Every Falling Star

Every Falling Star

Keywords: politics, survival, friendship, resilience A timely and gripping autobiographical account of a teenage boy in North Korea. An authentic view of the “inside” of North Korea, and the reality of the life of ordinary citizens living under a regime of severe political constraints that has isolated itself from the world. Students will gain a better…

Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth

Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth

Keywords: verse, identity, friendship, bullying, martial arts Told through the eyes of a middle school American boy who is living in Japan, students have a compelling account of issues ever present in society today and how to deal with them: bullying, feeling isolated, not fitting in, cross-cultural understanding, and how to survive teenage years. It is…

The Night Parade

The Night Parade

Keywords: fantasy, folklore, adventure, friendship A fantasy story that will appeal to many middle school students, The Night Parade bridges past and present Japanese cultural customs. It is filled with wonder and imagination, as well as respect and admiration for cultural tradition, and provides a window into Japanese mythology.

Somewhere Among

Somewhere Among

Keywords: verse, grandparents, disappointment, identity, school Through the eyes of a young girl students can relate to the loneliness and fear of not-fitting in and not knowing the cultural cues encountered in entering a new school. Ema, the protagonist, is the daughter of an American mother and a Japanese father, living in Japan and happy with her…

Are You an Echo?

Are You an Echo?

Keywords: verse, translation, family, suicide, tsunami, nature Are You an Echo? brings the lyrical poems and life story of now famous Japanese poet, Misuzu Kaneko, to an American audience. Her poems were lost for many years but are now popular with schoolchildren throughout Japan. The haunting title poem was played instead of commercials on public radio after the…

My Night in the Planetarium

My Night in the Planetarium

Keywords: family, civil rights, activism The Indonesian-born graphic designer, Innosanto Nagara, shares “a true story about a child, a play, and the act of resistance” in his award-winning autobiographical picture book.  Starting with a lightly humorous overview of Indonesian history, through colonization by the Dutch, he leads up to 1977, a pivotal moment in his…

Tanabata Wish

Tanabata Wish

Keywords: contemporary, romance, coming-of-age, identity Phoenix-native Skyler Doucet’s plans with her BFF are ruined when her mom and Japanese stepfather move the entire family to Nagoya, Japan for the summer before her senior year. But when David Takamatsu, a biracial Japanese-American boy, invades Skyler’s space (and her heart), this fish out of water in Japan starts…

Want

Want

Keywords: dystopia, inequality, environment, romance, LGBTQIA Set in a near-future Taipei, Taiwan, that is imagined as plagued by pollution, a group of teens risk everything to save their city. Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. They wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and…

The Emperor’s Riddle

The Emperor’s Riddle

Keywords: mystery, adventure, family, countryside Mia Chen is on what her mother calls a Grand Adventure (and a mystery adventure, at that). Mia’s not sure what to make of this family trip to China, and didn’t want to leave her friends for the summer. However, Mia is excited about the prospect of exploring with her Aunt…

Ten: A Soccer Story

Ten: A Soccer Story

Keywords: equality, identity, sports, humor Maya is a passionate soccer fan eager to start playing soccer herself. But soccer is considered a “boys’ game” in Malaysia in 1986. Maya teaches herself basic soccer skills with only her mother and a potted rosebush as training partners, then gradually persuades enough girls to join her to form a…

Bronze and Sunflower

Bronze and Sunflower

Keywords: translation, family, disability, friendship, loyalty Cao Wenxuan, author of Bronze and Sunflower, is one of China’s most esteemed and best-selling children’s book writers and has won several of China’s important awards for children’s literature. A professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, Cao Wenxuan has seen many of his books become bestsellers in China, and his work…

My First Book of Vietnamese Words

My First Book of Vietnamese Words

Keywords: languages, rhymes Phuoc Thi Minh Tran provides a wealth of information for young children about celebrations, fruits, plants, insects and animals, special foods, clothing, and traditional values in this rhyming alphabet book of Vietnamese words.  The illustrations are colorful, clear, and accurate, showing daily activities in both country and city homes.  Linguistic and cultural notes enrich…

Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

Keywords: humor, ninja, nature, exploration This is the second in a creative series featuring Little Kunoichi the Ninja Girl and her friend, Chibi Samurai. Author and illustrator Sanae Ishida creates whimsical, engaging characters to lead young readers into Japanese culture.  Clues to traditional games and toys, folktales and legends, musical instruments, and pastimes such as collecting insects…

