Welcome to May, and welcome to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Educate and celebrate with the whole family by listening to audiobooks by AAPI authors, featuring AAPI characters. From inspiring picture books to fantastical middle grade listens to YA audios that are full of heart, the stories featured here are for everyone.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a place to celebrate excellence in books and audiobooks, and to find your family’s new favorite listen. For more, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and the hashtag #ReadAsianAuthors, to find new authors and audiobook recommendations throughout the month.
For Little Listeners
A joyful, body-positive audiobook about a young Indian American girl’s journey to accept her body hair and celebrate her heritage after being teased about her mustache.
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday for Alex and her family, so it’s even more special when she gets to share it with her best friend, Ethan! Complete with fun facts about the holiday, young listeners will want to revisit this story of tradition, family, and friendship again and again.
From Ashima Shiraishi, one of the world’s youngest and most skilled climbers, comes a true story of strength and perseverance–in rock climbing and in life.
â€ś[Ashimaâ€™s] beliefs in learning from each fall and that learning from failure is a superpower are sure to empower any person facing a problem. Engrossing and inspiring.â€ť â€”Booklist
For Middle Graders
Stella and Luna know that their mama came from the Philippines, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. Their mama spins two tales that weave an immigrant story together with Pilipino mythology to create something wholly new.
“Deeply poignant…Infusing the heart of Pinoy culture into a moving, accessible bedtime narrative.” â€”Publishers Weekly, starred review
Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature! Mia Tang has a lot of secrets: she lives in a motel, her parents hide immigrants, and she wants to be a writer. It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year.
â€śNarrator Sunny Lu lives up to her first name in portraying Mia Tang. Lu captures the fifth grader’s qualities of cheer, ingenuity, and resilience.â€ť–AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
Thom Ngho is freakishly strong. And it’s making it impossible for her to fit in at her new middle school. To get rid of her strength, Thom makes a deal with the Monkey King. But she discovers that magic can’t cure everything, and dealing with the legendary trickster might be more trouble than it’s worth.
â€śYoung listeners longing for #ownvoices mythological adventures will flock to this audiobook inspired by Vietnamese legends.â€ť–AudioFile
When Sunny meets Cirrus, he canâ€™t believe how cool she is. So when Cirrus mistakenly thinks Sunny plays guitar, he accidentally winds up telling her heâ€™s the front man of a rock band. And just when Sunny is about to come clean, Cirrus asks to see him play sometime. Gulp.
â€śNarrator Michael Bow expresses the cynical wit of Korean-American Sunny Dae.â€ť–AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
Veda lives and breathes danceâ€”so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. Padma Venkatramanâ€™s inspiring story about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and the resilience of the human spirit.
â€śVenkatraman’s breathy voice and slow pacing capture the rhythm of the lyrical verse and reflect the meditative, sacred space that Veda inhabits when she dances.â€ť–AudioFile
A Sky Beyond the Storm picks up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off. Donâ€™t miss this jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahirâ€™s beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?
â€śEach time Helene is forced to choose between her happiness and her duty, [Katharine Lee] McEwan perfectly captures the turmoil that her choice engendersâ€¦â€ť–AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
For more listening recommendations, visit our full Uplift AAPI Voices & Stories page