Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month

The month of May has been full of celebrations of Asian American Pacific Heritage Island month. I can’t say I often find much that highlights Pacific Island Heritage. It’s estimated that the Pacific Islands consist of 20,000-30,000 islands and is divided into three specific regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Three blogs I would suggest following to keep up with children’s and YA lit in this region are the following.

Hawaiian Book Book

Asian in the Heart World on My Mind

Into the Wardrobe

And, you’ll never go wrong following Asian Pacific American Librarians Association’s website. In addition to highlighting members, they feature articles which answer “What’s Your Normal?”, sponsor literature awards, mentor new members, offer grants and scholarships and sponsor Talk Story , a literacy program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) children and their families.

 The following are a few of the recent books set in this region.

 Island boyz Graham Salisbury In this rich collection, Salisbury’s love for Hawaii and its encircling sea shines through every story. Readers will share the rush a boy feels when he leaps off a cliff into a ravine or feasts his eyes on a beautiful woman. They’ll find stories that show what it takes to survive prep school, or a hurricane, or the night shift at Taco Bell, or first love. Graham Salisbury knows better than anyone what makes an island boy take chances. Or how it feels to test the waters, to test the limits, and what it’s like when a beloved older brother comes home from war, never to be the same.

The Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer Minke is a young Javanese student of great intelligence and ambition. Living equally among the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, he battles against the confines of colonial strictures. It is his love for Annelies that enables him to find the strength to embrace his world.

Aloha, Kanani and Good Job, Kanani by Lisa Yee Kanani loves helping out in her family’s store and sharing the wonders of Hawaii with visitors. When her chic cousin Rachel from Manhattan comes to stay for a month, Kanani can’t wait to get to know her cousin and help Rachel feel at home. But a clash of cultures ensures, and Kanani feels ignored. She tries to extend hospitality but everything she does seems to make Rachel unhappy. How can she find a way to connect with her cousin and make things better? Sometimes people who want help the least need it the most– her mother tells her. After a mixup with a diary leads to a fight, Kanani reaches out to Rachel in an openhearted spirit of caring and good will, and discovers that she has misjudged her cousin. In the process, Kanani learns the true meaning of Hawaii’s aloha spirit.

Tall story by Candy Gourlay Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.

Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.

In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

Mister Pip by Lloyd Johnson (links to review on this blog)

Book descriptions from

 What other books or blogs have you found that highlight Pacific Island literature for children or teens?

Supporting Asian Pacific American Librarians

From the Asian Pacific American Library Association (APALA) blog: 

Each year APALA offers financial assistance to a student of Asian or Pacific background enrolled in or accepted to an MLS program. APALA also offers libraries and organizations scholarships to develop Talk Story: Sharing Stories, Sharing Culture literacy programming; these programs reach out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska Native apala_brand_tote_bag(AIAN) children and their families through the exploration of stories in books, oral traditions and art.

APALA needs your support to sustain and grow these important services to our communities!

Please consider purchasing items from the APALA Store. A portion of store precedes benefit APALA scholarships and programs like the ones mentioned above.

apala_logo_tshirtThere are items to fit every personality and budget, including apparel, mugs, water bottles, cards, buttons and much more.

Please visit the APALA Store on CafePress.


I’m enjoying today. I am prefer these cooler temperatures and am so happy to be at home in the middle of the day to see the sun streaming into my bedroom. I miss Saturday, Garcon and Manning, but I’m still cheering for my Colts and look forward to wearing that same shade of blue to watch the Sycamores take to the field here in TH. I’m watching them play the Bears right now and although I want my Colts to win, I have watched so many Bears games, love Chicago so much that I don’t think I’ll be disappointed if the Bears win, or at least not too disappointed.

I think of how my favorite players are dispersed, how I’ve come to admire so many teams and players and I find it hard to wish any a losing season. As I’ve aged I think I’ve become aware of so much more in the world of football that I and want to see and follow more.

I hope as search engines continue to customize my search results, they come to understand my growing interests and don’t limit to only information about the Colts. I am truly a life long learning.

With the Colts and Bears playing in front of me, I turned to Google Reader to collect my feeds and prepare this post and I stopped with one of the first posts I starred. I don’t want to write any more that will prevent you from clicking the link to read and begin to follow the Asian Pacific American Library Association’s (APALA) series, The New Normal which begins with this post by Gurpreet Kaur Rana. In it:

I kept seeing that phrase on T-shirts and placards at candlelight vigils and memorials for the Oak Creek victims: “We are all Sikhs”. We truly are – more than even those who may say it realize. The literal meaning of “Sikh” is “learner”. As librarians, we are lifelong learners who share what we learn.

I think I want a t-shirt that says “Librarian Sikh”

I hope your team wins today!



I kept waking up to thunder last night and was so happy to see that it had actually rained here! In this drought, we’ve too often gotten thunder and lightning that signified nothing. Icing on the cake will be the 70 degree temps tomorrow! Maybe we shouldn’t have 70 days in August, but we shouldn’t be hotter than New Mexico, either!

So, I’m between having finished and getting started and in a pause that I filled with doing a little reading and needing to do a little posting!

Congratulations to Debbie Reese on receiving the 2012 Blog Award for her blog American Indians in Children’s Literature from WordCraft! Wordcraft Circle is a Native organization founded in 1992 to help aspiring Native writers. Congratulations also to Tim Tingle for winning WorldCraft’s Children Literature award for SaltyPie: A Choctaw journey from darkness to light.

States are beginning to post their nominees for state awards. Indiana’s will be announced in November. It’s important to nominate books to these lists because teachers and librarians use them when purchasing books. From the list of nominees, students across the state will read the books and vote for the best books on the list. Typically, children’s books are separate from YA. What Can’t Wait has just been named one of 20 Georgia Peach Book Award nominees for 2012-2013 .

A book that certainly  needs to be on state reading lists today is Neesha Meminger’s Shine Coconut Moon. From my review

Sam‘s Uncle suddenly comes to visit. He is her mom’s only brother, the brother she walked away from when she left her family to marry the love of her life. Sam‘s mom resented the Indian culture that she felt was stifling her, so she left it behind and never looked back. She raised her daughter to be an all American girl. Sam dressed, talked and acted just like her white friends.

And then her Uncle Sandeep appears. Her turban wearing Sikh uncle in post 9/11 America.

“Bryan Thao Worra, Lao-American writer, poet, and a member of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), was selected to represent Lao poets in Poetry Parnassus, a weeklong poetry festival held in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics”. source: ALA Direct Congratulations, Bryan!

“Have you registered for JCLC yet? The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will convene an “All Things Digital” panel at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Sept. 19-23, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo”. source

Whatever weather comes your way, I hope your day is a good one!