Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by reading animal-themed books by Asian American authors with your children or students! These stories highlight the human-animal bond, build respect for nature and the environment, and bring diversity and representation of Asian Americans in the animal welfare and humane education fields.
Research shows that diverse representation in children’s books benefits children’s health and wellbeing by dismantling harmful stereotypes that take root in childhood, allowing children to see themselves as heroes or protagonists, and building empathy for people of different races and cultures. (Source)
By highlighting and supporting diverse authorship in humane-themed literature, we can create a more equitable world for both children and animals, allowing children of all backgrounds to see themselves in positive relationships with nature and animals.
Written by Maya Ajmera and Alex Fisher
Recommended for ages two and up
Dogs, just like children, come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Beautiful photographs of children and dogs from all over the world fill this book. Pictures of children caring for and interacting with dogs abound. Conversations about the diversity of humans and different breeds of dogs are sure to arise while reading this book. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written & illustrated by Aram Kim
Recommended for ages two to six
Follow a stray cat as she braves the snowy city streets to find a home in this nearly-wordless picture book. A calico cat with curious eyes cautiously approaches a grocery store… only to be shooed away by the owner with a broom. This heartwarming picture book features a simple text, heavy with onomatopoeia, and striking, bold illustrations that carry the story, depicting the charming cat’s range of emotions.
Young readers will empathize with the strong emotional content—hunger, loneliness, and rejection, giving way to contentment and joy—and delight in the expressive illustrations. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written & illustrated by Kenard Pak
Recommended for ages four to seven
As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows–autumn is on its way! Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says goodbye to summer and welcomes autumn. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written and illustrated by Yoon-duck Kwon
Recommended for ages four and up
My Cat Copies Me is an entertaining story illustrating the bond between a young girl and her cat. The cat becomes a source of inspiration and adventure for the girl, while they both provide companionship for and listen to each other. The book features simple storytelling with colorful illustrations. Themes include listening to a cat and friendship. Find a copy on Google Books.
Written by Tina Cho
Illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Recommended for ages five to eight
A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free-diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world. 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. Find a copy on Google Books.