Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander History

Monthly Highlights - May 2023

Monthly Highlights – May 2023

The selected resources are designed to help students celebrate triumphs of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in California, acknowledge the ongoing struggle for civil rights, and inquire into identity, citizenship, and community. 

Access this AAPI History Month blog from the CHSSP Archive.

Featured Teaching Resources

  • AAPI in the Inland Empire
    • This video, produced by the UCLA History-Geography Project is part of the Eastside Stories Project, a Teaching with Primary Sources initiative aimed at uncovering the hidden stories of the Inland Empire in order to provide resources and learning opportunities that integrate local history into TK-12 history and ethnic studies classrooms
  • Lessons from WWII Home Front Institute
    • These lessons and presentations were created by participants from the 2014, 2016, and 2019 Institutes.
  • Cecilia Tsu, “Anti-Asian Racism in United States History,” Current Context, May 2021. 
    • Current Context is a classroom-ready resource. This issue explores the history of Anti-Asian racism and includes an annotated timeline and primary source activity for students. Hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders rose by 167%, according to federal data. 
  • Lessons to Accompany the Chinese Exclusion Act
    • This unit was designed by UCB History-Social Science Project, along with Oakland Unified School District and the Center for Asian American Media. The resource contains a documentary, introductory activities, and for lessons.
    • HSS Standard
  • Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
    • This session will explore how teachers can translate excerpts of trade books into history-aligned classroom lessons. Join authors Stan Yogi and Laura Atkins to discuss their middle grade book Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. UCBHSSP teacher leader Jennifer Brouhard will share a lesson she developed to accompany the text. 
  • Inquiry Set: “How Free Were Chinese Immigrants in the American West?
    • HSS Standard 8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to theIndustrial Revolution Identify the new sources of large-scale immigration and the contributions of immigrants to the building of cities and the economy; explain the ways in which new social and economic patterns encouraged assimilation of newcomers into the mainstream amidst growing cultural diversity; and discuss the new wave of nativism.
  • Lost LA Curriculum: The Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871
    • The lesson includes a downloadable PDF and a slide presentation.
    • HSS Standard 11.2.2: Describe the purpose, challenges, and economic incentives associated with westward expansion, including the concept of Manifest Destiny (e.g., the Lewis and Clark expedition, accounts of the removal of Indians, the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears,” settlement of the Great Plains) and the territorial acquisitions that spanned numerous decades.
  • Inquiry Set: “Immigrants to Angel Island at the Turn of the 20th Century
    • This source set examines the experiences of immigrants at Angel Island and Ellis Island through photographs and first-hand accounts, and considers the impact of immigration policy on these hopeful immigrants.
    • 8th Grade, HSS Standard: United States History and Geography: Growth and Conflict
      • 8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to the Industrial Revolution
      • 8.12.5 Examine the location and effects of urbanization, renewed immigration, and industrialization (e.g., the effects on the social fabric of cities, wealth and economic opportunity, the conservation movement).

Picture Books (#KatesBookClub)

This month #KatesBookClub includes books that celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander culture, life, and history. 

I Am An American:  The Wong Kim Ark Story by Martha Brockenbrough with Grace Lin, pictures by Julia Kuo.  

  • When American-born Wong Kim Ark returns home to San Francisco after a visit to China, he’s stopped and told he cannot enter: he isn’t American. What happens next would forever change the national conversation on who is and isn’t American. After being imprisoned on a ship for months, Wong Kim Ark takes his case to the Supreme Court and argues that any person born in America is an American citizen.  Annotation from publisher
  • Book Club Note: This is a great book to introduce topics including the 14th Amendment, how ideas about American citizenship are contested and change over time, and how the Supreme Court shapes our past, present, and future. Bonus: it’s a California story!

I Am Golden, words by Eva Chen, pictures by Sophie Diao  

  • This book is a moving tale of the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children. "What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty? We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold." Annotation from publisher
  • Book Club Note: Be sure to read the Author's Note where she explains what it was like for her to grow up in two different worlds–many students (and many of us!) will relate to this experience though never had the vocabulary to articulate the feeling!   

Playing at the Border:  A Story of Yo-Yo Ma, words by Johanna Ho, pictures by Teresa Martinez  

  • Yo-Yo Ma performed at the US-Mexico border at the Rio Grande on April 13, 2019. This was part of his multi-continent “Bach Project” tour, where he worked to show how music can build bridges rather than walls between different cultures. 
  • Book Club Note: This is a fabulous read with so many connections to be made: immigration, different cultures meeting together.  Don't miss the back story.  California author.

The Most Beautiful Thing, words by Kao Kalia Yang, pictures by Khoa Lee   

  • Fictionalized memoir of the Hmong author's childhood focuses on her grandmother, who is "so old, no one knows how old she is." When her grandmother was young, she "once looked into the gleaming eyes of a tiger and felt its hot breath on her face." Now she is old, with a single tooth left in her mouth. Her grandchildren believe themselves lucky to be able to help take care of her. While she takes care of her grandmother's nails, the main character bonds with her grandmother, learning  stories of her grandmother’s childhood: Grandmother and her three younger siblings were orphaned and often hungry, which is the reason Grandmother never says no when offered food today. Over time, the grandchild begins to understand the economic challenges her own family faces, and realizes that her grandmother is beginning to lose some of her words, but she is always reminded of her grandmother's smile as "the most beautiful thing." 
  • Book Club Note: The theme of respect and love for an aging family member is central to this story. The book includes a helpful pronunciation guide at the front of the book.

Watercress, words by Andrea Wang, pictures by Jason Chin.  

  • As her family drives along a road in rural Ohio, a girl’s parents suddenly stop when they see watercress growing by the side of the road. The girl is embarrassed when she has to help collect it and refuses to eat it when it’s prepared for dinner. This prompts a family discussion of her parents’ childhoods in China that helps the girl gain appreciation for her parents and for the watercress. 
  • Book Club Note: This is a beautiful story to share with children of all ages, but especially upper elementary students who sometimes find their parents annoying. A terrific story about the power of memory - both the good and the difficult.  Caldecott Award Winner, 2022. Newbery Honor Winner, 2022.  Asian Pacific American Honor Award, 2022.