Bias and Racism Against the AAPI Community: Books for Young People

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement

These books focus on the bias and prejudice, often leading to violence, that has targeted Asian immigrants and the Asian American Pacific Islander community. These books can support discussion during a time when anti-AAPI violence is on the rise in communities around the country.

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American Born Chinese

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Language: English

Three storylines — contemporary and mythic — intersect in this tale of a boy who is not comfortable with his culture or himself. This fresh, sometimes surprising, revealing novel is told in image and text. This graphic novel was the first of its format to win the Printz Award for best work of Young Adult Literature.

Amina's Voice

By: Hena Khan
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Now that Amina is in middle school, everything feels different. 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. Amina’s Voice 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.

Ask Me No Questions

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Nadira's family has lived a law-abiding (but undocumented) existence since arriving in the U.S. from Bangladesh years ago. During a post-9/11 crackdown, her father is discovered and the possibility of deportation hangs heavy over their lives.

Coolies

By: Yin
Illustrated by: Chris K. Soentpiet
Age Level: 6-9

In the mid-1800s, two brothers come from China to America to help build the Central Pacific railroad, enduring great hardship, danger, and discrimination. Nevertheless, the brothers take great pride in their labors, always remembering that no matter how they are treated, "it is our hands that helped build the railroad." Author Yin offers a gripping portrayal of the Chinese laborers, brought to life with beautiful paintings from Chris Soentpiet.

Finding Junie Kim

Finding Junie Kim
By: Ellen Oh
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out. Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents, learning about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds, and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime.

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement
By: Paula Yoo

America in 1982: Japanese car companies are on the rise and believed to be putting U.S. autoworkers out of their jobs. Anti–Asian American sentiment simmers, especially in Detroit. A bar fight turns fatal, leaving a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, beaten to death at the hands of two white men, autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz. Paula Yoo has crafted a searing examination of the killing and the trial and verdicts that followed.

Front Desk

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Language: English

Mia Tang has a secret. Actually, a lot of secrets. She doesn't live in a house like her friends. She doesn't have a dog. And her parents are hiding an even bigger secret, one that could get them all in trouble. 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? Winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Children's Literature.

Prairie Lotus

Prairie Lotus
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop, and making at least one friend. Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America’s heartland, in 1880. Hanna’s adjustment to her new surroundings, which primarily means negotiating the townspeople’s almost unanimous prejudice against Asians, is at the heart of the story.

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story

By: Paula Woo
Illustrated by: Lin Wang
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English

Anna May Wong grew up in San Francisco in the 1920s, working diligently in her family's laundromat but secretly daydreaming of becoming a movie star. When she set out to realize her dream, she soon discovered the lack of opportunity in Hollywood for Asian American actors. After traveling in Europe and China, Anna May ultimately decided to portray only roles she felt presented a positive image of Asians, leading the way for the many actors who followed in her footsteps.

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

By: Paula Yoo
Illustrated by: Dom Lee
Age Level: 6-9

As an Asian American child growing up in California, Sammy Lee was only allowed to use the public pool on Wednesdays. But Sammy was not easily deterred from his dream of becoming an Olympic diver, and at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, he became the first Asian American to win a gold medal in U.S. history. Paula Yoo and Dom Lee skillfully bring Sammy's story to life in this inspirational biography.

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Stand Up, Yumi Chung
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her "Yu-MEAT" because she smells like her family's Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she's reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage. Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant.