Every May we celebrate the histories and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. The U.S. government chose May for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month because of two key dates: May 7 and May 10. On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived to the U.S. And the transcontinental railroad, which was in large part built by Chinese immigrants, was completed on May 10, 1869.
Although the U.S. has celebrated AAPI Heritage Month since 1990, the rise in anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how crucial it is to highlight AAPI voices this month and beyond.
Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped Our Country
by Kelly Yang
“Yes We Will” is a lyrical picture book that celebrates some of the Asian American heroes who made an impact on our country and culture, like Sandra Oh, Yo-Yo Ma, Vera Wang and more. Ages 4-8.
Kiki Kallira Conquers A Curse
by Sangu Mandanna
Classic mythology is reimagined in “Kiki Kallira Conquers A Curse.” Kiki can bring her drawings of Indian legends to life, but a mysterious curse threatens the kingdom she created. Ages 8-12.
The Legend of Auntie Po
by Shing Yin Khor
While thirteen-year-old Mei works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885, she imagines a Chinese female folk hero, Auntie Po, in this historical graphic novel. “The Legend of Auntie Po” was a 2021 National Book Awards Young People’s Literature Finalist. Ages 10-14.
I Guess I Live Here Now
by Claire Ahn
Korean-American Melody Lee must move to Seoul, Korea with her family and start a whole new life, in “I Guess I Live Here Now.” Melody learns to like life in Seoul, until family secrets and broken friendships threaten her new life. Ages 12 and up.
All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
“All My Rage” is an epic story about family, friendships, love, loss and forgiveness that spans generations and continents, from Lahore, Pakistan to Juniper, California. Ages 14 and up.
For more book suggestions, check out Reading Partners’ children’s book list to highlight Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ stories.
Disney+ is launches their “Asian and Pacific Islander Stories” collection this month to honor Asian and Pacific Islander stories and talent. The collection, which features recent arrivals like “Turning Red” and “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and hit animated films and shorts like “Moana” and “Bao,” will be online for a limited time.
The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival is the largest film festival in Southern California dedicated to Asian and Pacific Islander stories and creators. The festival features shorts, animation, free programs, exhibits and more at various locations throughout the city. LAAPFF runs May 5-13.
The Huntington Gardens celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with a new exhibition by artist Mineo Mizuno, the opera “On Gold Mountain,” a featured reading, “The Art of Setting Stones: & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden” and more.
The Southern California Children’s Museum also celebrates AAPI heritage through stories, crafts and dance. Join the museum on May 28 for a special Story & Craft with Karen Chan, author of children’s book, “What’s That?” about food and the connections we make to each other through food. The museum hosts bilingual Story & Craft events throughout the month. May 14 features Japanese and English, May 21 features Hindi and English and May 29 features Korean and English. All events are free with admission.
Disneyland Resort is celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage through music, food, art and more. Special May offerings include:
- Complimentary musical performances and colorful pageantry at the Downtown Disney Live! stage
- Artist signings at WonderGround Gallery May 21-22, featuring artists such as Jerrod Maruyama, Joey Chou, Ann Shen and others
- Nightly ukulele music and complimentary hula lessons on the weekends at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel, plus additional experiences at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
- Sake flight and craft cocktail by Nova Brewing Co. at the Hearthstone Lounge in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
- Limited-time “Turning Red” photo op at Disney California Adventure Park
- Children’s Day window display outside the Emporium at Disneyland Park