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  • Writer's pictureRebekah Qu

Alphabet Books by Asian Authors and Illustrators

Updated: Jan 25



While alphabet books are a fantastic way to introduce children to letters, I know that the standard "A is for Apple" can get a bit repetitive. That's why I've put together a list that showcases a diverse group of Asian authors and illustrators who have created alphabet books that incorporate Asian American, Chinese, Khmer, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and other cultures and languages. These books not only teach the ABCs but also introduce children to different cultures and promote diversity and inclusion. I hope you enjoy exploring these wonderful alphabet books and discovering new cultures and languages along the way!


Shop this list on Bookshop or Amazon.


Jump to Book:



 

ABC in Vietnamese

(Food Edition: A Bilingual Guide to Vietnamese Cuisine)

ABC in Vietnamese (Food Edition: A Bilingual Guide to Vietnamese Cuisine) from Embe Books

Author: Jessie Duong (@embebooks)

Illustrator: Rara Andira F




“ABC in Vietnamese Food Edition” is a wonderful introduction to both the Vietnamese alphabet and culinary delights of Vietnam. Each of the 29 letters is accompanied by a delectable Vietnamese food, with the name written in both Vietnamese and English. The pages come alive with a vibrant yet subtle color palette, complemented by beautiful illustrations. The diverse array of foods presented provides the opportunity to expose young readers to new foods like grilled frog legs and bird’s nest soup.


Overall, “ABC in Vietnamese Food Edition” provides a perfect blend of language and flavors, where the Vietnamese alphabet and a rich tapestry of culinary delights come together in a visually stunning and mouthwatering experience for both young readers and their adventurous palates.



ABCs for the American Born Chinese

ABCs for the American Born Chinese by Cathy Lu

Author/Illustrator: Cathy Lu (@abcsforabcs)




ABCs for the American Born Chinese is by Cathy Lu. Cathy Lu is a software developer and self-taught artist. This book is her self-published debut and is a celebration of Chinese American culture through foods. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by foods like bok choy, ginger, persimmon, taro, and winter melon. The illustrations are beautiful works of art, very realistic and detailed.


ABCs of Cambodia

ABCs of Cambodia by Kiri Schwiet

Author/Illustrator: Kiri Schwiet (@kirikirei and @laaah.khmer)




The ABCs of Cambodia introduces bits of Khmer culture for each letter of the English alphabet. Each beautifully illustrated spread includes an English word, the Khmer translation and romanization, and a short explanation. I love how many of the letters are incorporated into the illustrations. This book is a real treasure for anyone wanting to teach their children about Khmer culture. As the author says on the back cover, “where you are shouldn’t stop you from celebrating who you are”.



Adobo, Boba, Chai


Author/Illustrator: Angel Halo Chang (@angelhalochang)




As seen on Kickstarter, ABC: Adobo, Boba, Chai is an A-to-Z alphabet children's board book that celebrates Asian American values. Currently fulfilling Kickstarter preorders. General availability orders to come Spring 2023. (From author website)



A is for Asian American: An Asian Pacific Island Desi American Alphabet

A is for Asian American: An Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alphabet book

Author: Virginia Loh-Hagan (@vlohhagan)

Illustrator: Tracy Nishimura Bishop (@tracybishopart)




“A is for Asian American” is an alphabet book celebrating the food, cultures, celebrations, and history of Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans! It’s so much more than an alphabet book though. Each page his the typical “A is for…B is for…”, but it also contains a short rhyming description of each word or phrase and a much longer description or background in a side panel. I learned a lot reading through the side panel descriptions, which I think give this book a much larger audience age range than most alphabet books. The illustrations are fantastic and capture the diversity of the people and cultures in the book.


The front and back matter also contain additional materials, such as “Little-Known Milestones You Need to Know” from history, a vocabulary list, and some fun and educational activities to celebrate Filipinx American History Month (October) and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American History/Heritage Month (May).



Asian Adventures A-Z

Asian Adventures A-Z by Yobe Qiu

Author: Yobe Qiu (@byyobeqiu)

Illustrator: Jade Le (@jadele.illustration)




Can you name the Asian cities, food, holidays, and others from A-Z?


Join us for a fun adventure as we journey through Asia from A-Z. Each page highlights the traditions and cultures of Asia's beautiful countries while also teaching your little ones the alphabet! (From Author Website)



Asian Adventures: Delicious Asian Foods from A-Z

Asian Adventures Delicious Foods from A-Z by Yobe Qiu

Author: Yobe Qiu (@byyobeqiu)

Illustrator: Cynthia Li




"Asian Adventures: Delicious Asian Foods from A-Z!" is an enticing alphabet book that celebrates the culinary wonders of Asia. This delightful book takes young readers on a mouthwatering journey through the diverse cuisines of Asia. Each letter of the alphabet is paired with a delectable dish, accompanied by a brief yet informative description. Whether children are unfamiliar with these delicious foods or eager to see their favorite dishes represented, this book serves as an excellent tool for expanding young palates and fostering a sense of culinary exploration.



