Youth Book Corner: Asian Heritage Month

To commemorate Asian Heritage Month, our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai, recommends some books that celebrate Asian culture and history.

Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers
Written by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

The Hindu observance of Raksha Bandhan is when sisters tie bands or bracelets around the wrists of their brothers and in turn the brothers promise to protect their sisters. With families drifting apart for various reasons, the enthusiasm for celebrating this occasion has slightly abated over the years, but not so for Bina in Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers. Little Bina is very excited about Raksha Bandhan and instead of store-bought bracelets for her three brothers, Bina decides to make them herself using an alternating pattern of beadwork. This book is part of the Storytelling Math series, which features children using math in their daily life. This book shows how children who can create, describe, and compare patterns do better in math. Grades Preschool-1

Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon
Written by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua

In Kat Zhang’s follow-up to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, we join Amy again and this time she has been tasked by her teacher to craft a dragon. The dragon that Amy draws has a long, wingless body, stag-like horns, and eagle claws. Instead of praise, Amy gets confused stares and so she decides to make a dragon that feels more original. To do that, Amy takes help of her grandmother and other family members. Using their stories and her culture as inspiration, Amy makes her own perfect dragon. Grades Preschool-2

Ojiichan’s Gift
Written by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Genevieve Simms

Ojiichan’s Gift explores the deep bond between grandparents and grandchildren that transcends cultural differences and geographical boundaries. Mayumi lives in North America with her Japanese mother and Dutch father, but every summer, she visits her grandfather in Japan. Her grandfather built a garden for her when she was born and tending to this unusual garden—made up of stones and without any flowers or vegetables—is an activity that they both enjoy together. This special bond they share is precious for Mayumi and so when her Ojiichan grows too old to care for his home and the garden, everything changes. Chieri Uegaki writes about the deep intergenerational bond and the passing of knowledge from grandparent to grandchild over time with great tenderness. The book contains character education lessons on caring, responsibility, perseverance and initiative. Grades Preschool-2


Leena Desai