May was an exciting month for Impact as we celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This special occasion gave us the opportunity to honor and appreciate the rich Asian cultural diversity at Impact as well as the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans throughout history. As part of our celebrations, we carefully curated a school-wide reading list that highlights remarkable stories and experiences. We embarked on a literary journey that broadened our horizons and deepened our understanding of the Asian Pacific American community!
Kindergarten: “The Boy and the Bindi” by Vivek Shraya
For our Kindergartners, we chose a heartwarming tale called “the Boy and the Bindi.” This beautifully illustrated book introduces to young readers the concept of bindis, a traditional forehead decoration worn by people from South Asia. Through this engaging story, scholars learn about self-expression, acceptance, and embracing diversity.
1st grade: “Ohana Means Family” by Ilima Loomis
For first grade, we delved into the delightful “Ohana Means Family” by Ilima Loomis. This charming story celebrates the importance of family and the unique bond that exists in Hawaiian culture. Young readers embark on an adventure with Kekoa as he learns about the values of love, loyalty, and the spirit of “ohana,” which means family.
2nd grade: “Eyes That Kiss in the Corner” by Joanna Ho
In second grade, we explored “Eyes that Kiss in the Corner” by Joanna Ho. This empowering book embraces the diversity and beauty of Asian eyes. It encourages young readers to appreciate their unique features and celebrates the various cultures and heritages with the Asian community. Through vivid illustrations and a heartfelt story, scholars learn the power of self-acceptance and embracing their identity.
3rd grade: “Lon Po Po” by Ed Young
Third grade readers dove into the captivating world of “Lon Po Po” by Ed Young. Inspired by a Chinese version of the classic Red Riding Hood tale, this suspenseful story engages young minds with its intriguing plot and stunning artwork. Through the lens of traditional Chinese culture, readers will explore themes of bravery, resourcefulness, and the importance of family bonds.
4th grade: “It Began with a Page” by Kyo Maclear
For our fourth graders, we selected “It Began with a Page” by Kyo Maclear. This remarkable picture book biography celebrates the life and accomplishments of Gyo Fujikawa, a trailblazing Japanese-American artist and writer. Through her influential work, Fujikawa broke barriers and championed diversity in children’s literature, leaving an enduring legacy. This book inspires young readers to follow their passions, overcome obstacles, and make a positive impact on the world.
5th grade: “Eyes that Speak to the Stars” by Hena Khan
In fifth grade, we explored the thought-provoking novel “Eyes that Speak to the Stars” by Hena Khan. This story follows Amina, a Pakistani-American girl, as she navigates the challenges of middle school. Amina’s journey explores themes of friendship, cultural identity, and embracing one’s voice.
These books celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of the Asian Pacific American community and by immersing ourselves in these diverse narratives, we foster empathy, understanding, and respect for different cultures and backgrounds. As we embark on this literary adventure together, let us appreciate the beauty of these stories and gain a deeper appreciation for the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans in shaping our society.