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As Seen on CTV Your Morning: Asian Heritage Month Kids’ Reading List

May is Asian Heritage Month, and we have a wealth of Asian-Canadian authors and illustrators creating great books for children. Here are ten new kids’ titles from Asian-Canadian creators to check out!

Watch the segment here.

Picture Books, ages 3-7

TWELVE IN A RACE (Plum Leaf) introduces the history of the Chinese zodiac with gorgeous paintings and lively, rhyming text, a perfect gift for baby showers and very young children.

FRIENDS ARE FRIENDS, FOREVER (Henry Holt) explores how cultural traditions can be shared with friends. Dandan is sad to leave China and her best friend, with whom she loves celebrating the Lunar New Year. But then she meets Christina, and her interest in Dandan’s traditions makes Dandan feel better about her new home. A lovely story about friendship that includes instructions for a Lunar New Year craft in the back.

A DAY FOR SANDCASTLES (Candlewick) chronicles the highs and lows of a day at the beach. Illustrator Qin Leng’s delicate line-work and characterization shines in this wordless picture book.

WHEN I LISTEN TO SILENCE (Groundwood) is a whimsical book about how the imagination can soar when we are silent. Carmen Mok creates gorgeous dreamscapes, each spread worthy of framing.

MIDDLE GRADE, ages 9-12

THE SECRET DIARY OF MONA HASAN (Tundra) is a funny, sparkling debut novel written in the form of a diary. Mona is a Muslim tween who immigrates from Dubai to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in the early 1990s. Mona’s voice is funny and endearing, and her enthusiastic chronicling is guaranteed to charm readers.

Zachary is the only Asian kid in a predominantly white community and is unfamiliar with his Chinese heritage, so he is shocked to discover that his destiny is to help the spirit of the First Emperor of China close the portal to the Chinese underworld. ZACHARY YING AND THE DRAGON EMPEROR (Simon and Schuster) is the start to an epic series. As in their debut YA novel IRON WIDOW, Xiran demonstrates an impressive ability to blend genres, history, and humour.

TEEN

SWIMMING IN THE MONSOON SEA (PenguinTeen) is a dreamy, sensitive coming-of-age story about a gay teen in 1980s Sri Lanka from award-winning author Shyam Selvadurai. Lush prose and an endearing narrator give this a timeless feel.

THE THROWAWAY DAUGHTER (Penguin Teen) is a story of a Chinese teen adopted by Canadian parents who decides to travel back to China to discover her roots and the truth of what happened to her family. A moving, personal snapshot of a time in history.

A MAGIC STEEPED IN POISON (Macmillan) is a debut fantasy about a young woman who competes in a magical tea-making competition in order to win a favour from the princess, which could save her sister’s life. Sumptuous detail and rich world-building make this a stand-out read for teens.

THE RED PALACE (Feiwel and Friends) is a historical murder mystery set in a Korean palace in the late 1700s, loosely based on the historical figure of Korean Crown Prince Jangheon. With fascinating source material and very high stakes, fans of courtly drama and politics will enjoy this one.

Happy reading!

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