China or Japan setting (YA)

  • A Shingle Shard
  • American Visa by Wang Ping is a beautiful short story collection which chronicles the life of a young Chinese woman coming of age during the Cultural Revolution.
  • AN OCEAN APART, A WORLD AWAY begins in China, then follows the main character
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  • Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart
  • CHINESE CINDERELLA: THE TRUE STORY OF AN UNWANTED DAUGHTER by Adeline Yen Mah.  This is the YA version of Mah's adult autobiography, FALLING LEAVES.
  • CONNECTIONS (recently out of print), and Little Li and the Old Soldier (set in China) in NO EASY ANSWERS.  Namioka also has written several YA novels set in Feudal Japan as well as the more recent ones set partially in China
  • DEMON IN THE TEAHOUSE. Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. Fantastic Sherlock Holmes-type mysteries that take place in 18th century Japan.
  • Gail Giles 1997 novel THE BREATH OF THE DRAGON is a wonderfully tender novel set in Thailand. But it's a middle grade novel
  • Genpei Kara Dalkey
  • Joy Luck Club
  • KENSUKE'S KINGDOM -- by Michael Morpurgo -- A first person narrative about a 12-year-old British boy swept overboard in the Pacific and the island he washes up on -- where his life is saved by an old Japanese man, hidden away since the end of the war.  A thoughtful adventure involving survival and cross-cultural friendship.  More of an easy read than the other books, but a gripping tale.  I have used this very successfully with 8 - 10 year olds, coupling it with Yep's novella HIROSHIMA (as the atomic bombs ending WWII are relevant to the plot). THE BIG WAVE, Pearl Buck, in which a Japanese boy must face life after a tidal wave destroys his village.
  • Kitchen God's Wife
  • LITTLE BROTHER -- Allan Baillie -- More contemporary story re two Cambodian brothers escaping across the border into Thailand.
  • Little Sister and The Heavenward Path Kara Dalkey
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • My Name Is Keiko
  • Rice Without Rain by  Min Fong Ho. Set in Thailand during the 1970s.
  • Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori
  • Skilled Gentlemen, Barry Hughart
  • SO FAR FROM THE BAMBOO GROVE and its sequel MY BROTHER, MY SISTER, AND I by Yoko Kwashima Watkins -- re an 11-year-old Japanese girl living in northern Korea during/after WWII....
  • THE GHOST IN THE TOKAIDO INN Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
  • THE GOOD EARTH Pearl Buck
  • THE HOUSE OF SIXTY FATHERS -- Meindert DeJong -- Set in China during WWII....
  • The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean.  It takes place in China in the time of Kubla Khan.
  • The Moon Pearl by Ruthann Lum McCunn
  • THE SMALL WOMAN by Alan Burgess, a biography of the missionary to China, Gladys Aylward,
  • The Story of the Stone and Eight, Barry Hughart
  • THE YEAR OF IMPOSSIBLE GOODBYES and its sequel ECHOES OF THE WHITE GIRAFFE by Sook Nyul Choi -- re a 10-year-old Korean girl at the end of WWII -- and her family's escape south away from the Communists....
  • Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthann Lum McCunn.
  • TIES THAT BIND, TIES THAT BREAK by Lensey Namioka.  It takes place in China around the turn of the (20th) century and is about a young girl who refuses to have her feet bound.
  • TULKU -- by Peter Dickinson -- Set during the Boxer Rebellion in China, the young son of a missionary escapes by himself to Tibet....
  • WHEN MY NAME WAS KEOKO by Linda Sue Park takes place in Japanese-occupied Korea during WW2.
  • WILD GINGER by Anchee Min.  It's set in China during the Cultural Revolution.  This is a book published for adults with some mature themes (sex) that might not be a good selection for 9th graders... depends on the group, of course.
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