A is for Asian American: An Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Alphabet

Sleeping Bear. Aug. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534111370.
Gr 1-5–From Awkwafina to Jerry Yang, this this fact-filled picture book celebrates the milestones and achievements of Americans whose ancestry includes East, Central, South, or Southeast Asia or Pacific Islands. As in previous books in this series, an alphabet format introduces aspects of history, social justice movements, and culture. Examples include “Q is for Queen Lili’uokalani” and “X Marks the Martial Arts Move.” A spread for “P is for Pioneers” depicts two movie stars, three politicians, and three athletes, including gymnast Sunisa Lee, the first Hmong American Olympian. Four lines of verse and a sidebar of text add information on those pictured, including politicians Dalip Singh Saund, Patsy Mink, and Kamala Harris. “M is for Movements” highlights champions of social justice, such as Wong Kim Ark, who fought for citizenship, and labor leaders Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong. It also shows young people carrying signs: “Unity Against Racism,” “Not Your Model Minority,” and “Stop Asian Hate.” Historic milestones are noted, including the settling of the Louisiana bayous starting in 1763 by Filipinos. Individual accomplishments range from pioneering aviatrix Katherine Sui Fun Cheung to astronauts Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla. Helpful appendices link to up-to-date digital resources and intriguing follow-up activities. Misspellings of two authors’ names in captions of the illustration for “W is for Writers,” Maxine Hong Kingston and Ronald Takaki, mar an otherwise accurate and well-crafted presentation; these are to be corrected in future printings.
VERDICT This upbeat collection of fascinating facts is supplemented by lively illustrations and appendices. A great resource for teachers; young readers will also be inspired to follow up and learn more.

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