The rich cultural heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) dates back thousands of years. Both groups have shaped the history of the United States and have had their lives dramatically influenced by moments in its history.

Asian Americans include U.S. citizens whose origins are from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders from Samoa, Fiji, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. According to the Pew Research Center, Asian Americans were the fastest-growing population in the U.S. between 2000 and 2019.

Initially established by U.S. Congress in 1978, Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (first 10 days of May) was expanded to a month in 1992. To help libraries celebrate AAPI Heritage Month, we’ve curated a collection of digital resources to support readers’ advisory, academic research and school curriculum.

Readers’ Advisory

NoveList Plus can help librarians find fiction, nonfiction and audiobooks that reflect the experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, while LibraryAware offers great templates for promoting these books to readers.

For libraries looking to add new books by and about Asian Pacific Americans to their shelves, Core Collections has great recommendations. Here are just a few:

Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis; illustrated by Kenard Pak
In this cumulative rhyme in the style of "The House That Jack Built," a family celebrates Hawaii and its culture while serving poi at a luau.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Telling fibs to fit in better with her wealthier peers, 12-year-old Aru Shah spends her school break at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, where her decision to light a cursed lamp unwittingly releases an ancient demon.

Mooncakes + Milk Bread by Kristina Cho
A popular food blogger, focusing exclusively on Chinese bakeries and cafes, presents simple, easy-to-make interpretations of classic recipes for the modern baker, including sweet and savory baked buns, steamed buns, Chinese breads, unique cookies, juicy dumplings and more.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong
An award-winning poet/essayist offers a ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged exploration of the psychological condition of being Asian American.

High-Quality Academic Resources to Support Asian-American Studies

For researchers and students seeking information on the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, EBSCO’s Academic Search Ultimate, America: History & Life with Full Text and Ethnic Diversity Source databases offer current and historical articles from magazines and scholarly journals covering a wide range of topics. They provide information on AAPI leaders, culture, arts and traditions as well as insights into more recent social movements.

Librarians can save researchers time by adding a dedicated e-book collection of best-selling fiction and nonfiction e-books by and about Asian Americans. Curated by the EBSCO eBooks team of collection development experts, the Asian-American Studies Collection is available to browse and purchase via EBSCOhost Collection Manager. Geared toward undergraduate and graduate students, this featured collection contains e-books on the history, literature and culture of Asian American women, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans and more. Not yet an EBSCO eBooks customer? Request a free trial.

School Curriculum Support

A search of the web also yields a variety of resources to support classroom learning during AAPI Heritage Month. Start with We Are Not a Stereotype, a video series from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Educators can also find videos from PBS as well as lesson plans, activities and professional development resources from these websites:

EBSCO’s school databases also offer content to support teaching and learning about AAPI writers and poets. Literary Reference Plus includes biographies, plot summaries and literary criticism to support students researching the works of Amy Tan, Haruki Murakami, Gene Luen Yang, Jhumpa Lahiri and many more.

Meanwhile, Poetry & Short Story Reference Source  contains Poetry Showcases by The Paris Review for Monica Youn, Tishani Doshi, Wendy Xu, Tan Lin and Vijay Seshadri. Each showcase includes a biography, three poems for discussion, and an interview with the poet.

Print and hang this colorful AAPI Heritage Month poster in your library.