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Great AAPI Kids Books

Great AAPI kids Books 

What a time we are living through:The pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the AAPI movement.  It's so important we talk about these topics with our students to give them context and different viewpoints.  This week's focus: AAPI.

Let's talk about Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee.  This book is about Shorty, whose life gets turned upside down when his family is put into an internment camp during WW2.  To create some type of normalcy during this difficult time his father decides to start a baseball team.  To give my students some context, I've organized field trips to the Japanese American National Museum here in Los Angeles.  At this time, JANM is offering virtual tours!  The tours there are led by people who were interned and can offer unique insight to the experience.  They've taught my students Taiko drumming and origami too.  Check them out,

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho.  In this story, a young girl notices that her eyes are different from her peers.  She realizes she has eyes like her family. "They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future."  The illustrations are bright and beautiful.  Check out The Teaching Books Blog where they interviewed Joanna Ho!!

Finally, A Different Pond by acclaimed poet Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Phi.  This is a beautiful book about a father son relationship. Bao and his father go fish for food.  While they fish, his father talks about another pond in Vietnam. Beautifully told books with fantastic illustrations.  This quiet read has won so many awards and is a great read for social justice.  Here is a YouTube link to a reading. 

I love picture books but as an upper grade teacher, I also read chapter books so I need to address that too!

Diamond in the Desert is by Kathryn Fitzmaurice.  It's about 12 year old Tetsu and what his family goes through when they are interned.  As you can infer by the title, baseball has a big part in the book but it also abut family and responsibility.  The author actually did a Skype visit with my students about the book.  She was so sweet.  Here is a link to her website.  I do a close reading unit with my students which can be found here.

One I have not read to my class yet but I plan to is Sylvia and Aki by Winifred Conkling.  This story is about the intersection of the lives of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu.  Sylvia's family was at the heart of the Mendez vs. Westminster School District case which desegregated California schools for Latino families.  Aki's family was sent to an internment camp and Sylvia's family rents their farm while they are being interned.  The real Sylvia and Aki were on a podcast together.  Take a listen.

Last is Inside Out and Back Again (not pictured) by Thannha Lai.  I've read this book every year to my kids since I've discovered it.  It won the National Book award and it is written in free verse so it is more accessible to our growing readers.  The story follows Ha as she moves from Saigon, to Guam to Alabama and how she deals with everything coming down on her.  If you need a close reading guide, find one here!

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How can I make your job easier this year?  Let me know in the comments.  If I use your ideas for a blog post, you will win $10 to Teachers Pay Teachers.  Even better, if I use your ideas to make a resource in my store, LisaTeachR's Classroom, I'll send you a free copy of that resource! 

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