This spring marks 100 years since the thriving Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sometimes called Black Wall Street, was burned down and many of its residents were killed in what became known as the Tulsa Race Massacre. While this is not an easy subject to discuss with children, acknowledging and learning from this violence in our history is important for all Americans to grapple with. These books are best shared and discussed with older children.
May is Jewish American Heritage Month The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society.
The author issued a letter of apology via his YouTube channel, acknowledging that his use of stereotypes when it came to the character of Master Wong, kung fu, and Chinese philosophy amounted to “passive racism.” In his apology, Pilkey stated that he had “intended to showcase diversity, equality and nonviolent conflict resolution” with the book, but he had fallen short of these goals.
Racial stereotypes and passive racism are harmful to all children because it perpetuates the narrative that this is normal for people to be treated this way. It is important for all children to see people of color represented accurately, without racist misinformation, because it fosters positive self-image and reduces the chance that children will internalize harmful stereotypes.
Scholastic has vowed that they will publish books that represent a diverse society, and the library will continue its journey to learn about the importance of inclusive collections.
While many of us associate scary stories with October and cool weather, I think it’s great fun to read scary stories in the spring, especially when there’s a thunderstorm rolling in.
I’d like to recommend two scary books I enjoyed recently, and both of them just happened to be written by Asian American authors.
First is The Girl and the Ghost by Hana Alkaf. This ghost story is inspired by Malaysian folklore. I love folk and fairy tales, so I was excited about a story inspired by Malaysian folk traditions.
When Suraya is very young, a type of ghost called a pelesit comes to her, and says he is a gift from her grandmother. Suraya, who is very lonely, just sees him as a friend. But as she gets older, their relationship begins to change, and other ghosts from her past begin to emerge.
I loved this book. It’s very scary! It is also a beautiful story about family and friendship. I read it all in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down! After you read the book, I recommend reading this interview with Hana Alkaf to learn more about her and the book!
The second book is Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh. In this book, Harper Raine is struggling after her family moves to a new house in a new town, especially since an accident she had at her old school was the reason she had to move. In her new house, strange things start happening, especially with her little brother, who seems to be talking to someone that no one else can see.
Like The Girl and the Ghost, Spirit Hunters is scary while also being a great story about family secrets and the strength of friendship.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Cenus.gov has lots of information about the history of this monthlong celebration: “In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.
In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.”