Appreciating Asian cultures and communities

May 2021 … In light of discrimination against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAAPI) people, we feel it is important to restate a promise we have made to our communities: Healthy NewsWorks “pledges in our work to address racial inequalities in health and in education by what we teach and how we teach it. We will grow our programs and organization so that, in partnership with our schools and communities, our students know that their lives matter and that we have given them the information and tools to make a difference in this world.”

>>Read more: A message to our community

The current threatening behaviors against AAAPI people remind us that there is continual need to work to end racially motivated violence. We honor our pledge now by rejecting hate and any demonstration of hate. 

In supporting our AAAPI community, we want to offer some resources to support children in rejecting hateful behavior, embracing diversity, and appreciating the vast dimensions of Asian cultures and communities in our region, the nation, and the world. 

Healthy NewsWorks has selected the following books and other materials to help young readers, their families, and teachers develop connections with those who may come from different backgrounds, to encourage empathy for others, and to find similarities within their own families. 

Academic research shows that exposing children to multicultural literature can play an essential role in reducing prejudicial thoughts about race. In addition, books are a useful starting point for navigating conversations about hard topics among adults and children. 

These resources are generally available in libraries or through booksellers and will be incorporated into our By Kids For Kids platform for future learning. 

Grades K–2

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat 

A young boy and his grandfather, who cannot communicate with words, find a way to connect through drawing. (Also available by video, read by the author, for PBS Books Storytime.)

The Name Jar, written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi

A sweet story of a young Korean girl who begins school in America. She wrestles with how she can fit in and also stay true to herself. 

Grades 3–6

Stargazing, written and illustrated by Jen Wang (graphic novel) 

Acclaimed illustrator Jen Wang uses her childhood experiences to write a relatable story about culture and friendship.

Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep
Newbery Honor book, inspired by a true story. Dragonwings is the story of Moon Shadow, an 8-year-old boy who sails from China to San Francisco in the early 1900s to join the father he has never met. Moon Shadow’s father, Windrider, makes his living doing laundry but dreams of building a flying machine.

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Grace Lin, author of the Newbery Honor-winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, tells the story of how fourth grader Pacy Lin finds friends and herself in this lovely illustrated book.

Grades 7+

A Different Mirror for Young People: A Multicultural History of America by Ronald Takaki
A masterful “people’s view” perspective of American history written for young people. This book relies on the words of people, including teenagers, who recorded their experiences in letters, diaries, and poems. 

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justini Eisinger, and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker.

A moving and eye-opening graphic memoir of author George Takei’s childhood imprisonment in American concentration camps as a Japanese American during World War II. 

Resources for teachers

After Atlanta: Teaching About Asian American Identity and History
Lesson ideas and many useful resources from the education website Learning For Justice.

#StopAsianHate Resources for Teaching and Learning
A clearinghouse of literature and lessons on Asian and Asian American cultures compiled by Student Voice a student-founded, student-led nonprofit organization working to address educational inequity.

Asian Americans
A five-part PBS documentary on the role and experiences of Asian Americans in American history and identity politics, their contributions, and challenges.

General

Five Things to Remember to Help Keep Colorism From Infecting Your Family
An action guide in English and Spanish on avoiding colorism, or judgments based on skin color. The guide was assembled by EmbraceRace, a multiracial community of parents, teachers, experts, and others working to meet the challenges of race. 

How to talk to kids about anti-Asian violence
In an ABC News report, a clinical psychologist explains the power of one mother’s simple lesson about the #StopAsianHate movement.


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