84 books like Finally Seen

By Kelly Yang,

Here are 84 books that Finally Seen fans have personally recommended if you like Finally Seen. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Stanford isn’t a happy camper when, because of a failing grade in English, he has to go to summer school instead of basketball camp. Used to being a star basketball player, he’s embarrassed by this new turn of events. Millicent Min as his tutor is the last straw. I love how the plot and various situations, along with his parents’ bickering and his grandmother entering a nursing home, feel real and something today’s kids can relate to. And also how, despite Stanford’s disappointments, he puts forth his best efforts all the while he tries to manage his problems. There’s plenty of humor, too.

By Lisa Yee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Stanford Wong is in big trouble--or as he would spell it, "trubble"--in this laugh-out-loud companion to the award-winning MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS and this season's HC, EMILY EBERS.

Stanford Wong is having a bad summer. If he flunks his summer-school English class, he won't pass sixth grade. If that happens, he won't start on the A-team. If *that* happens, his friends will abandon him and Emily Ebers won't like him anymore. And if THAT happens, his life will be over. Soon his parents are fighting, his grandmother Yin-Yin hates her new nursing home, he's being "tutored" by the world's biggest…


Book cover of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Augusta Scattergood Author Of The Way to Stay in Destiny

From my list on kids baseball books about more than baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the South where stories float off front porches like fireflies. My family was made up of storytellers! As an adult and especially as a librarian and a writer of middle-grade novels, I love rooting out history readers might not know: how swimming pools closed rather than integrate, that the Vietnam War scarred many returning vets, and why so many Chinese families settled in the Deep South. My favorite books to read and to share are novels and picture books about more than what they seem— especially those that weave history into a compelling story. And I have great memories of watching and listening to baseball games with my dad. Historical fiction and baseball—a perfect combination, very close to a grand slam, no?

Augusta's book list on kids baseball books about more than baseball

Augusta Scattergood Why did Augusta love this book?

This novel holds a special place in my book-loving heart. When the third-grade teachers at the school where I was a librarian read it aloud and used it for Literature Circles, it was one of the first books that taught me to listen carefully to what young readers shared about theme and characters and the “heart of the story.” It’s still a gold mine for topics that are relevant today.

By Bette Bao Lord, Marc Simont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A timeless classic that will enchant readers who love Jennifer L. Holm and Thanhhà Lại, about an immigrant girl inspired by the sport she loves to find her own home team—and to break down any barriers that stand in her way.

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends.

Then a miracle happens: baseball! It's 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is a superstar.…


Book cover of American Born Chinese

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

This book seems to be three different stories until one realizes they are the same story told in different ways: the most realistic one is the story of young Jin Wang who suffers intensely from the racist mockery of his peers. Then there is the wondrous tale of the Monkey King who wanted to join the other gods and refused to be a monkey. And finally the parable of Danny who hates his caricature of a Chinese cousin. The three strands converge to reveal one truth: the way to save our soul is to accept who we are. 

I particularly loved the character of Wei-Chen who is Jin’s best friend: he is kind, smart, and accepts his origins. 

A bonus: the artwork is very beautiful!

By Gene Luen Yang,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked American Born Chinese as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gene Luen Yang was the fifth the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who…


Book cover of Noteworthy

Anna Hecker Author Of When the Beat Drops

From my list on YA about girls who literally rock.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a painfully awkward teenager, two years younger than the rest of my class and a little too “extra” to fit in anywhere. I spent all of high school desperately seeking my weirdos—people who would accept me the way I was, rabid-puppy enthusiasm and all. One night I met a colorfully-dressed trio on the street who invited me to a loft party that changed my life. That night I fell in love with NYC’s underground party scene: the high-energy music, grimy locations, and most of all the people. I had found my weirdos. When the Beat Drops is my love letter to discovering your people and finding your scene. 

Anna's book list on YA about girls who literally rock

Anna Hecker Why did Anna love this book?

Noteworthy is a pitch-perfect novel set in the elite a capella group of a selective performing arts boarding school. Undistinguished Alto 2 Jordan Sun disguises herself as a guy to land a spot in the all-male Sharpshooters a capella group, only to realize she has to keep up the act for the remainder of her Junior and Senior years. Hijinks ensue as Jordan finds herself questioning her identity, her sexuality, and her place in the world. The writing in this book is crisp and funny, and I enjoyed learning a bit about how a capella works. Most of all, I enjoyed watching Jordan become more sure of herself even as her ruse starts to wear thin. This is a light-hearted read with some heavier discussions of race, class, gender, and sexuality deftly woven throughout. If you like voice-driven music books as much as I do, add Noteworthy to your list. 

By Riley Redgate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Noteworthy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the start of Jordan Sun's junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she's an Alto 2, which-in the musical theatre world-is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody's falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it's no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington's elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all…


Book cover of On Gold Mountain: The 100-Year Odyssey of a Chinese-American Family

William F. Deverell Author Of Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy That Transfixed the Nation

From my list on family in California.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the American West and a professor at the University of Southern California. I also direct the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. I love the way very smart and ambitious family histories illuminate the fascinating (or sometimes mundane) lives of people in the past and, at the same time, use those stories to help us understand bigger-picture issues, eras, and all the turbulence of American life. That little-girl-in-the-well book I wrote is the first time I’ve attempted family history. It was so hard to try to get it right but, at the same time, exhilarating to think that maybe I did.

William's book list on family in California

William F. Deverell Why did William love this book?

