Holiday & School Celebration

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is in May!

May 01
Calendar Activity Type
Holiday & School Celebration

Event Description

Since 1978, the month of May has been a time to honor the heritage of Asian and Pacific Americans and their contributions to the United States. Originally a week-long Asian American Heritage Week, the celebration now lasts through the entire month.

Classroom Activity

Ask students to consider the portrayal of Asians in popular culture by focusing on characters in films and movies. Have students explore images from classic and contemporary films and then compare these images to the historical and cultural reference materials.

  • Visit Asian Images in Film, from Turner Classic Movies, with the class and analyze still images and movie trailers on the site to identify how and when Asians are included in Hollywood films.

  • Have students consider the shortcomings of Hollywood portrayals, after viewing the Asians in Hollywood, Stereotyping of Asians, or Anglos Playing Asians videos on the site.

  • Ask students to find historical and cultural reference materials covering topics similar to those in the film clips. Have students compare the film portrayals to the information that they find in other texts.


This Library of Congress site features resources on Asian Pacific American history and culture, including links to biographies in the Veterans History Project, contemporary Japanese paintings, and resources for teachers.

The Smithsonian Education site includes materials on ethnic heritage, world music, history, and the arts. Visitors can learn about Hawaiian Lu'aus, Chinese immigrants' participation in the American Gold Rush, and the art of Buddhism. Educational materials and lesson plans are also provided.

This article from the Asia Society explores the history of Asian Americans and their role in shaping the country.

Find great books written about a wide range of Asian and Pacific American cultural experiences for children and adolescents.

Watch online interviews with Asian American children's book authors.

These resources below will help you explore the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans with students and ask them to think critically about how the roles and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders have been presented in literature and popular culture.

Related Resources