An’s Seed

An’s Seed

Keywords: translation, bilingual, patience, mindfulness A gentle fable about mindfulness, An’s Seed follows the actions of three young monks – Ben, Jing, and An – who are given the task of growing a lotus plant from a seed.  One monk is too impetuous, one misguided, and one patient and wise.  The illustrations have a simple charm…

The Crane Girl

The Crane Girl

Keywords: folklore, animals, trust, compassion While gathering firewood, Yasuhiro comes upon an injured crane hidden in the snow. He rescues and comforts the bird, then watches as it flies away over the wintry hills. The next night, a mysterious young girl arrives at Yasuhiro’s home seeking shelter from the cold. The boy and his father welcome…

Dragon Ridge Tombs

Dragon Ridge Tombs

Keywords: translation, fantasy, adventure, mystery A treacherous journey to the depths beneath a mountain range, where ancient tombs are certain to contain riches but also rumored to be guarded by merciless supernatural forces. Self-proclaimed gold hunter Tianyi, who has excellent feng shui skills, along with his best friend, Kai, and a shady antiques dealer called Gold…

The Analects: An Illustrated Edition

The Analects: An Illustrated Edition

Keywords: graphic adaptation, philosophy, religion “For the first time in one volume, The Analects illustrated by bestselling cartoonist C. C. Tsai C. C. Tsai is one of Asia’s most popular cartoonists, and his editions of the Chinese classics have sold more than 40 million copies in over twenty languages. This volume presents Tsai’s delightful graphic adaptation of The Analects,…

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Keywords: fantasy, sci-fi, romance, LGBTQIA Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries. Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns…

Girls on the Line

Girls on the Line

Keywords: contemporary, teen pregnancy, friendship, perseverance A powerful, dual-narrative coming-of-age story set in 2009 China. Luli has just turned sixteen and finally aged out of the orphanage where she’s spent the last eight years. Her friend Yun, who has also lived in the orphanage, has promised to help her get work. Yun loves the independence that…

The Astonishing Color of After

The Astonishing Color of After

Keywords: fantasy, mental illness, coming-of-age, romance, identity Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, whose mother was from Taiwan, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In…

Go: A Coming of Age Novel

Go: A Coming of Age Novel

Keywords: translation, racism, bullying, romance, identity For two teens, falling in love is going to make a world of difference in this beautifully translated, bold, and endearing novel about love, loss, and the pain of racial discrimination. As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of…

Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox

Keywords: fantasy, romance, dragon, ghosts One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to…

Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter

Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter

Keywords: graphic novel, translation, supernatural, folklore, adventure Part fantasy, part travelogue—this graphic novel transports readers to the intersection of the natural and supernatural worlds. Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter follows the adventures of two young foreigners as they travel to a remote and mysterious corner of Japan. Along the way, they purchase an old camera…

Grenade

Grenade

Keywords: war, death, adventure, coming-of-age, empathy It’s 1945, and the world is in the grip of war. Hideki lives on Okinawa, an island near Japan. When he is drafted to fight for the Japanese army, he is handed a grenade and told: Don’t come back until you’ve killed an American soldier. Ray, a young American Marine,…

The Turtle Ship

The Turtle Ship

Keywords: war, boats, animals, persistence Loosely based on the true story of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his Turtle Ship, this delightful tale introduces young readers to a fascinating episode in Korean history and naval engineering. Long ago in Korea, a young boy named Sun-sin spent his days playing with his pet turtle Gobugi and dreaming of…

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean

Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean

Keywords: farming, environment, scientists, insects This beautiful book tells its story through the memories of a farm boy who, inspired by Pu Zhelong, became a scientist himself. The narrator is a composite of people Pu Zhelong influenced in his work. With further context from Melanie Chan’s historically precise watercolors, this story will immerse young readers…

Indigo Girl

Indigo Girl

Keywords: disability, farming, family, coming-of-age, identity Fifteen-year-old Aiko Cassidy, a bicultural girl with cerebral palsy, grew up in Michigan with her single mother.  For as long as she could remember, it was just the two of them. When a new stepfather and a baby half sister enter her life, she finds herself on the margins. Having…

Patron Saints of Nothing

Patron Saints of Nothing

Keywords: mystery, drugs, social justice, family, grief A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder. Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he…

The Weight of Our Sky

The Weight of Our Sky

Keywords: mental health, resilience, racism, politics, coming-of-age A music loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut. Melati Ahmad looks like your typical movie-going, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also…

House Without Walls

House Without Walls

Keywords: verse, war, refugee, resilience, empathy For most people, home is a place with four walls. It’s a place to eat, sleep, rest, and live. For a refugee, the concept of home is ever-changing, ever-moving, ever-wavering. And often, it doesn’t have any walls at all. Eleven-year-old Lam escapes from Vietnam with Dee Dee during the Vietnamese…

