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Asia Literacy Resources for the Australian Curriculum

Having spent an inspiring 3 days attending the inaugural Asia Education Foundation National Conference, I am inspired and thrilled by the dialogue that’s happening around Asia literacy in Australia and incorporating intercultural understanding with our Asian neighbours. AEF was kind enough to allow me to present to a fantastic audience of primary and secondary school educators who are bringing this issue of Asia literacy into their classrooms.

I wanted to share some great resources for Asian literacy in children’s literature as my conversations with teachers and educators during a sensational 3 days is that we have to provide more resources and tools to help teachers tackle this feat of instilling Asia literacy in our youth.

Find out more about Cross Curriculum Priorities in the Australia Curriculum and The Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia priority (there’s a mouthful!).


As I mentioned in my Spotlights on Schools presentation, English Literature: But do they call them chooks in China?, there are a plethora of Australian authors integrating Asian themes into their work. Here are a few and I’ll keep on expanding this list as I come across more resources. If you have a recommendation: ping me!.

  • The Chook Chook Series (yes, my books!) – these texts are set in contemporary China and address elements of Chinese culture. You will also find a complete set of Teacher’s Notes and other resources for the classroom.
  • Thai-riffic and Thai-No-Mite by Oliver Phommavanh – Oliver has done an excellent job of bringing to life the Thai culture in a humorous and engaging way. His voice is one that kids will instantly connect with – and the books are super funny.
  • The Little Refugee by Anh Do – adapted from his captivating tale, The Happiest Refugee, this CBCA short-listed picture book is a powerful and engaging way to introduce the refugee discussion to young audiences. It also highlights the multicultural dynamics that can be found in today’s Australian classrooms.
  • The Race for the Chinese Zodiac and other cultural titles by Gabrielle Wang – this award-winning Australian author and illustrator has a number of popular titles that are themed around Chinese culture. She has also written a number of Australian themed titles, which I think could provide a nice juxtaposition for young readers to approach side-by-side.
  • A Single Shard, The Third Gift and other titles by Linda Sue Park – This Newbery award winning Korean-American author has published a number of culturally themed novels with UQP. Her stories bring the landscape and culture of Korea to life for young international readers.
  • The Arrival and other titles by Shaun Tan – this award-winning and captivating picture book tells the migration story without words. Tan has done a wonderful job of communicating powerful emotion through visual imagery. His picture books are aimed at a wide-reaching audience and are loved by adults and children alike.
  • Riley and the Sleeping Dragon and Riley and the Dancing Lion by Tania McCartney – popular kids’ author Tania McCartney wrote her gorgeous picture books during her time in China. The lovely characters and beautiful photographs come together introduce the setting to young readers in a fun and engaging way. Tania even has Teacher’s notes available for all of her Riley the Little Aviator titles.
  • Lulu Bell and the Moon Dragon by Belinda Murrell – a lovely little text introducing young Australian readers to the popular tradition of the Moon Festival, which is celebrated by a number of Asian cultures.

**Disclaimer, Notes and the Nitty Gritty: I haven’t personally reviewed or read all of these titles (but I’m working on it!) on this list. I also do not in any way claim to be in any way officially associated with primary school education or the Australian Curriculum or any other organisation that’s not me, myself and I. So if you need something taken down or disagree with something on this list, please just drop me a line. Okay I hope that covers it!

A great resource for Asian themed books

Want more great titles from outstanding authors? Head to Asia Book Room and browse their catalogue, there’s so many great works to choose from!!

Help me build this list! Email me more suggestions!