants to become the biggest and strongest and scariest monster “so that if the kids at school make fun of me for having two moms, or tell me to go back to where I come from, or call me names, or bother me because I’m a girl, I can make them stop.”
One of my favourite parts of this book is that it includes a pronunciation guide on the first page! This is such a helpful tool for teachers! It is also FILLED with beautiful figurative language and a ton of author’s craft.
This book is awesome for my Upper Elementary friends.
3) Cora Cooks Pancit
Cora Cooks Pancit is a lovely book written by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valiant.
It is the story of a young girl who longs to do the “grown up” jobs in the kitchen rather than only licking spoons. One day, when her siblings are all out of the house, her chance arrives!
Students will be able to make a ton of connections to this story while learning a little bit about Filipino culture. You could even use this story as a jumping off point to have kids talk about their own cultures and the traditional foods that they enjoy!
4) Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho
This is actually one of my top 10 picture books ever!
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners is a lyrical book filled with beautiful figurative language. It tells a story about learning to love and appreciate Asian shaped eyes. With lines like this, it is the perfect mentor text for upper elementary reading classes!
“They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.”
5) Lift by Minh Le
This book is SO MUCH FUN! Upper elementary kiddos love the comic like illustrations. There is VERY minimal text and almost the entire story is told through the pictures. This makes it perfect for our English Language Learners and struggling readers.
Lift is a book about a young girl, Iris, who loves to push elevator buttons. But one day, she has to share with a new sibling! She is very upset until a magical elevator button allows her to travel to amazing places. Iris learns that there is power in sharing experiences with the people that we love. This powerful theme makes it an amazing mentor text for upper elementary reading classrooms.
There you have it, my top 5 picture books for Asian Heritage Month. I would love to hear about your favourite books that celebrate Asian voices. Post a picture on instagram and tag me.
PS – Are you looking for awesome read alouds for Black History Month? Check out THIS post!