Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month with a Book
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! To celebrate, why not share some of our favorite book titles below. Each of these titles are including in our circulating StoryCycles® book collection, that provides participating children and families with up to 100 unique book titles throughout the course of one program year. Read on to learn more about these books, and discover simple tips to help make your book-sharing experience fun for everyone.
By Shirin Yim Bridges
Illustrated by Sophie Blackhall
This is a beautifully written book about a young girl’s dream to be more than what her culture traditionally allows. Set in rural China, Roby does not aspire to get married. Instead, she wants to attend a university like her brothers. With the support of her grandfather, Ruby gets a heartwarming surprise at the end of this story.
Tandem Tip: Don’t feel the need to read the text word-for-word. Take at look at the pictures and have your child describe what they see. This book is also a great way to get your child thinking and talking about what kind of dreams and hopes they might have for themselves!
By Minfong Ho
Illustrated by Holly Meade
This is a captivating story that combines a Thai lullaby with vivid pictures to describe a mother’s love for her son. In each page, the mother is faced with a different animal that she has to “hush” so that her son can sleep in peace.
Tandem Tip: This is a great book for ages 0-5! The repetition and animal noises will grab your toddler’s attention. If your child is getting ready for kindergarten, you can go beyond the text and have a conversation about the setting or where in the world you might be able to find a specific animal. Make it fun – talk through the pictures and see where your conversation may go!
By Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Stephanie Jorisch
Suki’s Kimono is about a young Japanese girl who wears her grandmother’s kimono to her first day of school. At first, she is teased for standing out, but a little bit of confidence and support from her teacher allows Suki to flourish in her classroom. This is a great book about not being afraid to be your true, authentic self.
Tandem Tip: Keep the conversation going with the pictures! From the very first page, talk about what the child sees or hears. There are tons of opportunities to get up and imitate Suki’s movements, so don’t be afraid to stand up and get moving. This is a great way to keep the attention of children, who may find it difficult to sit still throughout an entire book. Plus… it’s just plain fun to move and dance with your child.
By Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
Hailed in blog posts near and far, this book does a fantastic job of introducing a Korean dish to those who might not be familiar with it. The narrator – a young girl about three years old – opens the story with a trip to the grocery store, and then walks the reader through the steps to prepare bee-bim-bop in the kitchen. At the end, the entire family sits down to enjoy their delicious meal together.
Tandem Tip: Packed with rhymes, this book is great for building phonological awareness – a child’s ability to notice, think about, and manipulate the individual sounds in words. This is an essential early literacy skill that helps children learn about the sound and meaning of words, and later, how to read and write them. Try emphasizing words that rhyme. Ask your child to think of other words that start or stop with a specific sound. Make it a fun game! Even if your child makes up rhyming words – it means they are learning about rhymes and learning how words are put together by specific sounds. Don’t worry – being silly together is half the fun!
For more information on developing your child’s early learning and early literacy skills, check out this tip sheet on our Parent Resources page. You’ll also find other helpful information on interactive reading and stages of development for children ages zero to five.
Community Literacy Specialist
Robia Lee is a Community Literacy Specialist in San Francisco.