Poetry: Asian Pacific American Heritage

These collections offer a range of poems to enjoy, from haiku to poems about dragon boat races. These poems may also offer helpful models for poetry-writing lessons.

A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems

Age Level: 12-14

Wong writes poems of realization and identity. Whether the words are about customs or careers, they provide a sense of who the author has become because of her pride in her blood-lines.

Cool Melons--Turn to Frogs!

Age Level: 3-6

Born in 1763 on a farm in central Japan, Issa began writing Haiku as a young child. Matthew Gollub has integrated the story of Issa's life and selections of his best-known work.

Good Luck Gold and Other Poems

Age Level: 6-9

Easy-to-understand poems explore what it's like to grow up Asian in America. Readers will see themselves in the everyday activities of the poet who dispels typical notions of how Asians behave and how they excel. Perhaps, too, readers will realize the hurt that words can cause in several sophisticated and quite personal poems.

Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions

Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 6-9

Original poems combine with stunning illustrations reminiscent of folk art, to explore superstitions and superstitious beliefs from black cats to knocking on wood — and lots more. An author's note with a bit of information about superstitions concludes this engaging book.

My Chinatown

By: Kam Mak
Age Level: 6-9

It's a New Year in Chinatown, but one little boy from Hong Kong wonders, "How can it ever be a good year thousands of miles from home?" As he moves through the seasons, however, New York finally begins to feel like home. Told in verse, these poems capture the challenges of adapting to a new life from a child's point of view. Vivid paintings with a photograph-like quality bring the poems to life.

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Illustrated by: Susan Kathleen Hartung
Age Level: 6-9

This richly illustrated collection of haiku poems is a counting book as well as an introduction to Japanese gardens and to a poetic form. From one leaf chased by a little girl to 10 stone lanterns, this garden can be enjoyed on several levels.

The Song of Mu Lan

Age Level: 6-9

Jeanne M. Lee presents the ancient Chinese folk poem that tells the legend of Mu Lan. Dressed as a young man, Mu Lan goes to battle in her father's place and becomes a revered warrior even as those around her don't know her true identity. Beautifully detailed illustrations accompany the poem, as does a brief author's note. Bilingual English-Chinese.