Producer 1990 Institute 
Overview What books influenced your perspective when you were in school? Did you read stories about people from a variety of backgrounds? When you immerse yourself in a good book, even if the story is about someone who may seem dissimilar to you, your world is opened to different perspectives and you can recognize our shared humanity.

Integrating Asian American perspectives into English Language Arts and Literature classes involves actively involving students in discussions that delve into topics such as immigration, assimilation, racism, economic challenges, and justice, as well as familial and ethnic pride, resilience, and joy as seen through Asian American experiences and voices. By incorporating a range of viewpoints from different backgrounds and using an interdisciplinary approach, educators can deepen students’ knowledge of the vibrant cultural tapestry within our communities as well as enrich their understanding of material across their classes. 

This workshop is designed to equip middle and secondary school educators with valuable insights they can pass along to their students about Asian identity, history, and issues through literary works, with consideration to the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics.

Dr. Noreen Naseem Rodríguez & Diana Liu – Speaker Presentation. Downloadable PDF

Publish Date September 27, 2023
Background Research For Teachers Social Studies for a Better World An Anti-Oppressive Approach for Elementary Educators, by Noreen Naseem Rodríguez and Katy Swalwell, September 1, 2023

When the Right Place at the Right Time Is Absolutely Wrong, by Jen Doll, March 13, 2023, The New York Times: In Vibhuti Jain’s debut novel, “Our Best Intentions,” a bloody crime scene and a missing suspect prompt a biting examination of race, wealth and privilege in a small suburban community.

Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature.

Asian American Narratives in U.S. History and Contemporary Society, by Noreen Naseem Rodríguez and Sohyun An, January 2022, National Council for the Social Studies

How to Read Literature Like a Professor A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, by Thomas C. Foster, February 18, 2003

East Asian American Literature: A Unit of Study and Lesson Plan, by Nick Tang and Ian Altman, University of Georgia

District selection policies to be used in conjunction with Recommended Reading: Pre-K-12, September 6, 2023, California Department of Education

Using Children’s Literature to Build Concepts Of Teaching About Global Citizenship, by Debbie Bradbery, 2012, University of Newcastle 

APALA Rubric to Evaluate Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth Literature, by Amy Breslin, Sarah Park Dahlen, Kristen Kwisnek, and Becky Leathersich, 2021, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA)

Humanizing Asian Americans in the Classroom Through Children’s Literature, by Monisha Bajaj, March 26, 2021, Learning for Justice

4 Ways to Incorporate More Asian American Perspectives Into the Curriculum, Don Vu, September 2, 2021, Edutopia

Speculative Worlds of Color: Highlighting common tropes, stereotypes, and biases found in speculative fiction and media, by Jewel Davis

Why We Need More Diversity in South Asian Representation, by Mishma Nixon, December 3, 2020, We Need Diverse Books

Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen – Spring 2021 Baker Diversity Lecture Series, April 28, 2021, University of South Carolina: Children’s literature depicting the Asian diaspora has grown and diversified considerably over the past few decades, partly because the 1965 Immigration Act made it possible for more Asian people to immigrate to the United States; the “children of 1965,” as Min Hyoung Song calls them, have come of age and are publishing some of the most highly regarded books in the industry. In this lecture, Dr. Dahlen argues that Asian American youth literature may be approaching a “golden age,” as measured by both popularity and critical acclaim, but despite significant gains, this literature has a long way to go. By examining children’s literature addressing two specific topics—Asian bodies and Asian food—Dr. Dahlen demonstrates how this literature still suffers from persistent distortions and erasure, and suggests some interventions we need to make in order to diversify and complicate depictions of the Asian diaspora in an increasingly transnational world.

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books, by Louise Derman-Sparks, 2013,

Lesson Plans Suggested lesson activities provided by courtesy of Courtney Duke and Kyong Pak (conversation moderators of TW):

Courtney Duke Assistant Upper School Head – 11th Grade Advisor/12th Grade English Teacher 

Kyong Joo Pak – History Department – Global Studies Coordinator

How to use poetry in your class to discuss the essential question: What does it mean to be Asian in America? 

Activity #1:

  1. Read and discuss: “What does it mean to be Asian in America?
  2. Break students into 3 groups to read 3 separate articles:
    1. The Inadequacy of the Term Asian American
    2. In many American families, racism is rarely discussed
    3. Seeing myself- and Asian American defiance- in Gilmore Girls’ Lane Kim
  3. Ask each group to present to the class

Activity #2:

  1. Ask students to choose a poem from a list of Asian American Voices in Poetry
  2. Students conduct a poetry analysis Template for Poetry Analysis and follow up with a 1-pager PDF

Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner, August 20, 2018, The New Yorker

  • Make a trip to an Asian supermarket
  • Explore your own relationship with your family with food
  • Visit an Asian restaurant
  • What experiences did the author have with her mother that is universal and transcends culture and ethnicity?
  • In Chapter 5, the author mentioned about not having role models. What are the implications for Asian American youth when they do not see representations in literature?

