Book Reviews

Sweet monster story has an S.F. J-Town tie-in

Silly Green Mask By Judith Kajiwara, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Oakland, Calif.: Lowkey Publishing, 2022, 38 pp., $24.99, hard cover) “Silly Green Mask” is a sweet story with a surprising ending and an important lesson for very young readers. Tamiko is a joyful young girl who lives with her mom and her younger sister Mariko. […]

Making friends, one origami at a time

Yuna’s Cardboard Castles By Marie Tang, illustrated by Jieting Chen (Minneapolis: Beaming Books, 2023, 40 pp., $18.99, hard cover) This is a cute, simple story about how children can face moving to another country (or even another city) and making friends. A little girl named Yuna moves with her parents from Japan to the U.S. […]

Serving her country with tenacity, gratitude and compassion

A Life of Service: The Story of Sen. Tammy Duckworth By Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2022, 48 pp., $18.99, hard cover) Award-winning Thai American creators introduce children to Thai American Sen. Ladda Tammy Duckworth, an extraordinary woman and an American hero. Christina Soontornvat gives a comprehensive look at Duckworth’s […]

On girl power

You are Revolutionary! By Cindy Wang Brandt, illustrated by Lynnor Bontigao (Minneapolis: Beaming Books, 2021, 32 pp., $17.99, hard cover) This is a cute book about how diverse children grow up and learn to help others, raise their voices, and take a stand. The illustrations are endearing. I enjoyed reading this book. The story starts […]

A poetry walk

Kiyoshi’s Walk By Mark Karlins and Illustrated by Nicole Wong (New York: Lee and Low Books, 2021, 32 pp., $19.95, hard cover) “Where do poems come from?” asks young Kiyoshi of his grandfather, the wise poet Eto, as he watched his grandfather write the short Japanese haiku-style poem: “The dripping faucet Takes me back to […]

Drawing The True Tokyo Rose: Iva Toguri, an American

TOKYO ROSE — ZERO HOUR By Andre Frattino and illustrated by Kate Kasenow. (North Clarendon, Vt., Tuttle Publishing, 2022, 128 pp., $16.99, hardcover) “Tokyo Rose — Zero Hour” is a graphic novel about Iva Toguri, a Japanese American woman who was trapped in Japan during World War II. Pressured to give up her U.S. citizenship, […]

A feast for JA foodies

TABEMASHO! LET’S EAT! By Gil Asakawa (Albany, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 2022, 216 pp., $18.95, hardcover) On the surface, “Tabemasho! Let’s Eat!” is a book on the history of Japanese food in America. But really, Gil Asakawa has written a book that is part history book, memoir and column all rolled in one. Full of […]

Who are we?

WE ARE HERE: 30 INSPIRING ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS WHO HAVE SHAPED THE UNITED STATES By Naomi Hirahara, illustrated by Illianette Ferandez (New York: Running Press Kids, 2022, 128 pp., $17.99, hardcover) People from Asia and the Pacific arrive on these shores and imagine their lineage still linked to their country of origin. They […]

How and why to cook with a wok

THE WOK, RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES By J. Kenji López-Alt (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2022, 666 pp., $49.50, hardcover) If you have a more-than-casual interest in cooking, or look for recipes with search engine phrases that begin with “the best recipe for,” or “the best way to,” chances are, you have come across […]

‘Charming ghost story’ meets adventure novel

TEMPLE ALLEY SUMMER By Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa. (New York: Restless Books, 2021, 240 pp., $18, hardcover) Walking down the back streets of the Minami Odori District, traces of a secret past come to life in “Temple Alley Summer,” a captivating modern-day mystery that is both a charming […]