Quizlet is proud to partner with teachers to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Yasmin Forbes.
To honor Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we have curated a list of films, books, and podcasts to celebrate and uplift AAPI voices. Students will be introduced to content created by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that speaks to their history, culture, and unique perspectives. We hope this list will encourage students to advocate for more exposure to AAPI stories in order to debunk harmful stereotypes and recognize their lived experiences.
All In My Family (2019)
TV-14, 39 minutes
In his autobiographical short documentary, filmmaker Hao Wu explores what it’s like to be a gay man from a traditional Chinese family. Over the course of three years, Wu documents the journey of having a child via surrogacy, traveling back and forth from the United States (where he lives with his husband) to his family’s home in China. His sexual orientation and decision to use a surrogate mother challenge his family’s conservative beliefs, leading to a clash and eventual compromise of cultures and traditions. This film offers students a different perspective on the Asian American experience and may even be used as a resource in the lead-up to Pride Month.
Here is a preview of what you can expect! All In My Family | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix
PG-13, 115 minutes
This award-winning feature film is based on the experiences of Lee Isaac Chung growing up as a first-generation Korean-American. Set in a small Arkansas town, the film follows a Korean-American family as they start a 50-acre farm. The struggle between assimilation and maintaining cultural identity is a central theme, challenging students to rethink the American Dream in the context of the AAPI diaspora.
Here is a preview of what you can expect! Minari | Official Trailer
Turning Red (2022)
PG, 121 minutes
In the animated film Turning Red, thirteen-year-old Mei Lee transforms into a big red panda when she gets too anxious, upset, excited, or fearful. To make matters worse, she has an incredibly protective mother who wants her to control her “panda”—which is easier said than done. Ultimately, Mei Lee is torn between being her mother's obedient daughter and embracing the chaos of her youth. Turning Red speaks to the experience of first-generation AAPI children dealing with the pressures they face to succeed in order to meet their parents’ expectations. This Disney and Pixar movie is now streaming on Disney+.
Here is a preview of what you can expect! Turning Red | Official Trailer
Books and Novels
The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee
This non-fiction book lays out the definitive history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, tracing their role in American life, from their arrival in the Americas to the present day. Lee covers a wide range of AAPI narratives such as the indentured "coolies" who worked in the Caribbean alongside enslaved Africans and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Throughout history, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, leading them to fight numerous Asian exclusion laws.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This acclaimed novel explores the lives of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their four daughters, whose histories change depending on who's telling the stories. Set in San Francisco in 1949, the women meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. The novel focuses on the deep connection between mothers and daughters, while navigating AAPI heritage and culture.
Asian Enough (L.A. Times)
In this podcast, L.A. Times hosts Jen Yamato and Frank Shyong dig into the personal stories of their celebrity guests, providing them space to reflect on culture, identity and how they have navigated their various industries as a member of the AAPI community. Past guests have included Margaret Cho, Padma Lakshmi, Jon M. Chu, Lulu Wang, John Cho and Kamala Harris.
Dear Asian Americans
In this podcast, host Jerry Won interviews Asian American guests from a diverse array of backgrounds and career sectors. Won skillfully unpacks his guests’ identities and legacies using authentic storytelling, all in an effort to empower and inspire the Asian American community.