May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. If you have been following me on socials for a while, you know that I have been doing a book a day for AAPI Heritage Month for a few years. I was thinking that this year, it may be a good idea to put them all in one place so I decided to share all of the books here so you can reference them easily throughout the year instead of having to scroll back through socials, and if you want to incorporate them during AAPIHM (or any other time of year!) you can!

(Full disclosure: some affiliate links. I get a small kickback and it won’t change your price. No pressure!)

1: Masala Chai, Fast and Slow

Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Neha Rawat
ISBN: 978-1536219401
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is a great book to read with your Kinders if you are working on fast/slow!

2: Seven Gold Rings

Author: Rajani LaRocca
Illustrator: Archana Sreenivasan
ISBN: 978-1885008978
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book definitely has a math component to it, but this would be a wonderful book to introduce music from India. I could also see this being used as a sound story with the gold rings and other repeated elements. Students could create sounds for each of these repeated themes.

3: Roshan’s Road to Music

Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Priyanka Tampi
ISBN: 978-0143451624
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book is about Annapurna Devi who was an Indian surbahar player of Hindustani classical music. It would be a wonderful introduction to her and her music.
Listening Link:

4: Dancing Devi

Author: Priya S. Parikh
Illustrator: N. Dejeshwini
ISBN: 978-1735031934
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: An introduction to Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, is introduced in this book.
Viewing Link:

5: Kailani’s Gift

Author: Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young
Illustrator: Lynnor Bontigao
ISBN: 978-0593577790
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is a great book to introduce tinikling! It even features the tapping pattern and a few dance patterns so it will work really well if you are introducing the dance! Plus there is a nice practice/believe in yourself theme that is great helping students understand preparation.

6: Let’s Go Intayon!

Author: Avi Penhollow
Illustrator: Avi Penhollow
ISBN: 979-8861718813
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is a dual language book based on an original song in the Filipino dialect Ilocano which is from the Northern Luzon region of the Philippines.

7: Anni Dreams of Biryani

Author: Namita Moolani Mehra
Illustrator: Chaaya Prabhat
ISBN: 978-1542030410
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book title could work well as an ostinato to add to the pages. Not only that but it could pair with the chant Chop Chop Chippety Chop as it involves cooking. You could add an element of creating a different sound for each ingredient and then adding a cumulative element between pages.

8: The Indian Dance Show

Author: Radhika Sen
Illustrator: Ekaterina Ilina
ISBN: 978-1645439356
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: I know I say books are beautiful all the time but this one is SO gorgeous. The images are some of the most vibrant ones I can remember and the colors jump off the page. This book is a wonderful introduction to multiple forms of Indian dance including Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Bollywood, Bhangra, Giddha, Raas and Garba, Filmi Qawwali, Bengali Folk, Manipuri, and Kathakali.

9: Aloha Everything

Author: Kaylin Melia George
Illustrator: Mae Wait
ISBN: 978-1636551128
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is about a young girl who begins to connect to her culture as she starts learning Hula.

10: Everyone Loves Lunchtime but Zia

Author: Jenny Liao
Illustrator: Dream Chen
ISBN: 978-0593425428
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is another book that I would create sound elements to. There are several different foods mentioned and each could have it’s own sound.

11: A Voice in the Time of Darkness: The Songs of Susan Fernandez-Mango

Author: Luchie B. Maranan
Illustrator: Shan Maurice Jose
ISBN: 978-9715697897
Buy the book
Use: A biography about Susan Fernandez-Magno, a performer and political activist in the ’80’s. She was “The Voice of the Protest Generation” and the “Nightingale of the Philippine Progressive Political Movement”. 

12: Dim Sum, Here We Come!

Author, Illustrator: Maple Lam
ISBN: 978-0062396983
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: “Dim Sum, Here We Come!” is the perfect ostinato to add to this book. Let your students create an ostinato using the title, and insert it in between each page of the book.

13: Piper Chen Sings

Author: Philip Soo, Maris Pasquale Doran 
Illustrator: Qin Leng
ISBN: 978-0593564691
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is a great book to read when you’ve got students with a little performance anxiety.

14: Amy Wu and the Ribbon Dance

Author: Kat Zhang
Illustrator: Charlene Chua
ISBN: 978-1665916721
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This can be used to introduce the Chinese ribbon dance.
Viewing Link:
More Info on Ribbon Dancing:

15: Drummer Girl

Author: Hiba Masood 
Illustrator: Hoda Hadadi
ISBN: 978-0990625971
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book is about Najma who wants to be the musaharati which is the drummer that wakes the neighborhood for a pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. This can be part of a discussion that music is used for more than entertainment. Many cultures relied on music and instruments for communication and this can help students make that connection.
Viewing Link:

16: The Yellow Áo Dài

Author: Hanh Bui
Illustrator: Minnie Phan
ISBN: 978-1250842060
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: An introduction to traditional Vietnamese fan dancing.
Viewing Link:

17: Bum Tiyaya Bum

Author: Traditional, Translated by Angela Narciso Torres
Illustrator: Sergio Bumatay III
ISBN: 978-6214220489
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: A wonderful way to introduce nursery rhymes and songs from Filipino culture.

