12 Heartwarming Middle Grade Books by Asian Authors to Read in Quarantine!

lately, two types of posts have been going around the book blogging community.

the first is recommendations of cozy, feel-good novels to lift your spirits in quarantine, and the second is lists of amazing books to read by Asian authors to support Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage month. (definitely check out Chaima’s, Oliva’s, May’s and Chloe’s posts if you’d like to read some of my favorites!)

i’ve been wanting to publish both of these posts on my blog for the longest time, and when i finally realized that i could combine the two, this post was born!

 

but first: why would i even recommend you MG books by Asian authors?

for one, middle grade books are exactly what we need right now!

as i’ve talked about before, middle grade novels hold a special place in my heart. something about the genre feels very comforting and heartwarming for a variety of reasons…

  • probably like most of you, i grew up reading middle grade books and it was what instilled my love for books!
  • while middle grade novels definitely tackle important themes and topics, they are meant for younger audiences. this means that they are written in smooth, comforting tones. (the opposite of heavy!!)
  • middle grade books are honestly just adorable and reading one is a great way to take a break from the current things going on in the world.

and that is JUST the perfect combination of traits that i’m looking for in a book to read during quarantine!

You Might Also Like: My 6 Favorite Middle Grade Books

for another, it’s Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

since i’m an anonymous blogger (yes, Ash is not my actual name hehe), i don’t really talk a lot about my culture over on my blog… but i’m a very proud indian-american. being represented in media is something that makes me feel so happy & understood, and i really want to encourage diversity in books to help bring that feeling to others!

i know i’ve rarely talked about diversity on my blog before, and this is mainly because i used to want to stay as anonymous as possible. however, i’ve been making a lot of changes on this blog, and those mainly involve talking about diversity and my culture more often!

since i’m just getting into the YA book blogging community and haven’t read as YA many books by Asian authors as i would like to, i feel much more confident giving you diverse MG recommendations.

*wipes brow* that was probably a very long and boring intro, so without further ado… here are my recommendations!!

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9 BOOKS I’VE READ AND LOVED

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park (Korean)

Project Mulberry

a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

i love this book so much!!! it was one of the very first books by an Asian author that i read when i was younger, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Project Mulberry follows Julia Song and her best friend, Patrick, as they decide on a project to complete for the State Fair. Julia’s mother recommends that they raise silkworms, as she did many years ago, and doing this helps Julia discover things about her own personal identity. The family and friend relationships are also beautifully written!

The Grand Plan To Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami (Indian)

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

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i read this book for the first time when i was very young, and while i enjoyed the representation of my culture, it was nothing special to me. however, i reread it with my friends a few years later, and my love for it increased tenfold! The Grand Plan to Fix Everything is about Dini, an 11-year-old girl in love with Bollywood movies. when her mother announces that they are moving internationally to India, an adventure filled with lots of twists and turns follows for Dini. i could immensely relate with everything mentioned in this book, and definitely need to reread it soon!

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon, Starry River of Sky, and When The Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (Chinese)

Starry River of the Sky When the Sea Turned to Silver

a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

 

 

it’s no surprise that Grace Lin’s books are on this list! she was one of my favorite authors growing up, as her luscious prose and well-plotted fantasy novels stole my heart. while these three books aren’t directly part of the same series, they all are set in the same magical world. each follows different characters as they go on special journeys, and the themes are so heartwarming!

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (half-Jordanian)

Other Words for Home

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i rarely read books written in verse, but i was so intrigued by this one! my English teacher even recommended it to our class, so i knew i had to pick it up. and i was right; once i started Other Words for Home, i couldn’t put it down. (i’m not kidding i read it in 2 hours on a plane ok) it’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching story about Jude: a girl who leaves everything she’s ever known to find a new life and hope in America. this novel tackles very heavy themes, but i was left smiling at the end because of the journey Jude goes on and the unexpected friends she finds along the way.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (Pakistani)

Amina's Voice a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

can we just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful cover and title?? like asdfghjkl look at it!! it’s so pretty (yes i know i judge books by their covers but don’t we all)!! still, the actual content of this book is gorgeous as well. i read Amina’s voice when i was younger, so i don’t remember too much about the plot, but i do remember that it was comforting, endearing, and so wholesome and heartwarming. Amina goes on a beautiful journey as this novel progresses, and i loved reading about it! i’ve just realized that most of the books i’m recommending today follow main characters going on journeys to find themselves and their voices. but am i complaining? no. 😉

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (Indian)

Pashmina

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this is a graphic novel that features an interesting magical-realism plot! again, i read this when i was younger, so finding bits of my culture sprinkled throughout was just so lovely. Pashmina follows Priyanka, a girl who is dying to know more about her roots, as she finds a magical pashmina (scarf) to transport her into what she hopes is really India.  if that didn’t convince you enough, the artwork in this graphic novel is. simply. beautiful!!!! i can still remember flipping through the thick, smooth pages in awe of the drawings and colors and just everything coming together.

