Children's and Young Adult Books With Japanese Heritage and Japanese Themes

by author Greg Leitich Smith
(Japanese-German American)

I've always been an avid reader. As a kid, my favorite books were MIKE MULLIGAN AND THE STEAMSHOVEL by Virginia Lee Burton, THE HARDY BOYS series, THE THREE INVESTIGATORS series, anything by Richard Scarry, Maurice Sendak, and, later, Tolkien, and non-fiction.

What I didn't read was any book with a Japanese American character or theme (or for that matter, any with a German American theme) because such books were not published in any kind of quantity at the time.

Although the situation has improved, there is still a need for books with Japanese and Asian American characters and themes. I will continue updating this bibliography and hope to see more such books in the years to come.

Please follow the links below to children's books with Japanese and Japanese American characters. Please also note that Japanese and Japanese American themed books are listed together because they reflect a shared heritage and, in part, traditions. They are not listed together to in any way diminish the truth that Japanese Americans are Americans.