Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage for FamiliesBy Emily S. Mon, May 1, 2023
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and it’s a wonderful time to celebrate this rich and varied cultural heritage with the whole family! The acronym stands in for a great number of different communities with ancestry in Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Pacific Islands. Particularly in an era of growing intolerance, it is a form of healing to shine a light on the contributions of AAPI immigrants and their descendants. This year’s theme is Advancing Leaders through Opportunity, a call to uplift and support future leaders of AAPI communities.
It’s important for kids to see themselves reflected in the books they read, which helps to give them the confidence to pursue their dreams. Equally vital is sharing books with children across experience, building understanding, empathy, and hopefully, a broader and more inclusive community! Picture Book Highlights from previous years’ AAPI Heritage Month celebrations are a great place to start. Check out these titles for teens. Explore some fun activity ideas, or get more in-depth with these resources for teachers. You can even explore AAPI voices in the Author Events archives.
This year’s One Book, One Philadelphia selections were all penned by Asian American authors, and the season is full of programming for the whole family. While teaching Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown to a younger audience may require some supports, there are companion titles for younger readers, as well as associated library events for all ages, including culinary programs, storytimes, book talks, and community discussions. Join an all-ages walking tour of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, or learn about Chinese herbal medicine.
If you’re celebrating from home, you might prepare a favorite dish tied to your ancestry, or try a recipe from this list of cookbooks featuring South and Southwest Asian cuisine. Get your youngest learners involved! Interpreting a recipe is a great at-home literacy exercise, and even pouring a key ingredient into a bowl can help kids develop manual dexterity, confidence, and know-how. Trying foods from different cultures helps to prepare kids for new experiences, and learning to cook a family recipe is hands-on heritage passed down in real time.
As a part of the Spring Into Reading Challenge, you can explore Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage in a new online activity adventure for the month of May! Earn badges for reading books and graphic novels, visiting museum exhibitions, practicing poetic traditions, exploring martial arts and movement traditions. Get to know some local history, current issues, and present day cultural centers. This activity adventure is open to all ages. Sign up online.
If you’re looking for more community involvement, be sure to visit some of the local organizations mentioned at the end of last year’s post.
How will you celebrate AAPI heritage with your family this May? Let us know in the comments below!
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