A Wish In The Dark by Christina Soontornvat (Thai)

A Wish in the Dark a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

alright, i lied… it’s currently Friday night as i’m writing this, and i haven’t finished reading this! however, i’m very close to the end and just know that it’s going to be one of my favorite reads, so i couldn’t help but add it to this list. i’ve read little to no books with Thai rep, so after May @ Forever and Everly recommended this, i knew i had to read it. A Wish In The Dark is a Thai fantasy retelling of Les Misérables, and i just love every single part of it – the world, the characters, the themes, the plot, everything!! i can almost guarantee that the themes explored will leave heartwarming messages to all readers of this novel.

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3 BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ YET (but really want to)

See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Chinese)

See You in the Cosmos

a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

i can’t deal with how pretty the cover of this book is. i mean, just look at it!!! 😍😍 not only that, but the premise of See You In The Cosmos sounds very magical and lovely. it seems like this revolves around strong family and friendship themes, which i am so here for. the premise indicates that this follows an 11-year-old boy’s journey to send in iPod into space as he ends up learning more about the importance of family along the way… and i absolutely love that!!

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly (Filipino)

The Land of Forgotten Girls

a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA

whatever it is with these stunning covers, i’m not complaining. the artwork on this is adorable, and i can already tell that this will have strong sisterly bonds! sister relationships are so underrated in books, and i was so happy to see that this one revolved around one. the premise indicates that this will be about a girl who resides in the comfort of spinning stories in order to make her life more hopeful, and the themes about hope and change in this one also seem impactful and heartwarming.

The Year Of The Dog by Grace Lin (Chinese)

The Year of the Dog

a-goodreads-button | Eating Disorder Therapy LA
ok, i know i mentioned a lot of Grace Lin’s books above, but she’s just such an amazing author that i couldn’t help but add this one as well! The Year Of The Dog sounds like a very wholesome and light-hearted novel that will still tackle important topics about personal identity and culture! plus, this is a contemporary MG novel, so it might have a different tone from her fantasy novels  – and i think i’ll love both styles!
 
that concludes all my recommendations for today! again, happy Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month!! ♡
 
 
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have you read any of these books? what are some of your favorite MG novel covers? does reading MG books bring you the same heartwarming feeling?

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60 thoughts on “12 Heartwarming Middle Grade Books by Asian Authors to Read in Quarantine!

  1. ash!! this list!! i love it!!! middle grade books have always been some of my favorites to read because they’re so *pure* – away from adult-y things and uncomplicated and beautiful! i haven’t read many of these (aghhh i need to start reading!) but ‘where the mountain meets the moon’ and its companion books are my absolute favorite middle grade novels! wtmmtm was actually my very first diverse book ever, and so it has a special place in my heart – so you including it in your list made me smile so much.
    thank you for putting this list together! we certainly need happy, heartwarming books in this time ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. awww thank you so much Sara!!! i totally agree – i love getting lost in MG books because they’re so pure!! ahh yay, Where The Mountain Meets The Moon is just so beautiful. it was definitely one of my first diverse books, i’m really happy that you enjoyed it too! 😆 your comment made me so, so happy, thank you for reading! 😊💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow okay firstly I had to Google up what middle-grade books were (sorry, really bad with terms😂) and then I realised middle grade books are absolutely my favourite too! Only I never realised that it was a particular genre. I lovee them so much, especially because it gives us the real school-life. Most books featuring high-school are kids wanting to be adults so those never garde up🖖
    I dont think I’ve read any Asian authors but all middle grade books are worth reading so I’ll definitely let you know after I read them!🥳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha no worries!!! 😂 i’m so happy that you also love MG books, you couldn’t have said it better – MG is such an underappreciated genre and i love it so much! i can’t wait for you to read these books 💖

