Peoples and Culture of Asia

Picture books


Ziba Came on a Boat

by Liz Lofthouse ; illustrated by Robert Ingpen

A moving story about a little girl whose family has lost almost everything. Ziba, her mother, and other women and children from a tiny village escape the approaching war in Afghanistan to travel in an overcrowded fishing boat to a new life and freedom.


Ah Kee & the Glass Bottle

Joan Salanitri ; illustrated by Di Wu

Picture book for all ages. Love story set in China when merchant caravans travelled the Silk Road. Ah Kee's gift of a blue glass drinking bottle to her husband Li Chong leads her on a perilous journey in storm-ravaged mountains to save his life.

Bow wow meow

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese cat

by George Daugherty and David Wong

The five Chinese brothers

by Claire Huchet Bishop and Kurt Wiese

Grandpa's mask

by Jing Jing Guo and Di Wu

The race for the Chinese zodiac

by Gabrielle Wang

The Jade Emperor has declared a great race. The first animals to cross the river will win a place in the Chinese Zodiac. But, there are only twelve places to be won and thirteen animals line up along the shore.

Speak Chinese, Fang Fang!

Sally Rippin

The Paper Dragon

Marguerite W. Davol

Mi Fei is a humble painter of scrolls. Between each day's sunrise and sunset, he paints scenes of the gods and their festivals' portraits of heroes and their deeds. Although the scrolls bring him fame, Mi Fei is content to live in his village, surrounded by people he loves.
But one day a messenger enters the village with terrible news: the dragon Sui Jen has awakened from its hundred years' sleep and is destroying everything in its path. Someone must find a way to return Sui Jen to its slumber. To the villagers, only one among them is wise enough to confront the scaly beast -- Mi Fei.
The power of the artist's vision and the ever-sustaining nature of love are brought together in Marguerite W. Davol's beautiful story, strikingly interpreted by Robert Sabuda in a series of gatefold illustrations that convey the storytelling majesty of the Chinese narrative scrollmaker's art.

The Water Dragon- A Chinese Legend - English and Chinese bilingual text

Li Jian

Long ago, in a remote village in China, there lived a kind and generous little boy. He spent his days in the forest, collecting wood to trade for food. One day, the boy made a wondrous discovery: a magic stone that caused his money jar and rice crocks to overflow, both of which he shared with the poor villagers.

But strange things began to happen. It no longer rained. The crops died. The rivers dried up. A terrible drought had struck and would not release its grip. The brave young boy, full of dreams of a white, water-spewing Dragon, took his magic stone on a journey—and discovered how to save his village.

East Timor (Timor-Leste)

The Boy and the Crocodile : the Legend of East Timor

This book is the legend of East Timor and tells the fascinating tale about how Timor gots curious shape. It's also a parable about the kindness of strangers.

illustrated by children from the Familia Hope Orphanage


The Bird who was an Elephant

Aleph Kamal paintings by Frane Lessac


The Perfect Purple Hat

Parallel text in English and Japanese.

by Pam Halliday

The Peasant Prince

Li Cunxin, Anne Spudvilas

Chinese-inspired watercolours charmingly support this picture-book adaptation of the true story of the life of a boy in Communist China, during the last decade of Chairman Mao's reign. At eleven, Li was plucked from obscurity to train as a ballet dancer, thus escaping his poor, peasant village roots. He travelled the world as a dancer and was finally reunited with his parents.

Photographs in the Mud

Dianne Wolfer ; illustrator Brian Harrison-Lever

Recounts the life of two soldiers on opposite sides of the Kokoda track during World War 2.

Suitable for older students.



story by Rosanne Hawke ; illustrations by Elizabeth Stanley

The tale of an unusual relationship between Shazia, a young girl of the Kalasha people of Pakistan, and a special snow leopard.


The little refugee

Anh Do and Suzanne Do

Based on Ahn Do's experience travelling to Australia by boat from Vietnam as a refugee.


A piece of straw illustrated

by Junko Morimoto

An adaptation of a traditional Japanese folktale.