UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Asian American Children’s Book Reading in the Point Lounge

Books from the Asian American children’s book collection

The Asian American Studies program invited UMass Boston community members and their children to an exhibit of over 100 Asian American children’s books in the Point Lounge on November 27.

“Our intention is to introduce diversity into a child’s world,” said Stanly La, an economics major who organized the event along with fellow Asian Student Center member Gee Quach.

“I enjoy children’s books. You get big ideas from smaller packages,” said Quach, who displayed a few items from his own collection of children’s books in the exhibit.

The bulk of the exhibit came from the collection of Peter Kiang, a professor in Asian American Studies at UMass Boston since 1987.

“These stories are really important for Asian American children and youth to connect with while they’re growing up, but also for other races and cultures to see as well, so that we develop greater respect and understanding among everyone,” said Professor Kiang about why he has been collecting these types of children’s book for the past 25 years.

Kiang brought his Boston Asian American Communities class to the exhibit and gave them the assignment to browse the display and find books that stand out. The books, written for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade, dealt with themes such as Buddhism, the struggles of Asian Americans, and life in the U.S. Some biographies written for children about Bruce Lee and Yao Ming were also on display.

After Kiang’s students had each picked out a book, they split off into small groups and read to one another as if they were reading to children.

“This is practice for knowing how to read to children,” said Professor Kiang. Many of the students work with children at programs in the Boston area which are geared toward Asian Americans, and the Asian American Studies program hopes to arrange readings from the collection with local elementary schools.

“I wish I had read these kinds of books when I was growing up,” Linh Tran, a major in business management, exclaimed, “but now I can introduce these books to children.”

Organizers plan to exhibit the books again next year.