Girl of the Southern Sea

Girl of the Southern Sea

Keywords: equality, family, death, school, persistence From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train…

A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong

Keywords: war, family, resilience, emigration, Hiroshima A Japanese-American family, reeling from their ill treatment in the Japanese internment camps, gives up their American citizenship to move back to Hiroshima, unaware of the devastation wreaked by the atomic bomb in this piercing look at the aftermath of World War II by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata. World War…

All the Ways Home

All the Ways Home

Keywords: mental health, grief, family, grandparents, resilience Sometimes, home isn’t where you expect to find it. After losing his mom in a fatal car crash, Kaede Hirano–now living with a grandfather who is more stranger than family–developed anger issues and spent his last year of middle school acting out. Best-friendless and critically in danger repeating the…

When Spring Comes to the DMZ

When Spring Comes to the DMZ

Keywords: war, politics, nature, family This unique picture book invites young readers into the natural beauty of the DMZ, where salmon, spotted seals, and mountain goats freely follow the seasons and raise their families in this 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long corridor where no human may tread. But the vivid seasonal flora and fauna are framed by ever-present rusty…

The Moose of Ewenki

The Moose of Ewenki

Keywords: translation, wildlife, nature, death, empathy When a Mongolian elder named Gree Shrek hunts a female moose by mistake, her young calf is left behind. Saddened by her loss, Gree Shrek names the calf Xiao Han (“Little Moose”) and the moose and man form an authentic attachment. Xiao Han accompanies Gree Shrek as the hunter-gatherer herds…

Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club

Keywords: graphic novel, politics, human rights, activism, friendship When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas…

Like Spilled Water

Like Spilled Water

Keywords: contemporary, mystery, grief, coming-of-age, sexism Nineteen-year-old Na has always lived in the shadow of her younger brother, Bao-bao, her parents’ cherished son. Years ago, Na’s parents left her in the countryside and went to work in the city, bringing Bao-bao along and committing everything to his education. But when Bao-bao dies suddenly, Na realizes how…

Almond

Almond

Keywords: translation, mental health, disability, coming-of-age, friendship This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster.  One of the monsters is me. Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep…

The Silence of Bones

The Silence of Bones

Keywords: mystery, women, family, perseverance 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the…

Year of the Rabbit

Year of the Rabbit

Keywords: graphic novel, translation, politics, resilience, family Year of the Rabbit tells the true story of one family’s desperate struggle to survive the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge seizes power in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Immediately after declaring victory in the war, they set about evacuating the…

Crossing the Farak River

Crossing the Farak River

Keywords: war, resilience, refugees, family, coming-of-age Fourteen-year-old Hasina is forced to flee everything she knows in this gripping account of the crisis in Myanmar. For Hasina and her younger brother Araf, the constant threat of Sit Tat, the Myanmar Army, is a way of life in Rakhine province—just uttering the name is enough to send chills…

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team

Keywords: adventure, survival, religion, sports A unique account of the amazing Thai cave rescue told in a heart-racing, you-are-there style that blends suspense, science, and cultural insight. On June 23, 2018, twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach enter a cave in northern Thailand seeking an afternoon’s adventure. But when they…

Beyond Me

Beyond Me

Keywords: verse, earthquake, grandparents, mental health, kindness In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference. March 11, 2011 An earthquake shakes Japan to…

Brother’s Keeper

Brother’s Keeper

Keywords: family, war, refugees, immigration, friendship North Korea. December, 1950. Twelve-year-old Sora and her family live under an iron set of rules: No travel without a permit. No criticism of the government. No absences from Communist meetings. Wear red. Hang pictures of the Great Leader. Don’t trust your neighbors. Don’t speak your mind. You are being…

Rice

Rice

Keywords: food, farmer, jobs Farmers weed at noon, and their sweat falls onto the field. Have you ever eaten rice? Do you eat it every day? Do you know where it comes from? It comes from a lot of hard work! What we eat are grains of rice, which are called “gu” in China. The husks…

A Bowl of Peace: A True Story

A Bowl of Peace: A True Story

Keywords: Nagasaki, biography, war, family, death In this deeply moving nonfiction picture book, award-winning author Caren Stelson brings Sachiko Yasui’s story of surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and her message of peace to a young audience. Sachiko’s family home was about half a mile from where the atomic bomb fell on August 9, 1945. Her…

No Steps Behind:Beate Sirota Gordon’s Battle for Women’s Rights in Japan

No Steps Behind:Beate Sirota Gordon’s Battle for Women’s Rights in Japan

Keywords: activism, social justice, war, identity, perseverance Beate Sirota came to Japan as a young girl, learning its language, customs, and traditions. She loved her adopted country. When an extraordinary convergence of circumstances gave her the chance, she dared to do the unthinkable — write a clause for the new national constitution guaranteeing women equal rights.

