Brothers & Sisters: Asian Pacific American Heritage

From siblings who overcome big obstacles together to an older sibling awaiting the arrival of a new sibling, these books featuring Asian Pacific American families highlight the threads that bond brothers and sisters together.

Bringing Asha Home

Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9

It's Rakhi Day, a Hindu celebration special to brothers and sisters, and Arun wishes he had a little sister. Soon his wish comes true when he finds out that his parents will be adopting Asha, a little girl from India. Waiting for Asha is hard, though, and Arun is impatient. Arun's patience finally pays off when Asha arrives — just in time to celebrate another Rakhi Day. Beautiful pastel illustrations bring Arun and this uplifting story to life.


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.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Illustrated by: Kristi Valiant
Age Level: 6-9

Cora wants to learn how to cook, but she's too young to do the jobs her older siblings do. One day, however, after the older kids have all gone out together, Cora asks her mother what they can cook together. To her surprise, Cora's mother asks her what she would like to make, and Cora chooses her favorite Filipino noodle dish, pancit. This family story about the importance of sharing tradition is brought to life by Kristi Valiant's charming illustrations and includes a bilingual glossary of Tagalog words.

Fortune Cookie Fortunes

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

The family's meal finishes with fortune cookies, the daughters' favorite part of eating out! They share their fortunes as their engaging look at the world shines through in the simple narration and boldly colored, entertaining illustrations.

Henry's First-Moon Birthday

Illustrated by: Yumi Heo
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Jenny's baby brother Henry is having his one-month birthday — his first-moon, as it's called in Chinese. And even though Jenny's sure he doesn't deserve it (all Henry does is sleep, eat, and cry) there's a big celebration planned for him. Together, Jenny and her grandma get everything ready, from dyeing eggs a lucky red to preparing pigs' feet and ginger soup. And someday, when Henry's old enough to appreciate all her hard work, Jenny will tell him how lucky he was to have her in charge.

Jin Woo

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

Product Description: David likes his family the way it has always been, just him and Mom and Dad. He never wanted to be a big brother. And he certainly didn't want Jin Woo, the little baby from Korea, to join the family. Now his new little brother is getting all the attention, and David feels as if no one cares about him anymore. But then a surprising letter helps him to understand that being a brother can mean being surrounded with more love than ever.

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

Even though Ling and Ting are identical twins, they are not the same. How they differ becomes clear in short chapters in this winning book just right for new readers. The charismatic Asian-American sisters are depicted in word and illustration with humor and affection.

The Perfect Gift (Confetti Kids)

By: Paula Yoo
Illustrated by: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Age Level: 3-6

In this story, Mei’s family is throwing a 100-days birthday party for her little brother — a traditional Chinese celebration after the arrival of a baby. Mei’s grandma is in town for the festivities and teaches Mei about the different customs. Mei can’t wait for the party, but she worries about what to give her little brother. With help from her friends and grandma, Mei discovers that the best gifts are those from the heart.

The Seven Chinese Sisters

Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

Sisters each use their special talent while working together to save the sister who was snatched by a not-too-scary dragon. Uncluttered illustrations add detail to the crisply told original tale likely inspired by a Chinese folktale.
Country of origin: China

The Thing About Luck

Age Level: 9-12

There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck — which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family in this winner of the National Book Award by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata. Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan — right before harvest season.

Waiting for May

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this poignant and heartfelt book, a young boy anticipates the arrival of his new baby sister. She is coming from China to be adopted into his American family. The story describes, month by month, the boy's participation in the long adoption process. Finally the waiting for May is over—she meets her new family, and it is the boy who makes her smile. The child narrator's point of view distinguishes this book from others on this topic and makes it immediate and accessible. Beautifully rendered, sensitive paintings augment the text.