May is American Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This month-long celebration serves as a reminder to think about new ways to create an inclusive, welcoming, and representative learning environment that celebrates different backgrounds and cultures. In this article, you will find a list of popular children’s books, written by AAPI authors, who share their stories and experiences.
Honoring the rich heritage and culture of AAPI communities in your classroom does not have to be limited to just one month. These books are excellent resources for learning and facilitating conversations all year long!
Facilitating Meaningful Conversations
The AAPI community is made up of a variety of countries and cultures, with diverse practices and perspectives. As educators, we have an opportunity to help children learn about acceptance and the value that diversity brings to our classrooms. For example, in our conversations with children, you can remind them that everyone deserves love, kindness, and respect. Communicate to children that it is our differences that make us special.
Melissa Taylor, a literacy specialist, mom, writer, and former educator, reminds us that children’s books can serve as tools for developing social-emotional skills, such as “inclusivity, education, and empathy building.” She highlights the importance of talking to children and asking questions to facilitate conversations before and after reading books: “Ask children, ‘What do you have in common with the characters?’ If the culture is new to readers, ask children, ‘What did you learn about the characters or culture?’”
For more information, you might enjoy this article from PBS Kids: How to Use Children’s Books to Talk About Race and Racism.