The Forest of Stolen Girls

The Forest of Stolen Girls

Keywords: mystery, women, family, perseverance 1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters….

The Minamata Story

The Minamata Story

Keywords: graphic novel, pollution, disease, activism, empathy A powerful graphic novel /manga that tells the story of “Minamata disease,” a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition caused by the Chisso chemical factory’s careless release of methylmercury into the waters of the coastal community of Minamata in southern Japan. First identified in 1956, it became a hot topic in…

Freedom Swimmer

Freedom Swimmer

Keywords: contemporary, refugees, friendship, perseverance This incredible story about two boys’ swim from mainland China to Hong Kong in search of freedom from poverty and oppression is inspired by a true story Ming survived the famine that killed his parents during China’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, and lives a hard but adequate life, working in the fields….

Colorful

Colorful

Keywords: contemporary, translation, fantasy, mental health, suicide “Congratulations, you’ve won the lottery!” shouts the angel Prapura to a formless soul. The soul hasn’t been kicked out of the cycle of rebirth just yet–he’s been given a second chance. He must recall the biggest mistake of his past life while on ‘homestay’ in the body of fourteen-year-old…

The Waiting

The Waiting

Keywords: graphic novel, translation, war, family, women Keum Suk Gendry-Kim was an adult when her mother revealed a family secret: She had been separated from her sister during the Korean War. It’s not an uncommon story—the peninsula was split across the 38th parallel, dividing one country into two. As many fled violence in the north, not…

Tsunami Girl

Tsunami Girl

Keywords: contemporary, coming-of-age, earthquake, tsunami, survival Fifteen-year-old Yuki is struggling at school with her confidence, and goes to Japan to stay with her grandfather, a well-known manga artist and to whom she is very close. But during her visit, a calamitous event occurs – the East Coast Earthquake and Tsunami – and her beloved Grandpa is…

Soul Lanterns

Soul Lanterns

Keywords: translation, war, Hiroshima, grief, family, death Twelve-year-old Nozomi lives in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. She wasn’t even born when the bombing of Hiroshima took place. Every year Nozomi joins her family at the lantern-floating ceremony to honor those lost in the bombing. People write the names of their deceased loved ones along with messages…

How Do You Live?

How Do You Live?

Keywords: translation, philosophy, coming-of-age, friendship First published in 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s How Do You Live? has long been acknowledged in Japan as a crossover classic for young readers. Academy Award–winning animator Hayao Miyazaki has called it his favorite childhood book and announced plans to emerge from retirement to make it the basis of his final film. How Do…

While I Was Away

While I Was Away

Keywords: bullying, grandparents, indentity, school When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka…

Temple Alley Summer

Temple Alley Summer

Keywords: contemporary, ghosts, supernatural, translation, friendship Kazu knows something odd is going on when he sees a girl in a white kimono sneak out of his house in the middle of the night—was he dreaming? Did he see a ghost? Things get even stranger when he shows up to school the next day to see the…

Finding Junie Kim

Finding Junie Kim

Keywords: contemporary, war, mental health, bullying, immigration Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out. Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie…

The Star Festival

The Star Festival

Keywords: family, multigenerational, folktales, holidays Tanabata Matsuri, the Star Festival, celebrates a popular folktale: The Emperor of the Heavens separates his daughter, Orihime, from her love, Hikoboshi, all year—but on this day the two stars finally reunite, crossing a bridge over the Milky Way. For Keiko, her mama, and her grandmother, Tanabata is about making tanzaku…

Saving Sorya Chang and the Sun Bear

Saving Sorya Chang and the Sun Bear

Keywords: graphic novel, wildlife, activism, conservation When endlessly curious and tenacious Chang discovers a bear bile farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals—by becoming a conservationist! After teaching herself survival skills, documenting each rainforest plant and animal she sees in her field notebook, and disproving…

The Floating Field

The Floating Field

Keywords: problem solving, perseverance, sports, soccer How a group of Thai boys built their own soccer field. But on the island of Koh Panyee, in a village built on stilts, there is no open space. The boys can play only twice a month on a sandbar when the tide is low enough. Everything changes when…