May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Celebrate the stories of the Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities that have shaped the United States with the Alachua County Library District.
AANHPI Heritage Month started in 1978 when congress established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In 1992, the observance was expanded to include the entire month of May. May was chosen to mark the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States, and to memorialize the Chinese workers who completed the transcontinental railroad in May of 1869.
According to the 2020 census, an estimated 24 million Americans identify as Asian and 1.6 million identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Over the past two decades, Asian Americans have seen the fastest population growth of any American racial or ethnic group, increasing 81 percent.
These chapter books are perfect for young readers who want to celebrate AANHPI Heritage day and discover more about diverse communities of Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian Americans.
This story tells the tale of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable.
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?
Eleven-year-old Lam escapes from Vietnam with Dee Dee during the Vietnamese Boat People Exodus in 1979, when people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fled their homelands for safety. For a refugee, the trip is a long and perilous one, filled with dangerous encounters with pirates and greedy sailors, a lack of food and water, and even the stench of a dead body on board. When they finally arrive at a refugee camp, Lam befriends Dao, a girl her age who becomes like a sister--a welcome glimmer of happiness after a terrifying journey. Written in verse, this is a heartfelt story that is sure to build empathy and compassion for refugees around the world escaping oppression.
A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.
As the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation at all costs, especially when someone teases her for being Indian. When a girl Lekha’s age moves in across the street, Lekha is excited to hear that her name is Avantika and she’s Desi, too! Finally, there will be someone else around who gets it. But as soon as Avantika speaks, Lekha realizes she has an accent. She’s new to this country, and not at all like Lekha. To Lekha’s surprise, Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha about having two separate lives or about the bullying at school. Avantika doesn’t take the bullying quietly. And she proudly displays her culture no matter where she is: at home or at school. When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.
Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.
Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish-brown hair and she was the “Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly their cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador”. She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to make their traditional kimbap dish. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!
When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her Halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal - return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health - Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem. With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice and the courage to face a tiger.
Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win. Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge. With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice?
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal. The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen? Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. This story brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block...for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name - Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even puka shell necklaces, pool parties, and flying fish can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don't know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance.
Kaia and her family live near the beach in California, where the fun of moviemaking is all around them. Kaia loves playing with makeup and creating special effects, turning her friends into merfolk and other magical creatures. This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they're working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales that her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather, tells. Tatang lives with her family and is like the sparkle of her special-effects makeup. When Tatang decides that it is time to return to his homeland in the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go.
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she's doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her―on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn't even know why. If Sab's going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she'll have to overcome her fears―of her sister's anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom―and figure out the cause of their rift. So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family's past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won't speak to their father. But Sab's adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult―and dangerous―than she ever anticipated. Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!
When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime. In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider. If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home...and who will Waka be when she finds it?
World War II has ended, but while America has won the war, twelve-year-old Hanako feels lost. To her, the world, and her world, seems irrevocably broken. America, the only home she's ever known, imprisoned then rejected her and her family - and thousands of other innocent Americans - because of their Japanese heritage, because Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japan, the country they've been forced to move to, the country they hope will be the family's saving grace, where they were supposed to start new and better lives, is in shambles because America dropped bombs of their own--one on Hiroshima unlike any other in history. And Hanako's grandparents live in a small village just outside the ravaged city. Hanako feels she could crack under the pressure, but just because something is broken doesn't mean it can't be fixed. Cracks can make room for gold, her grandfather explains when he tells her about the tradition of kintsukuroi--fixing broken objects with gold lacquer, making them stronger and more beautiful than ever. As she struggles to adjust to find her place in a new world, Hanako will find that the gold can come in many forms, and family may be hers.
Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however―she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?
Henry Khoo's family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. And he definitely can't take a journey halfway around the world all by himself! But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is canceled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he's on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure ever! Here's hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever.
Calvin Coconut lives near the beach in Kailua, Hawaii, with his mom and his little sister. All his friends live there, too. Mom says: "You're the man of the house, Cal." Which means: Be responsible. Calvin tries, but fun—and trouble—follows him wherever he goes, even in the classroom, also known as Mr. Purdy's Fourth-Grade Boot Camp. And how can he be the man of the house after teenage Stella-from-Texas arrives to be the live-in babysitter and steps all over Calvin's turf?
Ghostly warriors, angry gods, and monstrous tyrants? That's just the start of this collection of folklore from the Pacific, retold in comics! The fourth volume of the “Cautionary Fables and Fairytales” graphic novel series is a thrilling, funny, and totally new take on stories spanning the entirety of the region, with loads of lesser known myths and legends from the Philippines, New Zealand, Hawaii, and beyond. Featuring the work of Tintin Pantoja, Paolo Chikiamco, Rob Cham, Tokerau Wilson, and more!
Alexis, a 12-year-old native Hawaiian, is terrified of the ocean and the creatures that live there because of an encounter she had early in her life with a moray eel. Her mother, a civilian contractor for the Navy, likes to give Alexis elaborate puzzles to solve when she's away on assignments. One puzzle gets her working for her grumpy neighbor, who everyone calls Uncle Tanaka, helping him gather marine samples. She has to use all her problem-solving abilities and overcome her fear of the ocean when Uncle Tanaka is suddenly in distress.