Books by Theme

Asian Pacific American Folk Tales, Fairytales, and Legends

All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet

All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet

By: Barbara Berger
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

There's a saying that "slow but steady wins the race." In this richly illustrated book, the saying is recast as a Tibetan tale about a boy and his reliable yak and an impatient rider on a speedy horse, both on their way to the holy city of Lhasa.

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese

By: Gene Yang
Illustrated by: Lark Pien
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

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.

Boy Dumplings

Boy Dumplings

By: Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated by: James Yamaskaki
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A plump little boy is caught by a hungry, garbage eating ghost but tricks him to get away. Humor abounds in this original tale steeped in Chinese lore and set in Beijing. Told and illustrated in a lively way, this tale will tickle the funny bone as well as taste buds.

Boy of the Three Year Nap

Boy of the Three Year Nap

By: Dianne Snyder
Illustrated by: Allen Say
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though Taro is known for his laziness, he is also clever and so finds a way to become wealthy. Realistic illustrations place Taro and his mother in a long ago Japan in this spritely retelling of a traditional trickster tale.

Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam

Children of the Dragon: Selected Tales from Vietnam

By: Sherry Garland
Illustrated by: Trina Schart Hyman
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Learn why the tiger has stripes, what happens to those who behave badly, and much more in this rich collection. The lore of Southeast Asia comes to life in strong retellings complemented by jewel-toned illustrations.

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like

By: Joanna P. Williams
Illustrated by: Mercer Mayer
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a small, fat and bald old man announces he is a dragon, offering to defend the city of Wu against impending attack, everyone laughs at him but one young boy.

Gobble, Gobble, Slip, Slop: A Tale of a Very Greedy Cat

Gobble, Gobble, Slip, Slop: A Tale of a Very Greedy Cat

By: Meilo So
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

No one would want to meet a greedy cat like this! A very hungry and especially greedy cat eats a series of animals and people — "Gobble, gobble, slip, slop" — until clever crabs help them all find a way out. A quite contrite cat promises never to be greedy again in this lively and handsomely illustrated retelling of a traditional tale.

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale

Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale

By: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Illustrated by: Susy Waters
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

An old woman left her small village to visit her daughter and granddaughter, telling three hungry predators to wait to eat her until she is plumped up on her way back. How the women outwit the bear, fox and tiger is satisfyingly told and handsomely illustrated in saturated color illustrations in this Indian folktale that the author recalls from her childhood.

I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend

I Am Tama, Lucky Cat: A Japanese Legend

By: Wendy Henrichs
Illustrated by: Toshiko Jaeggi
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Nonfiction, Myths and Legends
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A cat befriends a monk and brings good fortune to his rundown temple in this handsomely illustrated retelling narrated by Tama, the feline hero.

Issun Boshi: The One-Inch Boy

Issun Boshi: The One-Inch Boy

By: Icinori
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A farmer and his wife longed for a child and miraculously got one who they named Issum Boshi, the One-Inch Boy. Though small, Issum Boshi proved his bravery in this Japanese tale. Imaginative illustrations suggest art from both the East and the West bring the hero into focus.

Lady Hahn and Her Seven Friends

Lady Hahn and Her Seven Friends

By: Yumi Heo
Genre: Myths and Legends, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Long ago, Lady Hahn sewed with the help of her seven friends — needle, thimble, etc. — until each thought that their special job was most important. Swirling, detailed illustrations evoke the story's origin and early Korean setting and provide personalities to typical sewing tools.

Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea

Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea

By: Anne O'Brien
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In a carefully researched retelling of a Korean legend, the son of a powerful minister and a servant is scorned by high society because of his commoner roots. After leaving home and discovering that injustice drives criminals to crime, he begins training a group of bandits to become an army that rights wrongs. With artwork authentic to the historical time, this is a drama for sophisticated readers.

Lon Po Po

Lon Po Po

By: Ed Young
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Striking illustrations highlight the drama of this Chinese version of Red Riding Hood. Instead of one girl, three sisters confront and ultimately confound the fearsome, hungry wolf who pretends to be the girls’ grandmother.

Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale

Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale

By: John Stickler
Illustrated by: Soma Han
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Poverty is all Maya has ever known, but she doesn't allow it to stop her from caring for her father, and others, as best she can. Kind and gentle, she is a lovely young girl who always puts others first. One day, she finds a little turtle and takes him home, raising and loving him, never knowing that he will play an instrumental part in her destiny.

 

Nori book cover

Nori

By: Rumi Hara
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends, Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The relationship between mischievous three-year-old Nori and her grandmother shines through these pages in rich detail, full of humor, feeling, and a sense of family history and tradition. Beautifully drawn locations in Japan and Hawaii immerse the reader in their world, populated by grinning bats, leaping rabbits, a taste of Mochi — and the wonder and curiosity of childhood. The story weaves in East Asian folklore and Japanese culture, through the legends her grandmother shares.

Our Folktales: The All-Time Favourite Folktales of Asia

Our Folktales: The All-Time Favourite Folktales of Asia

By: Ruth Wan-Lau
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A collection of eight beloved children's stories from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Singapore. In these beautifully illustrated tales, you will meet brave heroes who outsmart others, mystical spells that enchant, talking animals that are full of mischief, and so much more.The diversity and wonder of Asia are found in these stories that have been passed down through generations, and now, adapted in this compilation. 

