Last updated: June 14, 2020
Growing up as a Hmong-American girl in a mainly Caucasian community, it was difficult to find books (particularly picture books, chapter books, and graphic novels) about the Hmong people or books featuring Hmong characters or experiences. Because of that, as a child I didn’t have an appreciation and acceptance for my culture.
When we don’t see ourselves portrayed in literature or the media, it feels like our stories don’t matter, or that they don’t exist, or that there isn’t someone going through the same things we’re going through.
For a long time, I didn’t bother with my culture. I thought that if nobody cared about it, why should I?
It wasn’t until college that I realized the importance of portraying diversity in books. I took a children’s literature class and learned that a good book can aide a child’s growth, and that books can provide answers 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 an ability to empower an individual, and when you empower someone you’re telling them that their voices matter. You’re showing them they are capable of doing things just like everyone else.
And so, I embarked on a mission to search for books that featured Hmong characters or Hmong-related subject matters. 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, and readers who feel it is important to have books for all children. I hope that children of the future will be able to open books and see themselves as heroes and learn to appreciate and accept who they are.
List of more Hmong books: http://talkstorytogether.org/asian-pacific-american-book-list/hmong-and-hmong-american