Made in Asian America: A History for Young People

Erika Lee

Quill Tree Books, 2024

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

From three-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat and award-winning historian Erika Lee comes a middle grade nonfiction that shines a light on the generations of Asian Americans who have transformed the United States and who continue to shape what it means to be American.

Asian American history is not made up of one single story. It’s many. And it’s a story that too often goes untold. 

It begins centuries before America even exists as a nation. It is connected to the histories of Western conquest and colonialism. It’s a story of migration; of people and families crossing the Pacific Ocean in search of escape, opportunity, and new beginnings.

It is also the story of race and racism. Of being labeled an immigrant invasion, unfit to become citizens, and being banned, deported, and incarcerated. Of being blamed for bringing diseases into the country.

And it is a story of bravery and hope. It is the story of heroes who fought for equality in the courts, on the streets, and in the schools, and who continue to fight in solidarity with others doing the same.

This book is a stirring account of the ordinary people and extraordinary acts that made Asian America and the young people who are remaking America today.


"An eminently readable, consciousness-raising U.S. history told from a fresh perspective." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Despite tragedies and injustices, readers will discover centuries of courage, survival, and resilience that also shaped what it means to be Asian American today. As compelling and thoughtful as it is necessary." Booklist (starred review)

"Revelatory." School Library Journal (starred review)

"Lee and Soontornvat use engaging individual narratives, accessible language, and many photographs to create this much-needed, personal look into Asian American history...Fascinating and essential." —Book Riot


“This is a book that will change lives. Immensely readable and intensely relatable, Made in Asian America details the depth and breadth of Asian American history, spanning centuries, wars, laws, and social movements in a way that’s accessible to readers, young and old. In doing so, Lee and Soontornvat show that although our story may have begun a long time ago, our current dreams and struggles remain deeply connected not only to the ongoing promise of equality and justice in this country but also to our fellow marginalized communities as we all fight for that promise to be redeemed.” —Traci Chee, author of Printz Honor Book We Are Not Free

“This book is the missing piece—a book I desperately needed as a child, a book that would have given me a sense of place in the world, a feeling of belonging, the comfort of connectedness. Christina Soontornvat and Erika Lee's powerful book corrects centuries of erasure and shines a light on the Asian American story, on our story. Groundbreaking, deeply moving and empowering, Made in Asian America: A History for Young People is one of the most important books I've ever read.” —Supriya Kelkar, award-winning author of Ahimsa and And Yet You Shine: The Kohinoor Diamond, Colonization, and Resistance

Made in Asian America is moving, educational, and engaging—what history for middle graders must be. This book on how Asian Americans transformed the United States will transform readers. It is that good.” —Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You 

“This is the book I wished I'd had when I was younger. That I wished my children had had in middle school and I'm so grateful for its existence now. A powerful, inspiring, and necessary history of the Asian American experience that has long been ignored, filled with amazing stories of our young people working to change the world for the better. This book is a gift.” —Ellen Oh, founding member of We Need Diverse Books and acclaimed author of Finding Junie Kim

“Clear, engaging, and passionate: a must-read, not just for young readers, but for anyone with a love of the U.S. and a hope for what it could be at its best." —Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author of A Long Walk to Water

"Made in Asian America tells the necessary history of the heartbreak and hope that has marked and made possible the diversity of the Asian American experience. It is a tender telling of the painful truths that govern race in this country, and an inspirational sharing of how different individuals and communities have shifted the possible. This is a work that can cultivate greater equity in the hands of everyone who understands that our histories are united." —Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Song Poet

"This is history as you've never learned before (but should have). It will open your eyes to connections between people and timelines, past and present. It will challenge stereotypes and narratives that have for too long erased Asians from the stories and histories of nations we helped to build. Most importantly, it will inspire readers to find their own power to shape the future. Masterfully written in a way only Christina Soontornvat can, this book makes history engaging and accessible to young readers. This book is an absolute must read in every home and classroom." —Joanna Ho, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners