San Diego Public Library celebrates the rich heritage, cultures, experiences, contributions and resilience of our Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander-identified (AAPI) communities. Join the celebration by checking out our diverse program offerings, resources or by choosing a book from our staff-created AAPI Heritage book lists.
In the midst of this arduous year, San Diego Public Library continues to pledge our solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We're committed to bringing awareness to the barriers AAPI face in their struggle for equity and justice and determined to break down those obstacles.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa - Our title image for AAPI Heritage month was inspired by Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura) by Katsushika Hokusai in his series entitled Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (1830-1831). An influential Japanese artist, Hokusai's "wave" is the most iconic example of Japanese wood block printing or nishiki-e. The wave has become a symbol of both Japanese identity and as a metaphor for the “unpredictability of life.” Given the ups and downs of the past year on multiple fronts, using the wave seemed fitting.
The San Diego Public Library Virtual Hub is a Facebook group where Library Staff and partnering organizations offer daily virtual programs for all ages including: read alouds, crafts & DIY, booktalks, and more! Access to our library buildings is very limited, but the fun never stops in our virtual club. Join and get access to our growing collection of videos and resources.
Monday, May 3, 2021 | 5 – 5:15 p.m.
Cooking Around the World features staff members sharing recipes from their diverse backgrounds. In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021, Branch Manager Azalea Ebbay will share her favorite Filipino party appetizer, lumpia shanghai. The featured recipe is from the cookbook The Adobo Road Cookbook by Marvin Gapultos, view the recipe here.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 | 3 – 3:15 p.m.
Buddhist layperson Chenxing Han writes a necessary correction to many American ideas about Buddhists and Buddhism.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 | 4 – 4:15 p.m.
In Honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Mr. Ton will discuss the YA novel Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai. This story focuses on two siblings attempting to safely flee their country during the Vietnam War and reuniting in America. Butterfly Yellow won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2020.
Friday, May 7, 2021 | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Join Ratna from Mira Mesa Library, as she sings “He Sharde Maa,” a song that is dedicated to Maa Sharde or Sarawati, the Hindu goddess of speech, learning, music and knowledge. Come experience the beauty & culture of India!
Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 12 – 12:15 p.m.
In Honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Mr. Ton will discuss the Jasmine Toguchi Series by Debbie Michiko Florence. In this chapter book series for young readers, is about a spunky, eight-year-old Japanese-American heroine unafraid to try new things while learning life lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood along the way.
Starting Monday, May 10th, celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month at City Heights Library with our Eastern Dragon Mythology activity kits. Through these kits, participants will learn about the role dragons play in Chinese Culture & mythology. Each kit contains eastern dragon facts, a dragon roll craft, dragon glasses, a light-up dragon necklace, & fun coloring activities.
Kits are available for pick-up at City Heights Library starting on May 10th, 2021. When you arrive at the library, just give staff a call & we will deliver your kit contact-free. Available while supplies last. 619-641-6100 – 3795 Fairmount Ave.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 | 2 – 2:15 p.m.
Welcome to a special Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month edition of the Art of Cartooning. The Japanese word “kawaii,” roughly translated as “cute,” is also a cultural phenomenon in Japan. This week, we’ll draw a character often referred to as an early example of kawaii … Hello Kitty! Although this class is geared for kids, all ages are welcome to participate!
Friday, May 14, 2021 | 10 – 10:30 a.m.
Join Señor Chon on Friday, May 14th at 10 am on the SDPL Virtual Hub and SY Facebook page, as he reads "Henry and the Kite Dragon" by Bruce Edward Hall and William Low, to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. "A Chinese boy becomes angry when the Italian boys in his New York City neighborhood keep destroying the beautiful kites the boy has helped to make. When he gathers his friends to seek revenge, what they gain instead is understanding. This is a gorgeously illustrated story based on true events that has a positive message for readers of all ages."
Friday, May 14, 2021 | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Join Robert from Pacific Beach Library, for a very special Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Adult Create. Robert will be giving step-by-step instructions on how to create these very special tropical-themed wreaths to help get you in the spirit of AAPI Heritage Month throughout May.
Saturday, May 15, 2021 | 12 – 12:15 p.m.
Looking for your next great kids’ read? Then join us for a Children’s Book Talk! This week, in celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, youth services librarian Ms. Erin tells you all about When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller. “When You Trap a Tiger” is this year’s winner of both the Newbery Medal, as well as the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. Find out if this is a book you would like to read!