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  3. I read so much middle grade before transitioning into YA and adult books! One of my favorites is Counting by 7s (ethnically ambiguous MC with Vietnamese side characters!), but I can’t quite remember many MG books with Asian rep. Thank you for these recommendations, Ash! This post made me feel very warm inside ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post! Of these I’ve only heard of Grace Lin’s books but have yet to read them… But wow, the diversity is amazing– I LOVE Thailand so I’m definitely checking out A Wish in the Dark! And a Pakistani MG read? Also might I add that India is amazing and beautiful [and I’ve never even been there but #goals] and so not only do I appreciate these recs, I think it’s SUPER COOL that you’re Indian-American. 🙌

    I’ve read Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi– a MG Hindi mythology story in the style of PJO? Have you read that one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, Merie!!! definitely let me know what you think if you end up reading them! and aww that’s really sweet 😊❤

      oh my goodness – i just remembered Aru Shah and The End Of Time! it completely slipped my mind to add it in this post, but it was such a lovely read. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this list so much!! What a perfect recommendations list for May, I couldn’t have enjoyed reading this post more.💛I love middle grade and I never really have new recommendations for it since I mostly read YA/blogs mention YA, so this was perfect!! I just put a hold on A Wish in the Dark and I can’t wait to read it soon, and wow, Amina’s Voice looks really good and the cover is so pretty too.

    Grace Lin’s books are some of my favorite middle grades!! I’ve read Year of the Dog (and the other two books in the series) more times than I can count and this made me want to reread them right now. I think you’ll really love them and I also think they’re semi-autobiographical which is super cool! Thank you so much for this post, Ash, as well for mentioning mine in it, that was so kind of you!! I hope you’re doing well xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww thank you, Olivia!! your comment made my day ahh 💛💛 i’m so happy you enjoyed these recommendations, AWITD is so perfect and i hope you like it!! (also i totally agree – the cover of Amina’s Voice is stunning)

      yesss, i love Grace Lin’s fantasy novels so i’m really excited to read Year Of The Dog! (oh i had no idea it was a series… definitely adding the rest of the books to my tbr haha) and yes, i remember reading somewhere that they were partly autobiographical, which is so lovely as well. aww of course, you totally deserve it, and thank you so much for your sweet comment!! 😭💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely love the way you format your posts and embed things! it’s so nice on the eyes and helpful too!
    i also love middle grade books … they really are just so enjoyable to read. thanks for the awesome list of reccs!
    power to the local dreamer ||-//

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay I haven’t read that particular book by Linda Sue Park but I LOVE LINDA SUE PARK SO MUCH. When My Name Was Keoko was a book I adored back when I was a kid. It was so amazing. I haven’t read any of the books on this list (I don’t tend to read a lot of middle grade anymore), but now I really want to check some of them out! They sound really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that you’re combining the two recommendation trends of the moment – it’s perfect! 😀 And I definitely agree that middle grade is the perfect feel-good thing to read at the moment. I haven’t read any of the ones that you listed, but I own Other Words For Home (it sounds so heartwarming!) and really want to read Grace Lin’s books. Thank you for these lovely recommendations!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh thank you SO much, Margaret!! i’m so glad you agree, mg is a perfect genre to read at the moment. Other Words For Home definitely has all the heartwarming feels, i can’t wait for you to read it along with the rest of these!! thank you for reading!! 💖

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  9. I love this! So! Much! And NO, your intro was not boring, I loved it so much!!! Literally my entire post about Never Have I Ever was like your intro 🙂
    I have read basically none of these 😭 but I have read Where The Mountains Meet The Sea by Grace Lin I think!! Is that the one about the girl made of starlight? Whoops I forgot XD but I remember loving it.
    Thank you for making this list girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg thank you so much!!!! that’s so sweet 😭😭 (and yess i loved that post sm 😍❤) lol no worries, i definitely recommend them all though! i… don’t really remember if Where The Mountain Meets The Moon was about a girl made of starlight? hehe but i agree – it really was amazing! aw thank YOU for making me smile!! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw no problem Ash! Thank youuu <3🥺 Haha I literally can't remember but there was another Asian MG book where someone drank starlight HAHA. Also- I made an aesthetics post for TRC characters which linked back to yours on your old blog!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. i love this post, ash!! i’m very sad to say i’ve only read one of these books (a wish in the dark haha—which i am SO happy you’re loving and that you picked it up on my recommendation 🥺💖). i’m planning on reading amina’s voice very soon though, so i’m extra excited for it after seeing what you wrote about it!! i’ve also heard amazing things about grace lin’s books, especially from my sister, and i’m really glad you love her books ❤ thank you so much for the excellent recommendations!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank YOU for recommending AWITD to me, it is so perfect and i am really glad i picked it up!! 😊 and oh, definitely let me know what you think about Amina’s Voice – it’s a beautiful book! Grace Lin is an amazing author as well, i think you would love her books! aww thank you so much, May!!! 💖💖

