When I was a child, my mother brought my siblings and me to the library every week to borrow books. Our public library limited cardholders to seven checkouts, so my sister, brother and I would each select two books and my mom would choose one book for herself and borrow all the items on her library card. My siblings and I spent a lot of time carefully browsing the shelves in the children’s department. We had to make sure we were making the right choices, since these were the only “new” books we would have in our house for the next seven days.
Though I was born and raised in Chicago, my parents were from the Philippines, and Filipino culture and traditions were a part of my upbringing. I remember there were not many books in my local library with characters who looked like me and who I could relate to. Sadly, the few books that I encountered did not portray Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in a positive way. You may have heard about some of these books in recent news stories, as well as negative and very tragic ordeals that Asian Americans have experienced over the years.
Today, there are a lot of great children’s books that feature positive images and representations of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders and are written by AAPI authors. I have happily shared them with my family. I invite you to share these books with your family, too.