18: Holding On

Author: Sophia N. Lee
Illustrator: Isabel Roxas
ISBN: 978-1534494459
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This can be used as an introduction to Filipino culture and the kundiman (traditional Filipino love songs, sometimes not about love but intense longing, caring and devotion. Not just romantic love but also for family, the motherland or ideal or cause.

19: Tala Learns to Siva

Author: Kealani Netane
Illustrator: Dung Ho
ISBN: 978-1338859317
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: An introduction to Samoan dance, the taualuga.
Viewing Link:

20: Sunday in Kyoto

Author: Gilles Vigneault 
Illustrator: Stéphane Jorisch
ISBN: 978-2923163567
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book from Secret Mountain Publishing comes with it’s own CD and several songs to accompany the book. Several multicultural instruments are mentioned.

21: Summer Moonlight Concert

Author, Illustrator: Han Han
ISBN: 978-2924774878
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: A lovely book which can lead as an introduction to the erhu. The story is about an impromptu concert the child’s family gives in the courtyard when the power goes out.
Listening Link:

22: Ramen for Everyone

Author: Patricia Tanumihardja 
Illustrator: Shiho Pate 
ISBN: 978-1665904353
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book has a fun comic book style illustration for lots of onomatopoeia words. Students could create a sound to accompany each word and add it to a dramatic reading of the book.

23: Sinat & The Instrument of the Heart: A Story of Cambodia

Author: Chath pierSath 
Illustrator: Vann Nath 
ISBN: 978-1607270874
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book is about Sinat learning the Kse Diev which is the oldest instrument of Cambodia, dating back to the 7th century. The practice of this instrument almost died out as a result of gen0cide in the country but is being carried on by a few musicians. Called the “instrument of the heart” because the gourd part of the instrument is held against the heart as it is played.

24: Natsumi!

Author: Susan Lendroth
Illustrator: Priscilla Burris 
ISBN: 978-0399170904
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: Introduce Taiko Drumming to your students with Natsumi!
Listening Link:

25: That Sounds Like… Emma Discovers Chinese Musical Instruments

Author: Patty Chan
Illustrator: Emerald Lee
ISBN: 978-1775204824
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This TRI-lingual book is an introduction to Chinese Musical Instruments.

26: Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine

Author: Hannah Moushabeck
Illustrator: Reem Madooh
ISBN: 978-1797202051
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book mentions Uum Kulthum (spelled differently in the book), a popular singer in the Middle East as well as the dabble which is an Arabic folk dance. This would be an also good book to introduce traditional Palestinian music.
Listening Links:

27: Girls Rock Indonesia

Author: Claudia Bellante
Illustrator: Josefina Schargorodsky
ISBN: 978-1623718084
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This is about three young Muslim girls in Indonesia who discover their love for heavy metal music and their pursuit of that. This is not really a book for conceptual learning but a book for representation.

28: The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round

Author: Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Illustrator: Lorian Tu
ISBN: 978-1338621198
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This singable book is actually a parody of the tune “The Wheels On the Bus”. An inclusionary parody your students will love!

29: She Sang for India: How M.S. Subbulakshmi Used Her Voice for Change 

Author: Suma Subramaniam
Illustrator: Shreya Gupta
ISBN: 978-0374388744
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book is about M.S. Subbulakshmi who broke down barriers for girls performing music, as well as her role in India’s freedom.
Listening Link:

30: Good Song, The: A Story Inspired by “Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World”

Author: Alexandria Giardino
Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
ISBN: 978-1944903831
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: The one has some lovely beautiful images, a multigenerational theme, as well as loss and learning to accept loss. A lovely book with an SEL component for your classroom, this book was inspired by the music of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole and his music so it is perfect for a tied in listening lesson.
Listening Link: This is Hawai’i Aloha which is how he often ended his concerts.

31: Look! What Do You See?: An Art Puzzle Book of American and Chinese Songs

Bonus Book: The Mats

Author: Francisco Arcellana
Illustrator: Hermès Alègrè
ISBN: 978-0916291860
Buy the book on Amazon
Use: This book is about a man who comes home from a trip to Manila with fancy sleeping mats for his whole family. This is a bit of a tear-jerker and definitely got me. While nothing overly musical jumps out at me this one may be a good book to include if you are working with Filipino music. Sometimes it’s important to simply include that book that doesn’t have a musical use as a window/mirror/sliding glass door for students.

Get links to all of them here:

I hope this has given you some great ideas for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and all year round! If you want a few more in depth pictures of each book, make sure you follow me on Facebook or Instagram so you can see the preview pics as I post them.

Melissa Stouffer-1

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