Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Award

Year: 2014

Sixth Violin

Author: Hana Hashimoto Publisher: Kids Can Press

Guiding Question:

Hana appears to be part of two cultures, that of her home country, Japan, and of her new country, the United States. How does this impact her life?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- What lengths would you be willing to go to stay connected with a loved one who is far away  when that part of your life is mostly over?

  • Empathy- How would you feel having to move to another country away from your granparents and other loved ones? If you've had this experience, how did it make you feel?

  • Advocacy- Think of ways you can help newcomers to your school feel welcomed. Think of ways you can help classmates share special interests and talents. Think of ways you and your classmates can share your heritage.

  • Action- With your teacher’s help, turn what you found in the Advocacy portion of this lesson into an event that your class sponsors.

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2013

Red Kite, Blue Kite

Author: Ji-li Jiang Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Guiding Question:

Some people live in countries where wars are being fought. How has war impacted this family?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- When people in some countries disagree with their government they are punished very severely.

  • Empathy- Tai Shan must have been very sad when his father was sen to the labor camp. How do you think his father felt when he had to go?

  • Advocacy- Read the Author’s Note at the end of this story about the Cultural Revolution in China. Search the internet to see if anything similar is happening today.

  • Action- Find practical ways to support families that are undergoing separation due to war. One example would be writing letters to U.S. service people.

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2012

Good Fortune in Wrapping Cloth

Author: Joan Schoettler Publisher: Shen's Books

Guiding Question:

It may seem that Ji-Su’s mother made the wrong decision to use her sewing talents in the king’s court and leave her daughter. Many people never have to make such a difficult decision. How do you think Ji-Su’s mother made her decision?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Has your family suffered difficulty so that one family member could do something important? How does that feel?

  • Empathy- Ji-Su gave up her time to play so she could become a seamstress in hopes of joining her mother in the king's palace. How do you think that made her feel?

  • Advocacy- In some countries today, children work rather than going to school. Find information on child labor on the internet and compare your information with your classmates.

  • Action- Think about how your life would be different if you had to work every day rather than going to school. Create posters that share the message that going to school is a privilege and display them in a public place.

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2011

The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China

Author: Ed Young Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

What does Baba’s saying mean, “Crisis does carry a blessing within its curse”?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- War creates hardships even for people who are not soldiers. Baba’s family often didn’t have food for a proper diet.
  • Empathy- How was Baba protecting his family by building the house the way he did? Why would Baba’s family take in so many people when they didn’t have enough food to feed everyone well?
  • Advocacy- Find out about people who are dealing with hardships in your community, the U.S., or in other parts of the world. How can you support them?
  • Action- Choose one family and support them through encouragement or other more concrete ways.
Sociology Concepts:
  • Definition of family (what does it mean to be a family)
  • Community

Year: 2010

Yasmin’s Hammer

Author: Ann Malaspina Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Guiding Question:

What do you think a hammer will have to do with this story? Do you own any tools? Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if you had to work every day, and couldn’t go to school?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Have you ever considered that going to school is a privilege that many children around the world don’t enjoy?

  • Empathy- How has not being able to read impacted Jasmin's family?

  • Advocacy- Read about one of the following organizations on their websites: the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee or BRAC (, the Global Movement for Children or GMC (, Save the Children (, or United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF ( With your teacher, decide on a way that you can help other children by letting other people know about some of the issues they face.

  • Action- Read about “Education” on the BRAC website ( ). Work with your teacher to raise funds to support education in Bangladesh.

  • Action- Read some of the stories suggested on the back cover. Decide how you can make the best use of your education.  For example, make sure you’re learning how to read and write well so you can become well-informed about important issues such as child labor, and lack of education for some children. Learn how to write a paper that accurately portrays the issues for these children. Write a letter to one person that can help these children.
Sociology Concepts: