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May 2024 Selections

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month


Alice, magically beckoned by her favorite book, stepping into the pages of an exciting storyOnce Upon a Book

by Grace Lin and Kate Messner

Alice loves to imagine herself in the magical pages of her favorite book. So when it flaps its pages and invites her in, she is swept away to the world of wonder and adventure, riding camels in the desert, swimming under the sea with colorful fish, floating in outer space, and more! But when her imaginative journey comes to an end, she yearns for the place she loves best of all.


The inside of a subway car, with people sitting in seats and standing in the aisleI Am the Subway

by Kim Hyo-eun, translation by Deborah Smith

Accompanied by the constant rumbling ba-dum ba-dum  of its passage through the city, the subway has stories to tell. Between sunrise and sunset, it welcomes and farewells people and holds them — along with their joys, hopes, fears, and memories — in its embrace.


Primary (Kindergarten–Grade 2)

A girl reading her book wide-eyed as she watches a flat ant run across the pagesAnt in a Book

by Yimei Wang, illustrations by Cao Cao

When an ant finds himself flattened in a book and moves from page to page, he inspires the Chinese characters printed on them to start moving too, and they create new stories every day.



Usha looking at the Big Dipper and other sparkling stars in the dark night skyUsha and the Big Digger

by Amitha Jagannath Knight, illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat

When sisters Usha and Aarti look up at the stars, they see different things. Aarti sees the Big Dipper, but Usha sees the Big DIGGER. And cousin Gloria sees the Big Kite! Could they all be right? A playful introduction to geometry and spatial relationships, featuring Indian American characters and a note about cultures and constellations.


Intermediate (Grades 3–5)

A girl holding a bowl of wonton soup, surrounded by various Chinese foods, fortune cookies, and dragons Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods

by Grace Lin

Separated into courses like a Chinese menu, these tales — based in real history and folklore — are filled with squabbling dragons, magical fruits, and hungry monks. This book will take you to far-off times and marvelous places, all while making your mouth water. And, along the way, you might just discover a deeper understanding of the resilience and triumph behind this food and what makes it undeniably American.


José and Mamá, laughing and hugging in happier times, as Papá smilingly looks onFrom North to South/Del Norte al Sur

by René Colato Laínez, illustrations by Joe Cepeda

José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will Mamá be able to come home?


Middle School (Grades 6–8)

Ten-year-old Lina Gao walking through her new American neighborhood with her little sister Finally Seen

by Kelly Yang

When ten-year-old Lina Gao steps off the plane in Los Angeles, it's her first time in America and the first time seeing her parents and her little sister in five years! She has been waiting for this moment every day while she lived with her grandmother in Beijing, getting teased by kids at school who called her the "left behind girl." Finally, her parents are ready for her to join their fabulous life in America! Except . . . it's not exactly what she expected.


Young Juan Francisco Manzano, looking very sad, with a bird at his sideThe Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano 

by Margarita Engle, illustrations by Sean Qualls

Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.


High School (Grades 9–12)

May Chen swimming through darkness, moving up toward lightThe Silence that Binds Us

by Joanna Ho

Maybelline Chen isn't the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter that her mother expects her to be. May's beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered. 

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much "pressure" on him. May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It's up to May to take back the narrative.


George Takei as a small child, looking directly at us as he waits in line at a Japanese American "relocation center"They Called Us Enemy

by George Takei , Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illustrations by Harmony Becker

In 1942, people of Japanese descent were captured and sent to one of ten "relocation centers."

This is Takei's story about those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, and how with the support of his parents and his experiences, he sowed the seeds of his amazing future.


Books in Spanish

Micaela standing in front of a haciendaMicaela

de Adalucía (escuela media a secundaria)

Micaela vibra en las entrañas de sus lectores con un latido nuevo . . . Y nos acostumbramos a ella como si la conociéramos desde siempre, como un perfume antiguo o un exquisito recuerdo que entretiene y endulza el corazón.


To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to Sora* (formerly OverDrive) and log in with your MPS student ID number.

*Some titles are not available through Sora.

To access the books on our monthly MPS Reads book lists, visit your school library or local library, or go online to Sora* (formerly OverDrive) and log in with your MPS student ID number.

*Some titles are not available through Sora.

Suggest a book

If you would like to recommend a book title, please fill out this form:


Reading Curriculum Specialist:

Tanya D. Evans, Ph.D.
Phone: 414-475-8110

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2023
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