Richly woven history of immigration, family, and the California Dream as refracted through Chinese newcomers and their Chinese American descendants. The author has two very powerful tools at her disposal – penetrating historical sensibility and a great novelist’s ear for language. Across time and space, family stories, and passed-down memories endure. They all come together in this wonderful book in which California alternates between background and foreground through both hope and disappointment.

By Lisa See,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Gold Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world. 82 photos.


Book cover of China Men

Molly Patterson Author Of Rebellion

From my list on time-jumping with multiple protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved “big books,” novels that are described as sagas and chronicles yet whose primary focus is on singular, nuanced characters. I like seeing the ways that lives intersect and reflect each other across decades, and I enjoy being immersed in one world and then dropped, with the turn of a page, into another equally engrossing one. I am the author of the novel Rebellion as well as numerous short stories and essays. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I spent several years living in China and a year as the Writer-in-Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. I now live in Wisconsin, where I write and teach creative writing.

Molly's book list on time-jumping with multiple protagonists

Molly Patterson Why did Molly love this book?

I first read Maxine Hong Kingston in college, but I can’t remember if I was assigned China Men or The Woman Warrior (the more famous counterpoint to China Men). All I know is that whichever one I read, I loved it so much that I immediately sought out the companion piece, which I also loved. In China Men, Kingston weaves together fiction and nonfiction, history and myth, story and memory. Is it a novel? A tapestry? I’m not quite sure what to call it, and that’s part of what I love about the book. Brief interludes of two or three pages present a single scene; longer stories narrate entire sagas. I love that this volume covers so much literal ground but ultimately feels incredibly personal.

By Maxine Hong Kingston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked China Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author chronicles the lives of three generations of Chinese men in America, woven from memory, myth and fact. Here's a storyteller's tale of what they endured in a strange new land.


Book cover of Watercress

Why am I passionate about this?

As an adoptive parent and a Korean-American immigrant, caring for others is my passion. I was only nine months old when I made the journey to America with my parents, so I only felt “American” growing up. It wasn’t until college that I genuinely started to appreciate my heritage. But perhaps, if I had seen more stories that reflected me, sharing family stories with love and finding hope amidst hardship, maybe I would’ve appreciated and even celebrated my difference a little more. That’s why I love sharing my family stories now. Everyone can relate to them on different levels. 

Ann's book list on picture books about caring for others, sharing family stories with love, and finding hope amidst hardship

Ann Suk Wang Why did Ann love this book?

I love the very real relationship between a child and her parents who embarrass her by bringing their culture to America. But as the story progresses, she learns about their background and how hardships made them who they are.

I can totally relate to this! This beautiful tale reminds me about appreciating one’s culture, though at first I may not like it so much, it is who I wonderfully am.

By Andrea Wang, Jason Chin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Watercress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Caldecott Medal Winner
Newbery Honor Book
APALA Award Winner

A story about the power of sharing memories—including the painful ones—and the way our heritage stays with and shapes us, even when we don’t see it. 

New England Book Award Winner
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year
A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

While driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl's Chinese immigrant parents spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road.  They stop the car, grabbing rusty scissors and an old paper bag, and the whole family wades…


Book cover of Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Wendy Kenny Author Of Sik-Sik's Summer: An Arctic Ground Squirrel Tale

From my list on reads to your kids that you'll also enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved reading my whole life. So when I became a mom, I started reading to my kids pretty much as soon as they came home from the hospital. They absolutely love to have books read to them, and we have shelves full of picture books. My favorite picture books to read out loud are ones with eye-catching illustrations, witty stories that spark imagination or learning, and rhymes that flow rhythmically. As a bonus, if the characters lend themselves to fun voices, those are always winners. I hope you enjoy reading these books to your kids as much as I do.

Wendy's book list on reads to your kids that you'll also enjoy

Wendy Kenny Why did Wendy love this book?

I can’t think of this book without picturing my own little girl when she was 3 years old with pigtails sticking out, just like Amy Wu.

She and I read this over and over again to the point that she could quote the whole book. It is such a sweet story about family traditions and pushing through the challenge it can be for little hands to learn how to do something new.

The story is precious and the illustrations are delightful.

By Kat Zhang, Charlene Chua (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance...Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?


Book cover of The Legend of Auntie Po

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

I love learning about life in another time period through a story. This one transported me to a logging camp in 1885. I learned about the life of the camp, the hard and dangerous work, and the treatment of the Chinese workers. 

Mei is the daughter of a Chinese cook. She dreams of studying at the university, but doubts she will ever be able to, because of her Chinese origins. 

I loved the deep but complex friendships between Mei and the foreman’s daughter and between Mei’s father and the foreman himself. I loved the affection between Mei and her father, their observance of Chinese traditions, and I loved Mei’s story-telling, re-casting Paul Bunyan as a benevolent Auntie Po.

By Shing Yin Khor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Legend of Auntie Po as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
 
Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.

Cover may vary.
 
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the…


Book cover of The Hundred Secret Senses

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Amy Tan is a master at telling stories that explore the complex dynamics of family relationships.

I’ve read a lot of her books, but The Hundred Secret Senses is my favorite because I adore Kwan, the main character’s half-sister from China. Kwan has a special secret that she can see and speak to ghosts, but Olivia always dismisses her as a little crazy and only pretends to believe her stories.

I love this book because it made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions and because it was so relatable.

We all have family members that we both love and can’t stand at the same time. This book goes back and forth between the 1990s and the 1800s.

If you love books about sisters, you need to read this one!

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hundred Secret Senses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stunning reissue of an international bestseller, from the author of 'The Joy Luck Club' and 'The Bonesetter's Daughter'.

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her day and night with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the world of Yin. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia's failed marriage. But…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Chinese Americans, school, and family?

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