May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Here’s a list of recent and upcoming books that highlight Asian creators and their stories.
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
By Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264496 | Tundra Books
Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way. When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try. . . . Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is – and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.
It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
48 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918593 | Tundra Books
Gyo Fujikawa’s iconic children’s books are beloved all over the world. Now it’s time for Gyo’s story to be told – a story of artistic talent that refused to be constrained by rules or expectations. Growing up quiet and lonely at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her teachers and family believed in her and sent her to art school and later Japan, where her talent flourished. While Gyo’s career grew and led her to work for Walt Disney Studios, World War II began, and with it, her family’s internment. But Gyo never stopped fighting – for herself, her vision, her family and her readers – and later wrote and illustrated the first children’s book to feature children of different races interacting together.
Kumo: The Bashful Cloud
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
64 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267282 | Tundra Books
Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties – drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter – meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.
Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Tundra Books
In the city of Tainan, there lives a very special family – special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning and discovering her own talent – a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her own path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her own daughter, her own little dumpling. Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.
The Care and Keeping of Grandmas
By Jennifer Mook-Sang
Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271340 | Tundra Books
It can be discombobulating for all involved when a grandma moves in permanently. Fortunately, our narrator has gone through it and has LOTS of tips on how to make your grandma feel at home. In a story filled with humor, confusion and moments of sweetness, Jennifer Mook-Sang introduces us to a delightful family dynamic and a grandma who doesn’t really need the help settling in but appreciates it anyway. As Grandma goes about her days, her well-meaning granddaughter sees her caring for her plants, and makes sure that Grandma is getting the proper care too.
Double O Stephen and the Ghostly Realm
By Angela Ahn
288 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268272 | Tundra Books
Stephen loves pirates. What he doesn’t love is his name: Stephen Oh-O’Driscoll. He believes when his Korean mother and Irish father gave him this name, that it was just one cruel setup for being teased. Giving things the proper name is important, which is why Stephen thinks that it’s time to update the definition of “pirate.” They’ve got a bad rep, and maybe they deserve some of it, but Stephen still likes a few pirate traditions, like bandannas and eyepatches – he’s just not that into stealing things from people. He has the perfect new word: piventurate. A sailor who passionately seeks adventure. That’s what he wants to be. When he gets suspended from school for doing proper piventurate-in-training things (using sticks to practice sword fighting), his mother doesn’t let him sit around doing nothing, instead she takes him to a museum. At the museum everything changes. Stephen finds himself in a strange new place, face-to-face with a real pirate. A pirate ghost. Captain Sapperton needs Stephen’s help to cross to the other side, and his former ghost crew are intent on making sure Stephen follows through, whatever it takes. Stephen is about to discover the true meaning of piventurate, and much to his surprise, his adventure will not only take him farther into the ghostly realm, but also closer to home, where long-held family secrets reveal surprising ties to the spirit world.
The Secret Diary of Mona Hasan
By Salma Hussain
296 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735271517 | Tundra Books
Mona Hasan is a young Muslim girl growing up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, when the first Gulf War breaks out in 1991. The war isn’t what she expects – “We didn’t even get any days off school! Just my luck!” – especially when the ground offensive is over so quickly and her family peels the masking tape off their windows. Her parents, however, fear there is no peace in the region, and it sparks a major change in their lives. Over the course of one year, Mona falls in love, speaks up to protect her younger sister, loses her best friend to the new girl at school, has summer adventures with her cousins in Pakistan, immigrates to Canada, and pursues her ambition to be a feminist and a poet.
By Xiran Jay Zhao
416 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735269958 | Tundra Books
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected – she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead. To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way – and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Wrong Side of the Court
By H. N. Khan
312 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735270893 | Tundra Books
Fifteen-year-old Fawad Chaudhry loves two things: basketball and his mother’s potato and ground-beef stuffed parathas. Both are round and both help him forget about things like his father, who died two years ago, his mother’s desire to arrange a marriage to his first cousin, Nusrat, back home in Pakistan, and the tiny apartment in Regent Park he shares with his mom and sister. Not to mention his estranged best friend Yousuf, who’s coping with the shooting death of his older brother. But Fawad has plans: like, asking out Ashley, even though she lives on the other, wealthier side of the tracks, and saving his friend Arif from being beaten into a pulp for being the school flirt, and making the school basketball team and dreaming of being the world’s first Pakistani to be drafted into the NBA. All he has to do now is convince his mother to let him try out for the basketball team. And let him date girls from his school. Not to mention somehow get Omar, the neighborhood bully, to leave him alone.
Dim Sum Palace
By X. Fang
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774881989 | Tundra Books
Liddy is so excited about going to the Dim Sum Palace tomorrow with her family that she can’t sleep. So when a delicious smell wafts into her room, she hops out of bed, opens her door and steps into . . . an actual palace of dim sum! There are dumplings, baos, buns and more delicious treats than one girl can possibly eat. Liddy just has to take a bite, but she slips and falls . . . into a bowl of dumpling filling. The chefs are so busy rolling, folding and pinching dough that they don’t notice they’ve prepared a most unusual dumpling for the Empress — a Liddy dumpling! Worst of all, she looks good enough to eat . . .
Of Light and Shadow
By Tanaz Bhathena
448 Pages | Age 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271432 | Penguin Teen Canada
When they don’t give us our birthright, we steal it. Roshan Chaya is out for justice. Abandoned by her parents at birth and adopted by the kingdom of Jwala’s most notorious bandit before his brutal murder, she is now leader of the Shadow Clan, a gang of farmers-turned-bandits impoverished by the provincial governor’s atrocities and corruption. Roshan’s goal: to avenge her adoptive father and earn back rights and dignity for her people. Prince Navin has always felt like an outcast. Second in line for the throne, he has never been close to his grandmother, Queen Bhairavi of Jwala. When a night out drinking with friends leads to his capture by the infamous Shadow Clan, Navin schemes to befriend Roshan and use her as a means to escape. His ploy, however, brings Navin closer to the corruption and poverty at the heart of Roshan’s province, raising questions about its governor and Navin’s own family. To further complicate things, the closer Roshan and Navin get, the harder it becomes to fight their growing attraction. But how can they trust each other when the world as they know it starts to fall apart? Set in a magical world inspired by the badlands of 17th century India, this standalone epic fantasy novel by Tanaz Bhathena is packed with political tensions, dangerous schemes, and swoon-worthy romance that asks the age old question: can love conquer all?
By Jackie Khalilieh
336 Pages | Age 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774882139 | Tundra Books
Fifteen-year-old Jessie, a quirky loner obsessed with the nineties, is diagnosed as autistic just weeks before starting high school. Determined to make a fresh start and keep her diagnosis a secret, Jessie creates a list of goals that range from acquiring two distinct eyebrows to getting a magical first kiss and landing a spot in the school play. Within the halls of Holy Trinity High, she finds a world where things are no longer black and white and quickly learns that living in color is much more fun. But Jessie gets more than she bargained for when two very different boys steal her heart, forcing her to go off-script.