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    Asian Identity Reading List

    Exploring Asian & Asian American Identity | Recommended Reading List

    Arkansas NCTA presents "Exploring Asian and Asian American Identity" a recommended reading list for K-12 teachers. For more resource recommendations, check out our Resource Center.

    Inside Out and Back Again: Lai, Thanhhà: 9780061962790: Amazon.com: BooksInside Out & Back Again by Thanhhà Lai

    Recommended Grade Levels: 3-7

    Keywords: Vietnamese American, Immigrant Experiences, Southern America, Historical Fiction

    Lesson Plan: Inside Out & Back Again Novel Study

    Inside Out & Back Again is about a young Vietnamese girl who immigrates to Alabama amidst the fall of Saigon. Use this book in your classroom to teach about wartime Asian immigration to the rural South. 

    Tsunami Girl : Sedgwick, Julian, Kusuwada, Chie: Amazon.nl: BoekenTsunami Girl by Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 5-12

    Keywords: Coming-of-age, Japan, Manga, Tsunami & Disaster

    Lesson Plan: Tsunami Girl Activity Packet

    Tsunami Girl is about a British Japanese girl who navigates survival in Japan after the March 2011 natural disasters. As this book uses an innovative mix of manga and prose, it is accessible to middle grade students.

    Amazon.com: The Magic Fish: (A Graphic Novel): 9781984851598: Nguyen, Trung  Le: BooksThe Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

    Recommended Grade Levels: 7-9

    Keywords: Vietnamese American, Queer Identity, Graphic Novel, Fairy Tales

    Lesson Plan: The Magic Fish | TeachingBooks Guide

    The Magic Fish is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel about a young, queer Vietnamese American who learns to communicate with his immigrant parents through fairy tales, a method that enables him to navigate complex issues such as identity. This book is perfect for teaching Vietnamese American identity.

    Amazon.com: Banned Book Club: 9781945820427: Sook, Kim Hyun, Estrada, Ryan,  Ko, Hyung-Ju: Books

    Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada, illustrated by Hyung-ju Ko 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 7-9

    Keywords: Student Activism, South Korea, Graphic Novel, Chaos & Hope

    Lesson Plan: Banned Book Club | TeachingBooks Guide

    Banned Book Club is about a girl growing up in South Korea during a period of authoritarianism and fights in her own way through the power of reading. This graphic novel explores history through vivid images and is accessible and exciting for middle grades.

    Amazon.com: The War Outside eBook : Hesse, Monica: Kindle StoreThe War Outside by Monica Hesse

    Recommended Grade Levels: 7-12

    Keywords: Japanese American Internment, World War II, Friendship, Betrayal

    Lesson Plan: The War Outside | TeachingBooks Guide

    The War Outside is about two girls—one Japanese American and the other German American—who meet in an internment camp during World War II, forming a bond amidst the struggles of war and imprisonment. As Japanese American internment was a large part of Arkansas's involvement in World War II, this book is relevant for US History or English classes.

    Amazon.com: The Astonishing Color of After: 9780316463997: Pan, Emily X.R.:  BooksThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 7-12

    Keywords: Taiwan, Magical Realism, Grief, Young Adult Literature

    Lesson Plan: The Astonishing Color of After | TeachingBooks Guide

    The Astonishing Color of After follows the vivid imagination of a Taiwanese American girl who navigates grief and acceptance after her mother's suicide. The masterful usage of literary devices in this novel are perfect for high school English classrooms and the book's inclusion of Taiwan is relevant to representing modern Asia.

    Amazon.com: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings: 9780062671158: Oh, Ellen,  Chapman, Elsie, Ahdieh, Renée, Charaipotra, Sona, Chhibber, Preeti,  Chokshi, Roshani, de Bodard, Aliette, de la Cruz, Melissa, Kagawa, Julie,  Kanakia, Rahul, Lee, LoriA Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 8-9

    Keywords: East Asia, South Asia, Folklore & Mythology, Teen & Young Adult Fairy Tale Anthology

    Lesson Plan: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings | TeachingBooks Guide

    A Thousand Beginnings and Endings explores East and South Asian folklore, including exciting tales of star-crossed lovers and immortals. This compilation is effectively a cultural survey and the language utilized makes it accessible to junior high readers.

    Amazon.com: This Time Will Be Different: 9780062473448: Sugiura, Misa: BooksThis Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 8-12

    Keywords: Japanese American Internment, Prejudice & Racism, Queer Identity, Teen & Young Adult Fiction

    Lesson Plan: This Time Will Be Different | TeachingBooks Guide

    This Time Will Be Different is about a Japanese American girl who fights to keep her Northern Californian community together amidst tension. This novel is perfect for English classrooms and teaching about racial prejudice and immigrant communities.


    Amazon.com: Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American:  9780063067776: Gao, Laura, Gao, Laura: BooksMessy Roots by Laura Gao

    Recommended Grade Levels: 9-12

    Keywords: Wuhanese Immigrant Experiences, Texas, Queer Identity, COVID-19

    Messy Roots is about a Wuhanese Texan girl who navigates new revelations about her sexuality, and the growing negative connotation surrounding the town of her birth. This story is relevant to contemporary issues of COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism and would be useful in high school English classrooms. 


    Amazon.com: They Called Us Enemy: 9781603094504: Takei, George, Eisinger,  Justin, Scott, Steven, Becker, Harmony: BooksThey Called Us Enemy by George Takei

    Recommended Grade Levels: 10-12

    Keywords: Japanese American Internment, Graphic Novel, Autobiography, Teen & Young Adult

    Lesson Plan: A Teacher's Guide to George Takei's They Called Us Enemy

    They Called Us Enemy is about George Takei's personal experiences as a child in a Japanese American relocation center during World War II. The graphic novel directly explores the Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas and as such, it would be great to use in a US or Arkansas history class.


    The Waiting: Gendry-Kim, Keum Suk, Hong, Janet: 9781770464575: Amazon.com:  BooksThe Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim 

    Recommended Grade Levels: 10-12

    Keywords: Korean War, Family, Graphic Novel, Biography

    The Waiting is about a biography about a young family in the Korean War who must separate to survive then years later struggles to reunite. This graphic novel explores difficult issues such as war and loss through vivid imagery and would be great for high school history students.

    Who We Are

    Housed within the Asian Studies Program at the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas NCTA aims to empower elementary and secondary school teachers to center East Asian art, literature, history, and culture in their classrooms.

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