Kits are available from Saturday, May 15, while supplies last.
In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, join us for a craft activity making your own Fruit Shaped Paper Fan. They are easy to make, cute to carry around and the perfect accessory to cool off on a hot summer day! Swing by any SDPL location offering contactless pickup or limited in-person services to pick up your kit. Kits are available from Saturday, May 15, while supplies last.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 | 2 – 2:15 p.m.
Welcome to the second Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month edition of the Art of Cartooning. Today’s character was created by the same company as Hello Kitty. He’s a little penguin who has been featured on apparel, DVDs, and even guitars! Badtz-Maru is today’s featured character. Although this class is geared for kids, all ages are welcome to participate!
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | 4 – 4:15 p.m.
Join Ben from Oak Park Library for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as he reviews Money Boy by Paul Yee, a powerful tale of coming out & survival on the streets as a queer & API teen.
Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 3:30 – 4 p.m.
This Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month the San Diego Public Library presents the Polynesian Paradise Dancers! Travel to the South Pacific and learn the history, culture, music, language and dances of Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Samoa. This is a must see virtual program this AAPI month!
Friday, May 21, 2021 | 10 – 10:30 a.m.
Join Mrs. Claudia on Friday, May 21st at 10 am on the SDPL Virtual Hub and SY Facebook page, for a special multilingual storytime as she reads in Spanish, English and sign language, "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho, and "Amy Wu & the Perfect Bao" by Kat Zhang and Charlene Chua to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Friday, May 21, 2021 | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Mabuhay all! In honor AAPI Heritage Month, join us for a bilingual storytime by local author, Dr. Joy Francisco, as she reads in Tagalog and English, Pamilya Ko. Pamilya Ko is the fourth of a language series. Discover Filipino Heritage through, songs, activities, & storytelling! Everyone is welcome! Maraming Salamat po.
Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 11 – 12:00 p.m.
In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021, learn how to make the ultimate refreshing Filipino summer dessert, Halo Halo. This event will be posted during the specified time on the San Diego Public Library's 2021 Virtual How-To Festival.
Sunday, May 23, 2021 | 10– 10:30 a.m.
In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, join us in creating a beautiful, yet easy, Japanese cherry blossom painting. We'll also discuss the significance and symbolism of the cherry blossom within Japanese culture.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 2 – 2:15 p.m.
Welcome to the third Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month edition of the Art of Cartooning. We had so much fun drawing kawaii characters over the past two weeks that we’re adding one more class! The name of today’s character roughly translates from Japanese to English as “relaxed bear.” Rilakkuma, the cute little bear with a zipper on its back, is today’s character. Although this class is geared for kids, all ages are welcome to participate!
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 5 – 5:30 p.m.
This walking tour of Downtown San Diego will provide a brief overview of San Diego's Asian Pacific Islander history. The Gaslamp Quarter and the surrounding areas today is drastically different from what it was in the late 1800s. It once thrived as one of the oldest neighborhoods of color in San Diego. This tour will highlight specific sites of interest with API and BIPOC history. We highly recommend you to find historic sites in your own neighborhood.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | 4 – 4:30 p.m.
In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, join us for a presentation on the Hmong Culture and a craft for teens. If you would like to participate in the craft, registration is required, please send your contact information & branch location to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, May 28, 2021 | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Cooking Around the World features staff members sharing recipes from around the world. In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month 2021, Denny Sanford Children's Library manager Kat Carn will be showing you how to make pork gyoza, a simple, delicious and classic treat from Japan.
Saturday, May 29, 2021 | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Looking for your next great kids’ read? Then join us for a Children’s Book Talk! This week, librarian Alice Yao tells you all about All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat. “All Thirteen” is both a 2021 Newbery Honor Book and a Sibert Honor Book. Find out if this is a book you would like to read!
You don’t want to miss this book talk, as Ms. Alice will also give you a sneak peek at some other 2021 Newbery Honor Books and share her experience of serving on this year’s Newbery selection committee!
Information and program content can be made available in alternative formats upon request. To request disability-related modifications or accommodations, please email JFRogers@sandiego.gov.
- Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature: The goal of Asian/ Pacific American Librarian Association’s Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.
AAPI History & Culture
Local San Diego AAPI Organizations