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Read Across America in May

Explore the rich history, culture, and literary works of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans. Celebrate the stories of major figures and learn more about the contributions of everyday men, women, and children who made and are making history.

For Younger Readers

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts; illustrated Hyewon Yum (Candlewick, 2016) is a picture book about the trials and triumphs of a Korean family who start a new life in West Virginia.

Discuss and explore:

A Piece of Home is an immigration story with a focus on holding on to tradition in a new home. Share more about Korean traditions using lessons from the Korea Society. Scholastic’s Exploring Family Heritage resources can help younger readers explore and relate.

For Older Readers

The Shadow Hero written by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second, 2014) is a middle grade graphic novel about the origins of the Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero.

Discuss and explore:

Have students further explore the life of Chu F. Hing, the original creator of the Green Turtle. With a look at both the history of comics and the experience of Chinese immigrants, talk with students about the afterword in the book which describes the origins of the Green Turtle and how that information influenced their feelings and understanding of the story.

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani (Tu Books, 2015) is a riveting mystery that involves Claire Takata, a Japanese American teen living in Utah, who has just discovered her father was a member of the yakuza transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan.

Discuss and explore:

The publisher offers text-dependent questions for close reading, discussion questions, and links to interviews with the author which will stimulate conversation about culture, heritage and the importance of seeing yourself in a book. Ask students to imagine a book they would like to read that reflects their own background and have them create a book blurb that describes it.

Engaging Readers of All Ages

Help students understand that the terms Asian American and Asian Pacific American include a number of diverse cultures and peoples. Get students to challenge stereotypes and investigate who Asian Americans are. Have them create a world map that shows all the places Asian Americans hail from and also features historic places in the U.S. where Asians and Pacific Islanders played a role in the heritage of the United States.

Resources from Asia Society and Asian Nation can help students discover and discuss the factors that contribute to the diversity and complexity of the Asian American population.

Additional Resources

Lesson plans from NEA for Teaching Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage

Trace the Asian American experience through themed resources from the Library of Congress

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month resources from Colorín Colorado

The “I Am Asian American” toolkit from Teaching Tolerance provides professional-development resources to help teachers reflect on their own assumptions and knowledge gaps about Asian Americans

Build student global competence and understanding of Asia and the world with resources from Asia Sociey

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!



Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

National Arts in Education Week
September 8-14, 2019

American Education Week
November 18-22, 2019

Coming in 2020...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Monday, March 2, 2020

National Teacher Day
May 5, 2020

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 4 - 8, 2020