I can’t believe it’s already May! This month is extra special for my family and me because it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
In 1979, Jeanie Jew noticed that the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were not being recognized for their sacrifices for this country. She understood this first-hand through her family history. Her own grandfather was killed during the anti-Asian sentiment in the mid-1800s, which was also during the time of the Chinese Exclusion Acts that limited future immigration of Chinese workers in the United States. During that time, Chinese immigrants made huge contributions to building railroads in the West. That accomplishment is a huge reason we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islanders this month.
Are you wondering how you could celebrate this month? Well I am going to provide some suggestions below:
Books (All these books are written by AAPI authors):
If you love Ali Wong’s comedy specials on Netflix then you will definitely enjoy this novel. She created this novel for her daughters so that they could read it in the future. She shares stories about what life was like as an Asian American.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Many might know the Hulu adopted show staring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. This novel focuses on a small town in Ohio and how two families are fighting for custody over a Chinese-American baby.
This Is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila
Ever wondered what life would be like in Hawaii? Well this novel gives readers an insight on what life is like in different parts of Hawaii. The novel focuses on different stories of citizens of the beautiful island. These stories range from happiness to despair.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
A great book for teachers and parents to use when explaining how some names might sound different or be hard to pronounce. Children need to be taught to say names correctly and we need to teach our kids to love their names even when they sound different.
Grandmother School by Rina Singh
Based off a true story of a grandmother and her granddaughter in India- this is a story that is touching and loving. A girl takes her grandmother to school so that her grandmother can learn how to read and write since there is a huge population of elderly people in India that are unable.
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
This is such a fun book celebrating a Korean rice dish all families find meaningful. The sing-song read is so fun with little kids!
Books based off Thai Culture
These recommendations are from my fellow contributor Ericka.
Take a trip to Thailand with these 4 beautiful books! Play hide and seek and and peek-a-boo in “Peek”, then help a Thai mother put her baby to sleep in “Hush”. Mingfong Ho and Holly Meade create such captivating stories and illustrations, and your kids will love the Thai animals (and their sounds) featured on each page! Follow those with a visit to a Thai village to meet “The Umbrella Queen” by Shirin Yim Bridges – and find out how Noot learns to express herself and follow her heart. Then join “Mela and the Elephant” on a trip through the Thai jungle, where Mela learns that kindness is its own reward. We really like that “Mela and the Elephant” features an author’s note from Dow Phumiruk that will help you learn more about Thailand, and Thai customs. My Thai daughter loves all these books featuring her homeland. We hope you’ll read them to your children, and teach them more about the country and culture that’s so special to us!
Shows that give you a better insight of Asian American and Pacific Islander families and lifestyles.
Fresh Off The Boat– Set in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, this show takes you on a journey with a Taiwanese-American family that is moving from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida to open up a cowboy themed restaurant.
The Mindy Project– This show focuses on an obstetrician/gynecologist as she tries to balance her life and work. Mindy Kaling, you might know her from The Office, wrote this show which was inspired by her mother who, in real life, was an OB/GYN.
Never Have I Ever- An Indian American teenager tries to fit in and establish her social status at her school. Another Mindy Kaling created show. In the show, the teenager is also Indian American and a lot of the experiences that the teen experiences are from her own life as she was growing up.
The Half of It– An Asian American girl helps a football player get a date with a girl, Aster. The football player, Paul, and girl setting them up, Ellie, both end up falling in love with Aster.
Kim’s Convenience– One of my favorite shows on Netflix right now! The last season is coming out soon and I am very sad about it. Kim’s Convenience is about parent immigrants that came to Canada for a better life. The family owns a convenience store and it shows the many truths about Asian families living in America/Canada.
Raya & The Last Dragon
Supermarkets and Restaurants
Hometown Supermarket and Mr. Chen’s
Hours: Homewood: Sunday-Saturday 11AM-9PM l Hoover: Sunday-Saturday 11AM-7:30PM
Locations: Homewood: 808 Green Springs Hwy, Homewood, AL 35209 l Hoover: 1917 Hoover Ct, Birmingham, AL 35226
Red Pearl Super Oriental Market
Location: 243 W Valley Ave, Homewood, AL 35209
These are my top supermarkets that I use whenever I am trying to find ingredients to make a Vietnamese dish. These two markets also have restaurants attached to them, and I recommend having a family dinner at any of the two restaurants. Then afterwards you can check out the markets!