It is so important to make sure that every ethnicity and culture, not just every race, is represented in your library. As we know, there are many ethnicities and cultures that make up just one race! Therefore, when we talk about children’s books with Asian representation, we need to make sure that we are representing as many Asian ethnicities as possible.

To help you add to your growing collection of Colorful Pages, I have compiled a list of children’s books with Asian representation from various ethnicities and cultures. In addition, these books are also written by Asian authors! That means the stories you are hearing are #ownvoices. And, by checking out these books, you are not only supporting your students in gaining Colorful Pages, but you are also supporting authors of color.

5 Children's Books with Asian Representation by Asian Authors -- Colorful Pages

Check out these five children’s books with Asian representation by Asian authors:

1. Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.
: Representation

Type of Book: Middle Grade Chapter Book, Grades 3 and up

This was, by far, one of my favorite books when I was growing up! I loved this book so much that I actually gifted it to my mom as a present because I wanted her to enjoy it too.

Lisa Yee writes about a girl named Millicent Min. Millicent is an eleven-year-old girl genius. She has a hard time making friends because she feels like she can’t fit in. However, during the summer, she finally gets the chance to make a friend while also finding out more about who she is.

2. Bee-bim Bop!, by Linda Sue Park

Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue ParkThe Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Type of Book: Picture Book

Bee-bim Bop! is a picture book about a family making a traditional Korean dish of rice topped and mixed with meat and vegetables. Linda Sue Park uses rhymes to tell a story and show the bi bim bop recipe.

I love these vibrant illustrations by Ho Baek Lee that show the joy of this Korean American family. This book would be great for learning about rhyming, writing about how to do something, or just a fun read aloud!

3. Festival of Colors, by Surishtha Sehgal & Kabir Sehgal

Festival of Colors by Sehgal

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Type of Book: Picture Book

This book is truly about a festival of colors! The illustrations by Vashti Harrison are SO colorful and, coupled with the words of Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal, create a fantastic story. Festival of Colors is about two children getting ready for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. The Sehgals’ book is a great exploration of an important cultural component.

4. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, by Susan Tan

Cilla Lee-Jenkins by Susan TanThe Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Between Representation & Exploration

Type of Book: Middle Grade Book, Early Chapter Book

I am still so excited about this book! This is the first middle grade book that I have read about an explicitly biracial character. (I am also biased because the protagonist and I share part of her last name)

Susan Tan authored this book, which is about Cilla Lee-Jenkins, a biracial girl who identifies as Chinese and Caucasian. Cilla writes to the audience about how she wants to become a best-selling author before her baby sister is born. She decides to write about her life, which includes exploring her biracial identity.

Cilla is humorous and smart, which makes her the perfect protagonist for middle grade students. The best part is that Susan Tan has authored other Cilla Lee-Jenkins books for us to enjoy!

5. A Lion’s Mane, by Navjot Kaur

A Lion's Mane, Navjot KaurThe Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: between Exploration & Conversation

Type of Book: Picture Book

I actually found this book at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, WA. It is one of the first books I have read with positive Sikh representations.

Navjot Kaur does a beautiful job of writing about an important part of the Sikh culture, the dastaar. Through a journey around the world, he shows the audience the meaning of the dastaar, the turban of the Sikhs, and empowers children to be proud of their culture. I loved this book and cannot wait to officially add it to my own classroom read alouds!

**BONUS AUTHOR/BOOKS: Emila Yusof

I tried my best to find books that represent Malaysian characters that were by Malaysian authors. However, I could not find any that were directly available by online US publishers, which meant that I could not fully explore any books.

Although, while I was looking, I did find Emila Yusof, whose books look AMAZING! Yusof has written and illustrated many books that feature Malaysian characters. If you get the chance, try to check out her books and see if they get restocked on Amazon or other book distributors soon! I know I will be trying to find a copy of some of her books for myself.

Which book are you going to check out first? Are there any other Asian characters or authors you love?

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