Last updated: May 31st, 2022
Growing up as a Hmong-American girl in a mainly Caucasian community, it was difficult to find books (picture books, chapter books, novels, and graphic novels) featuring Hmong characters or experiences or books written or drawn by Hmong individuals. I always felt insecure about being Hmong and there were not enough resources to reassure the way I was feeling.
In a way, I felt like our narratives didn’t matter when they barely exist in literature or the media. I often wondered to myself if there is someone out there going through the same things I’m going through?
For the longest time, I didn’t bother with my culture. I thought that if nobody cared about it, why should I?
It wasn’t until I took a children’s literature course in college that I realized the importance of portraying diversity in books. I learned that a good book can aide a child’s growth and that books can provide guidance to some of our issues and questions in life. Good books connect with our emotions and show the world in a way which we may never have imagined. When you portray diversity in literature, you have the ability to empower an individual, and when you empower someone, you’re showing them their voices matter.
And so, I embarked on a mission to search for books that feature Hmong characters or Hmong-related subject matters, or books written or drawn by Hmong individuals. Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of published and self-published books with these qualities.
I hope that my list will continue to grow as I am certain there are authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, educators, parents, and readers who feel it is important to have books for all children. I hope that the children of the future will be able to open books and see themselves as the main character of their story.
CHAPTER BOOKS/EARLY READERS