As A Matter of Fact Newsletter

SOMSD Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

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SOMSD Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Hello SOMSD Community,

Every year during the month of May we celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander History Month. This year’s celebration seems more poignant with the significant uprise of Asian acts of hate in our country. It is our jobs as adults and educators to teach our students tolerance, inclusion, and kindness. One way to do this is to ensure that our students are exposed to and understand the traditions and accomplishments of groups and cultures throughout the world.

Our goal as a District is to celebrate a group each month by giving our families and teachers resources and activities to participate in so that our students are exposed to and appreciate the contributions of the people who live in their community and the world around them. For AAPI month in particular, in addition to a host of events (both in-person and virtual) being offered throughout our local communities, as a District, we are providing some additional ideas and resources for families to engage in with their child(ren) and/or educators with their students.

South Orange & Maplewood School District, Curriculum & Instruction Department

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! 🐲🍜🏮 | Nick

What You Can Do With Your Child(ren)

Explore the geography of Asia and the Pacific Islands

Use Google Maps to take a 3D “walk” through different Asian-Pacific Countries and use Google Earth to “visit” historic locations. Keep in mind that the term “Asian-Pacific” encompasses a wide array of cultures and geographies.

  • All of the Asian continent: This includes about 50 countries – from China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines to (in South Asia) India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.

  • 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

  • Polynesia: New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island

How many places can your child find on their own? (How many can you?) Which have they heard of?

Read a book featuring Asian characters, written by Asian authors, or illustrated by Asian artists.

  1. ‘A Different Pond’ by Bao Phi

  2. ‘Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom’ by Booki Vivat

  3. ‘American Born Chinese’ by Gene Luen Yang

  4. ‘The Name Jar’ by Yangsook Choi

  5. ‘Front Desk’ by Kelly Yang

  6. ‘A Big Mooncake for Little Star’ by Grace Lin

  7. ‘Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas’ by Natasha Yim

  8. ‘Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things’ by Lenore Look and Leuyen Pham

  9. ‘No Kimchi for Me!’ by Aram Kim

  10. ‘Too Many Mangos’ by Tammy Paikai

  11. ‘Hot Hot Roti for Dada-Ji’ by F. Zia

  12. ‘We Are Inspiring: The Stories of 32 Inspirational Asian American Women’ by Angel Trazo

  13. ‘Ganesha's Sweet Tooth’ by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes

  14. ‘Epic Crush of Genie Lo’ by F.C. Yee

  15. ‘Hiiaka Battles the Wind’ by Gabrielle Ahuli‘i

  16. Click Here for More Titles

Learn about traditional Asian and Pacific Island music and instruments

Visit AAPI art museums and exhibits Virtually

Try different Asian and Pacific Islander recipes

Upcoming Local Events

Maplewood Township, South Orange Village and SOMA Cross Cultural Works have united to recognize and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month ’21. To celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, they have coordinated an exciting lineup of family-oriented activities and projects which will run from May 1 – 31, 2021.

Visit the Maplewood Arts & Culture website for a full list of all events taking place throughout the month:

  • All -Ages Storytime
    May 4, 11:00am - Live & Virtual
    South Orange Public Library

  • AAPI Heritage Lecture: Dr. Cindy I-fen Cheng
    May 5, 12:30pm – Virtual
    Seton Hall University

  • Yī Qǐ Asian American Pacific Islander Kickoff
    May 6, 11:00am -Virtual
    Seton Hall University

  • Ping Chong Dance Virtual Screening
    May 6, 7:00pm – Virtual
    Ping Chong and Kim Chan

  • Lion Dance AAPI Kick Off Celebration
    May 7, 6:00pm - Maplewood Village
    New York Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club
    Cross Cultural Works, Maplewood Township

  • IHS Wheels and Reels: Crazy Rich Asians Movie Night
    May 7, 7:30pm – Virtual
    IHS - Seton Hall University

  • Self Defense Class
    May 8, 12:30pm - 530 Valley St, in Maplewood, NJ.
    American Jiu Jitsu of Maplewood

  • Crazy Rich Asians Post-Movie Discussion
    May 10, 5:00pm – Virtual
    Seton Hall University

  • YA Author Discussion
    May 14, 4:00pm - Live & Virtual
    South Orange Public Library

  • Virtual Sake Tasting
    May 14, 7:00pm – Virtual
    Neighbors Wine Shop & Cross Cultural Works

  • Thank God For Monday Webinar - AAPI Edition
    May 17, 12:30pm – Virtual
    TGFM & Seton Hall University

  • A Boy Named Isamu- Book Discussion
    May 17, 7:00pm – Virtual
    [Words] Bookstore

  • Yoga
    May 19, 11:00 am – Virtual
    South Orange Public Library

  • Read around the world : China
    May 19, 7:00pm – Virtual
    Maplewood Library

  • DEI Anti-Asian Racism Training
    May 21, 10:30am – Virtual
    Seton Hall University

  • WSOU Thank God For Monday (AAPI Edition)
    May 22, 8:30am – Virtual
    Seton Hall University & WSOU 89.5 FM

  • The Hula Halau and Lei Making
    May 22, 3:00pm - Spiotta Park
    Cross Cultural Works, South Orange Village, Maplewood Township

  • Holi Fest
    May 23, TBD - Memorial Park
    Cross Cultural Works, Maplewood Township

  • From SOMASIAN: Kid’s Ink Painting (virtual) presented by Manman Huang

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 4:00 PM 5:00 PM

For elementary students registration is required:


  • Emma Hayden - Anime Inspired
    1978 Arts Center
    Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture

  • Artist Spotlights -Joel De La Fuente and Tracy Sham
    Social Media & Website
    Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture

  • AAPI Youth Features
    Social Media & Website
    Maplewood Division of Arts & Culture

  • Wishing Trees
    Maplewood Village
    South Orange
    Maplewood Library

Join AAPI Centered Facebook Groups

To connect or to continue learning about the AAPI culture we encourage you to follow or join one of the groups below: