Celebrate Korean-American Day with Great Books for Kids 8-12


Happy Korean American Day! Celebrated every year on January 13, Korean American Day commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States. We honor and celebrate Korean American culture and contributions on this day (and year-round, of course!). Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite children’s books written by Korean American authors! Read on to find the next book on your TBR list. 

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun (Ages 9-12)
The first book in the Pippa Park series (a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations), follows Korean American Pippa Park as she navigates friendships, peer pressure, crushes, and family. When she gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to a prestigious new private school, she must come to terms with her new life and learn to embrace her truest self!

Haru, Zombie Dog Hero by Ellen Oh (Ages 8-12)
This middle grade novel by acclaimed author Ellen Oh tells the story of eleven-year-old Luke and his best friend: his dog, Haru. After Haru is falsely accused of biting Luke’s landlord, she is kidnapped, and Luke must go on a mission to get her back! Luke quickly discovers a nefarious plot by an evil multibillionaire and must face zombie attacks and more in order to save the world—and his dog.

Ben Lee and the Magic Lunch Box by Hanna Kim (Ages 8-11)
This novel by Hanna Kim follows Ben Lee, a fourth grader growing up in Koreatown with his immigrant parents. When the other kids make fun of Ben’s homemade kimbap lunch on the first day of school, an embarrassed Ben throws out his food and makes a wish to be like everyone else! When his wish is unexpectedly granted, strange magical happenings occur: his Korean lunches are replaced with ham sandwiches, his favorite Korean cartoon disappears, and the pencils his grandma sent from Korea are nowhere to be found! Ben must figure out how to reverse his wish and make things right—and in the process, learn to appreciate his culture.

Imposter Syndrome & Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim by Patricia Park (Ages 12+)
Patricia Park introduces us to Alejandra Kim, a teen struggling to feel understood while growing up in New York. Alejandra, or Ale, feels out of place: both in her diverse Jackson Heights neighborhood and her predominantly white Manhattan prep school. Ale plans to lay low until graduation, but a sudden microaggression places all of the attention on her. As she faces this newfound spotlight, Ale will grapple with her identity and discover what it means to create a space for herself.