Asian American & Pacific Islander Perspectives within Humanities Education, EDSITEment

Lesson Plan: “What Asian American Studies, Literature, and Art Teaches us During COVID-19”, Department of English, University of Washington

AAPI Women: Untold Stories Through Poetry: through this unit students will explore Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s poetry in order to craft and inspire their own poetry.

A collection of lesson plans featuring poems by Asian American and Pacific American poets,

This Is My Brain In Love Lesson Plan by I.W. Gregorio: This guide on the novel helps students have a broader understanding of Chinese immigration in the 1800s and beyond

Forced Removal: Lesson Plan | And Then They Came for Us, PBS LearningMedia: In this lesson, students will view a short video clip that shows the small but important steps taken by the U.S. government in the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Students will participate in a protocol to create a found poem and then craft a claim that answers the essential question using evidence from the film. Finally, students will ask a question that is lingering in their minds for future study.

Vietnamese Americans: Lessons in American History: Eight lesson plans on short stories and essays on Vietnamese American experiences.


Book Lists Asian American Book List, WeTeachNYC, New York City Department of Education

Asian American Curriculum Project (AACP, Inc.) curates a book list to educate the general public about Asian and Pacific Islander American culture, history, and current experiences. Their website covers a variety of topics including monthly book selection, children’s books, history, culture, language, and memoirs

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: is a project of Teaching for Change, which critically reviewed selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Books and More for K-12 Students, May 26, 2023, National Education Association (NEA)

Asian American Voices: An Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Reading List, PEN America The Freedom to Write amplifies contemporary Asian American voices in this reading list by showcasing titles from Asian American authors, these works interrogate and examine our notions of identity in startling and innovative ways

Asian American Voices in Young Adult Literature, by Karen Jensen, January 31, 2018, Teen Librarian Toolbox (TLT)

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA): honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, 2001-2023, TeachingBooks: Resources for the titles recognized by this award since its inception in 2001 — portraying Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage

Asian & Asian American Voices, Hachette Book Group

Beloved Asian American Literature You Have to Read, by Karissa Chen, May 30, 2017, The New York Public Library 

CALA Annual Best Book Award, 2008-2023, Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) promotes awareness of the best books of Chinese topics or literature written by authors of Chinese descent, in English or Chinese language, that are originally published in North America

Celebrating Asian American Voices (Picture Books), Gail Borden Public Library District: a list of recommended picture books to share with children remembering, honoring, celebrating, and uplifting Asian and Asian American voices, cultures and experiences

Celebrating Asian American Voices (Grade School), Gail Borden Public Library District

Children’s List, Gold House Book Club curates a book list every 2 seasons with a focus on a specific theme for early and middle school readers such as resilience and identity 

Contemporary Asian and Asian-American voices in literature: an informal guide to books at Stanford Libraries about Asian and Asian-American experiences by contemporary Asian and Asian-American authors 

Honoring AANHPI Voices, April 28, 2023, On Our Minds (OOM): list of books for children ages 4-14 and up/Grades P to Grades 9 and up

Recommended Asian American Children’s Literature, by Noreen Naseem Rodriguez: created by our speakers of the 2023 Teachers Workshop on Teaching Asian American Narratives with Literature.

Stories Beyond Borders: A Chinese American And Diasporic Reading List, Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA): created to commemorate the Chinese American Librarians Association’s 50th Anniversary, Stories Beyond Borders features children’s, middle grade, and young adult books centering Chinese American and diasporic voices. Rooted in different parts of the world, these empowering stories transcend borders and reflect the multifaceted experiences of our communities, leading us toward a brighter future full of hope, harmony, and unchecked possibilities.

Texts and Authors for Teaching Asian American Literature, by Kyung Cho, Victoria Meng, Sophie Oberfield, Annie Thoms, and Shreya Vora, October 25, 2021, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) invited five NYC educators to discuss teaching Asian American literature and using it to help students understand 9/11 and its ripple effects

The Margins is an award-winning digital magazine of literature, arts, and ideas published by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW). They feature original poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, critical essays, reportage, translations, interviews, and experimental and hybrid-genre work.

The May Book Project, launched by The Very Asian Foundation, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, to help schools and libraries build and maintain robust Asian American youth literature collections for all readers. 

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