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  11. Thank you so much for this post, Ash. I’m trying to find good MG novels to get my 12-year-old sister into reading, but I’ve never really read anything but YA and Adult titles. There’s bound to be at least one book in this post that she will love (she’s so picky).

    If it were for me, I’d get them all, but I’m pretty sure she will like Grace Lin’s.

    Again, thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad this post was able to help, all of these books are definitely lovely!! Grace Lin’s books are so amazing and i hope your sister enjoys them, definitely let me know what you both think. 😊

      thank YOU so much for your sweet comment, Alice!! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This was a lovely post and I loved getting to read your introduction and all your recommendations !! I agree Middle Grade books are so comforting and often have a lovely, heart-warming journey. I also love ones which emphasis on friendships !!
    Grace Lin definitely sounds like an interesting author and I will have to pick up her books to experience them !! Amina’s Voice (I agree the cover is stunning) and Pashmina (the plot sounds so interesting and I would love to experience the art) both sound wonderful reads too. Thank you for bringing them to my attention !! I recently saw The Serpent’s Secret and that looks like a really good Middle Grace book that I want to read !! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww, thank you, Sophie!!! yessss, MG books that focus on friendship and family bonds are just perfection haha. 😅 Grace Lin’s books have a special fantasy element that i think you would love!! and Amina’s Voice and Pashmina are both beautiful design and content wise. 😊

      thank you so much, Sophie! 💖💖 oooh, i’ve never heard of The Serpent’s Secret but i’ll definitely have to check it out!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my gosh I freaking LOVED Grace Lin’s books when I was younger and I feel like I forgot about her?? But this post reminded me and now I really want to reread them ❤ I loved those fantasy books, and also the contemporary books especially Year of the Rat (and since it's the year of the rat rn maybe I should reread that one haha). such a great post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha yessss i totally forgot about all my favorite MG books before writing this post!! i’m so glad that this reminded you how much you loved them. ❤❤ ah it’s so great that you love the rest of these as well! 😊 i had no idea that Year Of The Dog was part of a series lol but i should definitely read all of them now. thank you so much, Kay 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh this is such a little gem of a post, thank you for sharing! I don’t usually read MG books, but I’ve been meaning to give them a try and this is such a good list to start off with. I’m so curious about Other Words For Home, it sounds so good and I love that cover so much! ❤

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  15. I love Middle Grade toooooo!! I should read it more often. XD These sound amazing and I added a few to my TBR. Thai fantasy Les Mis retelling sounds like something I need in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t really read MG anymore but I definitely remember them being so comforting and lovely! the books in this list sound so amazing and I’ll deffo have to check them out! also hi from a fellow Indian! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fantastic list, so many of these books are new to me which is wonderful. Plus a Thai Les Miserables sounds amazing 😍 MG is another genre that I want to read more (not in the least because I have a few unread ones on my Kindle 😅).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. i love this list (and thank you for mentioning mine)! i agree with you that mg books are essential during difficult times like these – they always make me so soft!! also, i didn’t know grace lin’s where the mountain meets the moon had related books, and i really hope to read those soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad you enjoyed this, Chloe!! (and of course, your list was absolutely amazing!) ahhh yes mg books are so soft and precious and i love them so much. 🥺😅 you should definitely check out the related books, i hope you enjoy them! ❤

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  19. Hello Ash!
    I loved this list so much. I am recently discovered MG books and quickly fell in love with this age category for fiction 🙂 I’ll have to take a look at the books by Grace Lin since I don’t think I’ve read any books by this author yet. I really loved Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga which is also one of my MG favourites. Another MG book I love is Front Desk by Kelly Yang which is about a young Chinese girl who immigrated to America with her family 🙂

    Like

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