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

By: Jackie Morris
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Dazzling illustrations combine with lyrical language to emulate a creation myth. Set in the Himalayan Mountains, this original tale dramatically explains why the sun and moon wax and wane and of friendship between a girl and the Snow Leopard.

Starry River of the Sky

Starry River of the Sky

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Rendi, a self-centered, unhappy boy runs away from home and winds up in a sad town. Storytelling, however, instigated by a mysterious newcomer allows Rendi to mature and help the villagers. The rich narrative incorporates tales inspired by Chinese tales in this worthy companion to Where the Mountain meets the Moon.

Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia

Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia

By: Sally Pomme
Illustrated by: Sophie Herxheimer
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Where do you find needles? All over the world, of course! Readers will recognize many things in these stories from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian countries where stories, riddles, and more are told at mealtimes to feed the soul as well as the body. As with many folktales, readers recognize what they share with people in another part of the world while celebrating what makes them unique.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons

By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated by: Meilo So
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Uriko is small but brave, determined, and smart. In fact, she saves the town’s children when they are kidnapped by hungry oni, the ogres of Japanese lore whose favorite food is baby belly buttons. This lively retelling of a traditional Japanese folktale reads aloud well and is complemented by the illustrations, which call to mind the tale's Asian origin.

The Dragon Prince: Stories and Legends from Vietnam

The Dragon Prince: Stories and Legends from Vietnam

By: Thich Nhat Hanh
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This collection of 15 stories and legends from Vietnam retold by Zen master poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh emphasize themes of cooperation and reconciliation, while providing a rich introduction to the mythical elements of Vietnamese culture. Imaginary characters weave through the lives of actual persons and events, blending fiction and nonfiction, magic and fantasy. 

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale

By: Yumi Heo
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Have you wondered why frogs croak on the edge of streams? It all started long ago with two disobedient frog brothers who decided to obey their long-suffering mother only after her death. Humor and grimness combine for a memorable Korean pourquoi tale.
Country of origin: Korea
 

The Legend of Auntie Po book cover

The Legend of Auntie Po

By: Shing Yin Khor
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends, Historical Fiction, Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. While she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885, 13-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine — Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch. On the surface, this story is the birth of a folktale, but the author explores much deeper topics: grief, family, loyalty, racism, and self-discovery.

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

By: Tina Cho
Illustrated by: Jess X. Snow
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Myths and Legends
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea — generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma's guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean's many gifts.

The Seven Chinese Sisters

The Seven Chinese Sisters

By: Kathy Tucker
Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

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 Walking Stick

The Walking Stick

By: Maxine Trottier
Illustrated by: Annouchka Gravel Galouchko
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Van, a young Vietnamese boy, is given a brass-tipped teak walking stick made by his uncle (a monk), who says that now the Buddha "will watch over you no matter where you go, and bring you safely home." Van carries the stick with him always, even when he and his family flee their war-torn country and cross the ocean. On long walks years later, he tells his granddaughter stories of his homeland. She travels to Vietnam and leaves the stick as an offering at the foot of a Buddha.

Toad Is the Uncle of Heaven: A Vietnamese Folktale

Toad Is the Uncle of Heaven: A Vietnamese Folktale

By: Jeanne Lee
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The small toad, with the help of other animals, gets the attention of the Emperor of Heaven to end Earth's drought before all is destroyed. There is humor in this colorfully illustrated, respectful retelling of a traditional folktale.
Country of origin: Vietnam
 

Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

By: Shirley Climo
Illustrated by: Francisco Mora
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Birds sing the people of Maynilad on the Philippine island of Luzon to sleep at night — until Tuko the haughty gecko prevents the birds from doing their job. Repetition and onomatopoeic animal sounds make this a lively, memorable folktale to share aloud. Tagalog is sprinkled throughout and is included in a glossary.
Country of origin: Philippines
 

Vietnamese Children's Favorite Stories

Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories

By: Phuoc Thi Minh Tran
Illustrated by: Hop Thi Nguyen, Dong Nguyen
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

These 15 stories reflect the traditions, myths, and history of Vietnam, with trees and flowers frequently serving symbolic purposes. Works such a The Story of Tam and Cam, an adaptation of Cinderella, will be familiar to readers, while a story about why the sea is salty will be new to many. [Publishers Weekly review]

When the Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Children of all ages will enjoy the story of Pinmei and her quest to find her grandmother, the storyteller. Inspired by Chinese folklore, this stand-alone tale is a companion to the author’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Minli embarks on a journey to change the luck of her family and their village. Traditional stories inspired by Chinese folklore combine with a rousing adventure for an altogether satisfying tale. Richly-hued illustrations decorate and enhance the handsome novel.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China

By: Ai-Ling Louie
Illustrated by: Ed Young
Genre: Fairytales, Folk Tales, and Tall Tales, Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Based on an ancient Chinese story (which pre-dates European versions), a girl overcomes her wicked stepmother to marry the prince. Jewel-like illustrations by Caldecott medalist Ed Young bring this variation of the classic tale to life.
Country of origin: China
 

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