Skip to main content

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Did you know that May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month? The commemorative month honors Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The terms encompass all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

It started with a congressional bill that established Asian-Pacific Heritage week in 1977. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

May was chosen to mark the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on
May 7, 1843.

We've gathered site links and lesson plans to teach students about the heritage of Asian-Pacific Americans.

PBS Learning Media

Grace Lin - Asian author

Who's White - Profile of Queen Noor of Jordan

Arthur episode

Get lesson plans from the Library of Congress
Learn Japanese Language and Culture with Irasshai

GPB Digital Education Lessons (remember to login)

Grades K-2
Discover Little Tokyo, a Japanese Community

Grades 3-5
American Heritage: Immigration to the United States

Grades 6-8
China: From Past to Present: Life in the Ancient Capital Cities
China: From Past to Present: The Silk Road, the Great Wall and Changes in Government
Fantastic Festivals of the World: Thailand
Southeast Asia Today: Hong Kong
The Vibrant Pacific Islanders: Polynesians, Micronesians and Melanasians

Grades 9-12
Fantastic Festivals of the World: Thailand
Place and People: Asia Pacific Vietnam: Tourism Take-Off