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23 Kids’ Books to Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Posted on May 4, 2021 at 6:00 am

BY RACHEL EDMONDSON

This month is a time to celebrate the history, traditions, and cultural contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). You’ll find great digital reads to celebrate AAPI authors on OverDrive. I also share two lists of picture books and chapter books that you can check out from the library.

FIRST, A BRIEF HISTORY

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American week. Later, in 1992, the week was expanded to the whole month of May and was designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

BOOKS AS MIRRORS, WINDOWS & SLIDING GLASS DOORS

When it comes to celebrating the human experience, books are an invaluable tool. Rudine Sims Bishop is a well-known scholar famous for introducing the idea of books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.

Bishop promoted the importance of children seeing themselves reflected in literature and advocated the need for more diverse children’s books. She also recognized that books allow us to see into other cultures and experiences and to even step into another person’s shoes for a little while. This ability to see the world from another’s perspective is why reading fiction is so important. In fact, research has shown that reading fiction makes us more empathetic.

One way you can celebrate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this month is to read and share books that tell their stories. Whether these books serve as a mirror, allowing a child to see themself reflected in the story, or are a window or sliding glass door, allowing a glimpse of a different experience and culture, these stories are important.

ON OVERDRIVE

You’ll find downloadable eBooks and audiobooks celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander characters & authors in three great booklists for kids, teens, and adults on OverDrive and with the Libby app.

ON OUR SHELVES

Place a hold through our online catalog on these books, which are available for in-library and curbside pickup once your hold becomes available.

Picture books

Chapter books

Rachel Edmondson

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