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Celebrating Asian Pacific American History and Culture

Asian Pacific American History Month

Through children’s books, interviews with children’s authors, activities, and educational resources, we celebrate and learn about the rich history and cultural heritage of Asian Pacific Americans. 

On this page:

In May, we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In this section you will discover fiction and nonfiction books that explore the beautiful diversity of Asian Pacific American cultures. You’ll also find a wide range of teaching resources to bring into your classroom. 

We encourage the sharing of these authors, stories, and histories throughout the year and across the curriculum! 

Children’s authors and illustrators

Talking about diversity and representation with APA authors

Listen as these celebrated Asian Pacific American book creators talk about seeing themselves in books, their own experiences growing up, universal stories, and why diverse books are so important for kids and communities.

Our interviews with award-winning APA authors and illustrators

Interviews with award-winning Asian Pacific American authors from Colorín Colorado 

Find more books!

Discover more books related to Asian Pacific American heritage using our Book Finder tool. And visit our sister project, Colorín Colorado, to browse the Asian Pacific Heritage: Booklists (opens in a new window).

APALA Awards

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association recognizes exceptional books in three categories: youth literature, children’s literature, and picture books. The awards are given every two years. To find more great titles about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, browse the APALA Awards lists › (opens in a new window)

Children’s book publishers: Asian Pacific American focus

Related articles

Humanizing Asian Americans in the Classroom Through Children’s Literature.  (opens in a new window)   
Too often, Asian American stories are absent from classroom libraries. In this article, one educator explains why this gap is so harmful — and recommends ways to fix it. (Learning for Justice)

A Remote Control for Learning (opens in a new window)   
Author, educator, and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang talks about teaching, comics (and their ability to bridge cultures), and the importance of diverse characters. (Learning for Justice)

Learning about APA heritage: resources for the classroom, home, and community

Multicultural elementary kids linking arms in classroom

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Since 1990, the U.S. government has designated the month of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The month of May was chosen to mark the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, as well as the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Learn more at the federal government’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month website (opens in a new window) and in this introduction to APA Heritage Month (opens in a new window).

Understanding what it means to be Asian American

I Am Asian American Toolkit (opens in a new window) (Learning for Justice)    
This toolkit accompanies the article “I Am Asian American (opens in a new window),” and provides professional-development resources to help teachers reflect on their own assumptions and knowledge gaps about Asian Americans and to include a variety of Asian-American voices in their curricula. 

Teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (opens in a new window) (Learning for Justice)    
In this archived webinar, the presenters explore the origins, meaning, and contemporary impact of the term Asian American Pacific Islander, break down the model minority myth, and provide educators with resources to effectively teach AAPI history.

What Is the Model Minority Myth? (opens in a new window) (Learning for Justice)    
The myth of the “model minority” is pervasive. It does real damage. And Asian American students aren’t the only ones it harms. 

Find more resources from the Learning for Justice website (opens in a new window).

APA information, activities, lesson plans, and stories

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (opens in a new window) (Library of Congress)
Find resources on Asian Pacific American history and culture, including links to biographies in the Veterans History Project, contemporary Japanese paintings, and classroom resources for teachers.

Asian Pacific Americans Heritage Teaching Resources (opens in a new window) (Smithsonian Education)     
Explore resources on ethnic heritage, world music, history, and the arts. Visitors can learn about Hawaiian Lu’aus, Chinese immigrants’ participation in the American Gold Rush, and the art of Buddhism. Educational materials and lesson plans are also provided.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage and History in the U.S (opens in a new window) (NEH EDSITEment)   
This Teacher’s Guide offers a collection of lessons and resources for K-12 social studies, literature, and arts classrooms that center around the experiences, achievements, and perspectives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across U.S. history.  

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (opens in a new window) (AFT’s Share My Lesson)     
Prek-12 digital resources to explore the remarkable contributions that AANHPI Americans have given to history, culture, the sciences, industry, and government. You’ll also find resources to help students understand diverse perspectives and the struggles that AANHPI Americans have grappled with throughout the history of the U.S.

Asian American resources (opens in a new window) (Newsela)  
Browse these articles about Asian American history, culture, activism, and more. Newsela offers leveled and standards-aligned informational content for K-12 students, adapted from trusted news sources.

Asian-American and Pacific Heritage Month Resources (opens in a new window) (TeacherVision)     
Celebrate and learn about the influence and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders to American history, society and culture with cross curricular activities, lesson plans, printables and teaching resources.

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage (opens in a new window) (Colorín Colorado)    
Colorín Colorado celebrates family traditions and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific Americans with books (K-12), activities, and a variety of resources and ideas for ELL educators.

Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Stories (opens in a new window) (Common Sense Media)   
The art of storytelling is an important tradition in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. These stories — shared through books, movies, and television — feature positive AANHPI characters and authentic representations of diverse experiences across cultures. Families with kids of all ages can find something to enjoy together and honor this heritage.

PBS resources

PBS Learning Media Educational Resources (opens in a new window)   
Browse this collection of multimedia teaching resources that focus on understanding the history, culture, and achievements of Asian Americans for strudents in grades K-5.

Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (opens in a new window)   
Watch documentaries and programs that celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.

Documentary: Asian Americans (opens in a new window)   
Told through intimate personal stories, this 5-hour series casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played. Produced by WETA. Watch  (opens in a new window)

PBS NewsHour: Canvas Arts