Strong Girls: Asian Pacific American Heritage (Grades 6-8)

Girl at front desk of motel

These middle grade novels feature courageous, creative heroines who take on big problems. Whether they are navigating different cultures and languages or facing big changes in their lives, they persevere against all odds to come out on top.

Amina's Voice

By: Hena Khan
Age Level: 12-14

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.

Front Desk

Age Level: 12-14
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.

Inside Out and Back Again

Age Level: 9-12

Shortly before the fall of Saigon in 1975, Hà's family flees war-torn Vietnam. When they arrive in Alabama more than 3 months later as refugees, they struggle to adapt to a new life. Yet slowly Hà and her family begin to find their way, making friends in unexpected places and helping each other survive. Based on the childhood experiences of the author, this compelling novel won the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Kira-Kira

Age Level: 9-12

This tender novel describes a loving Japanese-American family from the point of view of the younger sister. Personal challenges and family tragedy, particularly the older sister's struggle with lymphoma, are set against the oppressive social climate of the South during the 1950s and early 1960s.

More to the Story

Four girls laying in a circle.
By: Hena Khan
Age Level: 9-12

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes a new story inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women, featuring four sisters from a modern American Muslim family living in Georgia.

Stargazing

Drawing of two children looking at stars and one kid is holding a book.
By: Jen Wang
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English

Moon is everything Christine isn't. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Age Level: 9-12
Language: English

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls' team forming in Yuba City, California. It's the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria's teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls' League to start a girls' softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria's parents - Papi from India and Mama from Mexico - can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land.

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Illustrated by: Abigail Halpin
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Eleven-year-old Dini loves everything about movies — especially Bollywood movies. So she would have been really excited about her family's move to India…if they were moving anywhere near Bombay, the center of the Bollywood universe and home to Dini's all-time most favorite favorite star, Dolly Singh. But no. Dini's now stuck in a teeny, tiny village that she can't even find on a map. But small villages can have surprises!

The Night Diary

Age Level: 9-12
Language: English

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. 2019 Newbery Honor Book and Walter Honor Book, Younger Readers Category.

The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic

Illustrated by: Abigail Halpin
Age Level: 9-12

Dini and Maddie, very best friends, are back in the same country at the same time! Better still, Dolly Singh, the starriest star in all of Bollywood, is in America too. Life seems perfect to Dini — but why can't she untie the knot in her stomach? Because so much can go wrong when a big star like Dolly is in town. This sequel to The Grand Plan to Fix Everything will have fans cheering for Dini's ability to save the day once again!

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.

Weedflower

Age Level: 12-14

Sumiko and her family are shipped to a Japanese internment camp in one of the hottest places in California after the events of Pearl Harbor. She was raised in California on a flower farm and now instead of flowers, she must endure dust storms regularly. In her old life she was accustomed to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Now they find themselves on an Indian reservation and are as unwelcome there as anywhere. She finally finds a friend in one Mohave boy. There they do their best to rebuild their lives and create a community.

When My Name Was Keoko

Age Level: 12-14

Siblings Sun-hee and Tae-yul take turns narrating this story of Japan's occupation of Korea during WWII. As the occupation intensifies, Koreans are forced to change their names and forbidden from speaking their language, and members of the Kim family struggle to retain their personal and cultural identities.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 9-12

Join Minli as she journeys to save her village and her family from a dreary fate. A storyteller's voice effectively brings to life this unforgettable award-winning novel, illustrated with exquisite Chinese paintings.