May is a month filled with all sorts of fun, busyness, and all sorts of changes to introduce young readers to the diversity of our world. May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, but these diverse book for kids will be a “must-have” staple in your home or school bookshelf all year long!
Love in the Library By Maggie Tokuda-Hall | Ages 6-9
To fall in love is already a gift. But to fall in love in a place like Minidoka, a place built to make people feel like they weren’t human—that was miraculous.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast—elderly people, children, babies—now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn’t know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp’s tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn’t the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before.
As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day?
Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s beautifully illustrated, elegant love story features a photo of the real Tama and George—the author’s grandparents—along with an afterword and other back matter for readers to learn more about a time in our history that continues to resonate.
Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.
Mommy’s Hometown by Hope Lim, Jaime Kim
This gentle, contemplative picture book about family origins invites us to ponder the meaning of home. A young boy loves listening to his mother describe the place where she grew up, a world of tall mountains and friends splashing together in the river. Mommy’s stories have let the boy visit her homeland in his thoughts and dreams, and now he’s old enough to travel with her to see it for himself. But when mother and son arrive, the town is not as he imagined. Skyscrapers block the mountains, and crowds hurry past. The boy feels like an outsider—until they visit the river where his mother used to play, and he sees that the spirit and happiness of those days remain. Sensitively pitched to a child’s-eye view, this vivid story honors the immigrant experience and the timeless bond between parent and child, past and present.
A Life of Service By Christina Soontornvat | Ages 5-9
Senator Tammy Duckworth has logged a long list of “firsts” during her tenure as the first Thai American woman elected to Congress, including being the first woman with a disability to serve in the House and Senate. But while she dreamed of serving her country from a young age, Tammy’s path was not without its challenges. In this dramatic account, award-winning creators Christina Soontornvat and Dow Phumiruk chronicle Tammy’s journey.
From her childhood fight to keep her family from homelessness, her service in the US Army, and her recovery from grievous injuries sustained in the line of duty, Tammy never lost her determination to keep going against staggering odds.
Evoking Tammy Duckworth’s spirited nature with sensitivity and joy, this uplifting account of a groundbreaking military veteran and rising political star will inspire readers to dream and achieve. Includes a timeline and suggestions for further reading.
I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, Sara Palacios
A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.
When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome.
Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?
Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World by Mia Wenjen
Go on a tour of eco-friendly farms around the globe! From urban gardens to farms under the sea, discover the many different sustainable ways people have been growing food for centuries, and new innovations battling climate change’s effects on farming. Rhyming text and inset boxes with definitions for new vocabulary words make the topic accessible to young learners. End matter includes detailed information about each country’s farming practice, sustainable farming and more.
Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World was selected by dPICTUS for their list of 100 Outstanding Picturebooks of 2023!
A Special Shout Out for a Much-Anticipated Book
We Sing from the Heart: How the Slants® Took Their Fight for Free Speech to the Supreme Court
We are thrilled to announce an upcoming (Fall of 2024) new picture book through Red Comet Press from a long-time friend, author, and co-founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia Wenjen
Illustrated by Victor Bizar Gomez, We Sing from the Heart: How the Slants® Took Their Fight for Free Speech to the Supreme Court is the story of Simon Tam, the leader of the popular all-Asian-American dance-pop band, The Slants®, and his nine-year battle to trademark his band’s name.
You can learn more by visiting Mia’s website.