Books by Theme

Food and Family: Asian Pacific American Heritage

Apple Pie 4th of July

Apple Pie 4th of July

By: Janet Wong
Illustrated by: Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"No one wants to eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July," says a young girl to her parents who insist on keeping their Chinese restaurant open on Independence Day. An honest portrayal of the tug between traditions old and new, as well as what it really means to be American.

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic

Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic

By: Ginnie Lo
Illustrated by: Beth Lo
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

While on a visit to her aunt and uncle in Illinois, the narrator and her family unexpectedly find a field of growing soybeans which begins a 40-year tradition. Based on the author's experiences, text and child-like illustrations reveal a caring, surprisingly modern family story from times past.

Bee-Bim Bop!

Bee-Bim Bop!

By: Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by: Ho Baek Lee
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

What's better than just eating a favorite dish? Anticipating it while preparing it, of course! Rhythmic, rhyming language and playful illustrations capture the joy of making this special Korean dish — and the joy of sharing it.
Country of origin: Korea
 

Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out

Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out

By: Ted Lewin
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After a busy day at his family’s Chinese take-out restaurant in Brooklyn, the young narrator enjoys his favorite dinner: pizza! Lewin’s highly realistic watercolor illustrations show the bustle, the food, and the way the boy works with his family.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Cora Cooks Pancit

By: Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Illustrated by: Kristi Valiant
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

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.

Dim Sum for Everyone

Dim Sum for Everyone

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A Chinese family goes out for dim sum ("little dishes"), choosing their favorites off the restaurant cart and sharing with each other. The illustrations evoke the textures and patterns in this traditional meal, and an endnote provides background on the cultural history and customs surrounding dim sum.

Dumpling Soup

Dumpling Soup

By: Jama Kim Rattigan
Illustrated by: Lillian Hsu-Flander
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Marisa gets to help make dumplings this year to celebrate the New Year, but she worries that no one will eat her funny-looking dumplings. Set in the Hawaiian islands, this story celebrates the joyful mix of food, customs, and languages from many cultures.

Hot, Hot, Roti for Dada-ji

Hot, Hot, Roti for Dada-ji

By: F. Zia
Illustrated by: Ken Min
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Aneel's active grandparents bring stories, special foods, and fun with them from India.

How My Parents Learned to Eat

How My Parents Learned to Eat

By: Ina Friedman
Illustrated by: Allen Say
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When an American sailor meets a Japanese woman, they both try in secret to learn the other's way of eating. Their courtship and growing love culminates in marriage. This realistic family story explores cultural similarities and differences and is told with humor and honesty by the couple's daughter.

Maggie’s Chopsticks

Maggie’s Chopsticks

By: Alan Woo
Illustrated by: Isabelle Malenfant
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Poor Maggie struggles to master her chopsticks — it seems nearly everyone around the dinner table has something to say about the "right" way to hold them! But when Father reminds her not to worry about everyone else, Maggie finally gets a grip on an important lesson.

No Kimchi for Me!

No Kimchi for Me!

By: Aram Kim
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Yoomi loves her grandmother’s Korean cooking; that is, everything except kimchi. Her older siblings say it’s because she’s still a baby. But Yoomi’s grandmother is wise and comes up with a tasty solution: kimchi pancakes! A recipe for this is included and other dishes mentioned are pictured and labeled on endpapers for an international feast.

The Have a Good Day Cafe

The Have a Good Day Cafe

By: Frances Park, Ginger Park
Illustrated by: Giselle Potter
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Mike's Korean grandmother is still adjusting to her move to the U.S. While Mike helps her learn English, she helps the family, which owns a food cart, beat stiff competition. The family once did a good business serving pizza, bagels, and hot dogs on a busy corner, but now two other carts serving similar fare have moved in. Mike's idea — to serve delicious Korean specialties that only Grandma knows how to make — saves the business and also helps Grandma feel at home. — Booklist

The Ugly Vegetables

The Ugly Vegetables

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In a neighborhood of flower gardens, a Chinese-American girl and her mother plant what the child considers to be ugly vegetables. The ugly vegetables, however, become attractive and help build community when made into a delicious soup! A recipe is included.

Watercress

Watercress

By: Andrea Wang
Illustrated by: Jason Chin
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A child is embarrassed when parents stop the car to harvest wild watercress. Illustrations in sepia, however, show why this is such an emotional moment for the Chinese American family as it recalls an earlier time. Inspired text and stunningly detailed watercolors provide insight into one family’s history and a glimpse of their life before coming to the United States.

We Eat Rice

We Eat Rice

By: Min Hong
Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

In this short book for beginning readers, a young Korean boy and girl share all of the different ways they like to eat rice, which are presented in colorful illustrations done by Grace Lin. A teacher's guide with early reading activities is available from the Lee and Low website. Also available in Spanish.

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