May 18, 2018

“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius, a Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the railroad tracks were Chinese immigrants. President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution for the celebration on October 5, 1978.

Over the years, migration to the U.S. began to grow. In 2015, 26.9 percent of immigrants to the United States came from Asian countries.

This month allows us to explore and celebrate the contributions and stories of the many countries and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Here are some digital resources to help you celebrate this month:

Teachers will find the following sites full of great activities and lessons:

Confucius Institute of Indianapolis

If you are looking for some opportunities to learn about Chinese culture and language here in Indianapolis, consider the Confucius Institute of Indianapolis at IUPUI. It is a rich resource for learning about and connecting to Chinese culture and community. The institute offers many programs and events to our community, including high school and college opportunities to study abroad and a kid’s summer Chinese Culture Camp The institute also just published a book, “Chinese Hoosiers” by Lu Wang, which “… documents the lives of 21 exceptional Chinese or Chinese Americans who lived in or are still living in the Hoosier state.”

The History

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II has been depicted in many books for children. One of the book bloggers I follow has a direct connection to this horrible time in our history. Her mother was one of those Japanese Americans whose life was impacted by the policies of the American government at that time. You can read about those experiences here in her blog.

A recent article in the Smithsonian Magazine details the legacy of these events If you want to get a first-hand account of life there from the children who were forced to relocate, I highly recommend “Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference” by Joanne Oppenheim.

National Ambassador

Our 2017-18 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is Asian-American author and illustrator Gene Luen Yang. He has established a campaign to challenge students to “Read Without Walls.”

 Additionally, you will find a wonderful list of Asian and Asian-American authors at these sites:

There are many titles that explore the experience of being Asian or Asian-American. Here is a beginning list to start you on your journey! All of these authors have written more than one book, so if you enjoy one title, check to see what else the author may have written.

Picture Books

  • “Apple Pie on 4th of July” by Janet S. Wong
  • “Bee-Bim Bop!” by Linda Sue Park
  • “Behind the Mask” by Yangsook Choi
  • “Beyond the Mountains” by Ed Young
  • “A Different Pond” by Bao Phi
  • “Drawn Together” by Mihn Le
  • “The Favorite Daughter” by Allen Say
  • “Fish for Jimmy” by Katie Yamasaki
  • “Goldfish and Chrysanthemums” by Andrea Cheng
  • “Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin” by Chieri Uegaki
  • “Hannah is Not My Name” by Belle Yang
  • “Landed” by Milly Lee
  • “Magic Paintbrush” by Laurence Yep
  • “The Nian Monster” by Andrea Wang
  • “A Place Where Sunflower’s Grow” by Amy Lee-Tai
  • “Sumi’s First Day of School Ever” by Soyung Pak
  • “Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding” by Lenore Look
  • “Take Me Out to the Yakyu” by Aaron Meshon

Early Series books:

  • “Cilla-Lee Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire” by Susan Tan
  • “Jasmine Toguchi: Drummer Girl” by Debbi Michiko Florence
  • “Ling and Ting” by Grace Lin


  • “Alvin Ho series/ Ruby Lu series” by Lenore Look
  • “Blackbird Fly” by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • “The Great Wall of Lucy Wu” by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
  • “Honeysuckle House” by Andrea Cheng
  • “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhai Lai
  • “The Land I Lost” by Huynh Quang Nhuong
  • “Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword” by Henry Lien
  • “See You in the Cosmos” by Jack Chen
  • “Spirit Hunters” by Ellen Oh
  • “Sylvia & Aki” by Wilfred Conkling
  • “The Thing About Luck” by Cynthia Kadohata
  • “Tofu Quilt” by Ching Yeung Russell
  • “When My Name Was Keoko” by Linda Sue Park
  • “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” series by Grace Lin

Graphic Novels

  • “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang
  • “Amulet” series by Kazu Kibushi
  • “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan
  • “Gaijin: American Prisoner of War” by Matt Faulkner
  • “Ichiro” by Ryan Inzana

Young Adult Novels

Looking for a round-up of Asian American protagonists in Young Adult, click here, or check out the following titles. 

  • “Bronze and Sunflower” by Cao Wenxuan, translated from the Chinese by Helen Wang
  • “Epic Crush of Genie Lo” by F.C. Lee
  • “Full Cicada Moon” by Marilyn Hilton
  • “Ink and Ashes” by Valynne E. Maetani
  • “Lucy and Linh” by Alice Pung
  • “Millicent Min: Girl Genius” by Lisa Yee
  • “Outrun the Moon” by Stacey Lee
  • “Paper Wishes” by Lois Sepahban
  • “The Reader” by Traci Chee
  • “Red Butterfly” by A.L. Sonnichsen
  • “Revolution is Not a Dinner Party” by Ying Chang Compestine
  • “Saints and Misfits” by S.K. Ali
  • “Starfish” by Aemi Dawn Bowman
  • “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” by Jenny Han
  • “Unidentified Suburban Object” by Mike Jung
  • “Warcross” by Marie Lu


Need a great link for contemporary Asian American Biographies, click here or check out the titles below:

  • “Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko” by Setsuo Yazaki and Misuzu Kaneko
  • “Can Jie, The Inventor of Chinese Characters: A Story in English and Chinese” by Li Jian
  • “Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix” by Jaqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee
  • “Drawing from Memory” by Allen Say
  • “Fred Korematsu Speaks Up” by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi
  • “Great Asian Americans” series by Michelle Kwan, Yo-Yo Ma, Ellison Onizuka, Patsy Mink, Tammy Duckworth
  • “The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China” by Ed Young
  • “Jeremy Lin: Basketball Superstar” by Matt Doeden
  • “Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service” by Annette Bay Pimentel
  • “Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands” by Susan Goldman Rubin
  • “Ming’s Adventures with Confucius in Qufu: A Story in English and Chinese” by Li Jian
  • “Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor” by Caren B. Stelson
  • “Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story” by Paul Yoo

For those following my blog, this will be the last month that I provide reading resources. My June blog (which will also be my last) will introduce you to the 2019 Teacher of the Year.