Doubly Happy: ABCs for ABCs

Doubly Happy ABCs for ABCs by Anna Wong

Author / Illustrator: Anna Wong (@doublyhappy)




This alphabet book celebrates the combination of Chinese and American culture through rich, colorful illustrations and rhyming descriptions. The color scheme and way the wording is incorporated into the illustrations is really fun and eye catching! The back matter has several pages of fun facts and details about each of the items chosen to represent the letters in the book.

The author’s notes at the end explains the inspiration behind the book. “‘Doubly Happy’ shares the pride I feel for my culture, my two halves.”



E is for Egg Tart

E is for Egg Tart A Multicultural Alphabet Book

Author: Jessica Lam (@eisforeggtart)

Illustrator: Nevy Liang (@nevs.art)




The book introduces words related to Asian culture from A to Z, accompanied by a beautiful illustration. Each word has a short, rhyming description, which makes the book quite fun to read out loud. Some of the words have pronunciation guides and Pinyin if applicable.


I love the mission behind the book as described on the Kickstarter campaign page. “We want this book to show children from an Asian background that, from A to Z, their culture is relevant, important, and should be celebrated. For children of all backgrounds, this book will describe many familiar words but hopefully will also evoke curiosity—and maybe a few readers will even venture to try an egg tart for the very first time.”



Em Học Tiếng Việt: A Vietnamese Alphabet Book

A Vietnamese Alphabet Book from Gemma's Library

Author / Illustrator: Chau Nguyen Bui (@gemmas.library)




Gemma’s Library, created by Vietnamese-American mom, Chau Nguyen Bui, is home to bilingual Vietnamese-English books to help little librarians learn Vietnamese! This book introduces the Vietnamese alphabet. Each letter is accompanied by a Vietnamese word and the English translation. Like the Colors of the Rainbow, the illustrations are simple and focused with a nice color palette. All the books have a nice matte finish and feel like they would be somewhat water resistant.



Noodles, Please

Noodles, please by Little Picnic Press

Author: Cheryl Yau Chepusava (@littlepicnicpress)

Illustrator: Rebecca Hollingsworth




This fun, bowl-shaped ABC board book introduces little foodies to 26 different noodle dishes from around the world. The illustrations are mouth-watering! We were excited to see some of our favorites featured - Japchae and Naengmyeon from Korea, QQ Noodles from Taiwan, and Ramen from Japan!



R is for Rice

R is for Rice by JKL Teahouse

Authors: Susan Hsia Lew, Joanna Kong, Nithin Jilla (@risforrice)

Illustrator: Christine Diaz




R is for Rice is a rhyming ABC book filled with Asian American foods. From bibimbap, bento, and banh mi to samosa, soy sauce, and sushi, it’s a delicious journey through a diverse array of foods!



Taiwanese Eats (A Bopomofo Foodie Book)

A Little Book of Taiwanese Eats A Bopomofo Foodie Book

Author: Maryann Chu (@ourlittlemando)

Illustrator: Stephany Lai




The book teaches the Bopomofo phonetic alphabet through delicious Taiwanese dishes! Each page focuses on a dish and has its name in Pinyin, Chinese characters, Zhuyin (Bopomofo), and English. Each dish is accompanied by a fun, rhyming description in English. The illustrations are so adorable, and I love the Taiwanese Black Bear that pops up in many of them! I think my favorite pages are the one where little peanut characters are jumping into tofu pudding and the one where the Taiwanese Black Bear is taking a nap wrapped up in a sesame flatbread!



Tasting Chinatown

Tasting Chinatown from A to Z by ABC Digest

By: Ashley Chang and Jeffrey Chan (@theabcdigest)




Discover the diverse, vibrant flavors of Chinatown–from A to Z.

Packed with color, fun facts, and rollicking rhymes, this book is a must for kids (and grownups!) hungry for a more flavorful take on the ABCs.

From almond cookies to bubble tea, durians, mooncakes, and wontons, what will you learn? What will you eat?

Solid gift for foodies 0 to 100.

Created with love by two ABCs, American Born Chinese, on a quest to bring more flavor and diversity to bookshelves worldwide. (From Author Website)




 

Do you know a fantastic book that would make a great addition to this list? I'd love to hear your recommendations! Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for helping make this list even better!

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