The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages March 2003

Report From the Reading the World Conference at USF
By Leonard Chan

This year's Reading the World Conference was held at the University of San Francisco on March 1 and 2, 2003. The event was well attended by hundreds of educators and interested guest. Also in attendance were many book vendors, publishers, and authors.

One of the most fascinating exhibits was the Internet Archive's bookmobile. This van contained all the hardware needed to print paperback books for around a dollar apiece. The bookmobile doesn't actually contain the data for the 20,000 and more public domain books that it can print. Instead, it has a satellite connection to the Internet that allows it to download the information from its headquarters in San Francisco. The Internet Archive's mission is to record human knowledge in easily accessible forms and make this information available to people all over the world. The Internet Archive's bookmobile is their way of demonstrating the technology needed to create books cheaply for the masses. Check out Internet Archive's website ( to see if you can get the bookmobile to visit your school or library, and or to download your favorite public domain books. Internet Archive's records of the Internet are also quite interesting - have fun using their "Way Back Machine."

Up Coming Events

Here are some other events that AACP will soon be attending. Invite us to your events.
March 7-8 California Council for the Social Studies Sac. Convention Center
Sacramento, CA
March 8 - 10 Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development Moscone Center
March 24-26 Poston Reunion Golden Nugget
Las Vegas, NV
March 29 ShinenKai Northern California JA Senior Centers Alameda Buddhist Temple
Union City, CA
April 3-5 NAAPAE/PAAC-CTA Conference 2003 Long Beach, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP Will Not Attend
Mar. 8-9 Bok Kai Festival Marysville, CA
Mar. 6-16 21st San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, CA
Mar. 21-23 Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS)
The West and the Pacific Regional Conference
Cal Poly Pomona, CA

Some Thought on Human Rights, War and Peace

Our country is the world, our countrymen all mankind.
We love the land of our nativity,
only as we love all other lands.
The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens
are no more dear to us,
than are those of the whole human race.
William Lloyd Garrison, "Declaration of Sentiments, 1838"

Whenever we see the doctrine of peace embraced by a nation,
we may be assured it will not be one that invites injury;
but one, on the contrary, which has a friend
in the bottom of the heart of every man,
even of the violent and the base;
one against which no weapon can prosper;
one which is looked upon as the asylum of the human race
and has the tears and the blessings of mankind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "War"

Click Here For More Thoughts

Editor's Message

Our schedule for the next month is a little busy. That's great, because this means that we have plenty of opportunities to meet all of you :). If you are near to any of these events, please drop by and visit us. If you have an event later this year, send me the information for your affair. If we believe our readers will find your event of interest, we will post your event on the newsletter schedule.

Thank you Professor Mary Yu Danico for sending us such a notice. The Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) will have a regional conference at Cal Poly in Pomona, CA on March 21-23. We are unable to attend, but I am posting on our website the MS Word document ( of your conference schedule for all our newsletter subscribers to read.

A special thank you goes to our guest editor Emiko Oye. Emiko volunteered her time to help us with getting this newsletter out and is now working on another AACP project. AACP has many projects and duties that we could use help on. If you would like to volunteer your time to help with any of these projects and duties, please get in touch with us.

Thank you Leanna Kim and Ken Jue for sending us your comments and book suggestions. Keep them coming everyone :).

Thank you Frances Kai-Hwa Wang of Asian American Village Online for helping to bring AACP to your readers by reprinting our last editorial on your website.

For those of you that own an AACP calendar, please note that the dates for the Bok Kai Festival are March 8th and 9th, and not the ones listed.

Leonard Chan

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Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions.

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Asian American Leadership
Editorial by Philip Chin
As an Asian American living in what is predominately an Asian American community in America (Daly City, CA) it is always amazing to me how invisible other minority communities are when compared to the African American community. So it was quite extraordinary to read Cornell West in his book, "Race Matters," speaking about how the African American leadership in the 1980s and 1990s seemed to be in a state of rigor mortis. By comparison, Asian American leadership appears to be in a state of advanced decomposition. Asian Americans it should be noticed still cannot even be referred to outside of their group identity while the African American community at least has several nationally known leaders including Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Martin Luther King III, as well as Al Sharpton. Who represents the Asian American communities nationwide? Margaret Cho, the nationally televised comedienne?

Factors that Create Leadership (Community and Purpose)
How does one create a leadership for the Asian American community? In examining African American leadership West examined two major themes that I was particularly interested in - the things that hold communities together and the concept of "Nihilism in Black America" which is one of his chapter titles. Strong communities provide armor against the loss of hope and meaning through the "values of service and sacrifice, love and care, discipline and excellence." West continues, "For as long as hope remains and meaning is preserved, the possibility of overcoming oppression stays alive. The self-fulfilling prophecy of the nihilistic threat is that without hope there can be no future, that without meaning there can be no struggle."

What Cornell West talks about doesn't just apply to the African community but to the greater American community as a whole. The mortar that prevents the building blocks of society from falling apart are the ties that bind people to the community. These ties can be religious, civic, or both. Some tie must exist between the individual and the larger society otherwise you will have an individual with no social conscience, who will be fully capable of committing barbarities against the community. These are the people we regard as criminals and terrorists.

Destructive Forces that Break Down Communities
West also examines the reasons for the collapse of communities in African American society, namely "the saturation of market forces and market moralities in black life and the present crisis in black leadership." What we see isn't just a failure within the African American community but a failure of American leadership in general to address the problems of market propaganda and its overwhelming influence on what people want and how they obtain those things. There is no question that children and adults are influenced by what is presented to them through the media. What this has created is an "instant gratification" society. For example, many kids no longer have the patience to handle the traditional methods of learning that past generations endured. Instead of a patient building of knowledge everything in education now must be in "MTV style" which is fast, rapacious, quickly moving audio and videos. In the superficial and self-centered world promoted by the media, traditional values such as family, hard work, and community become increasingly meaningless.

Few can afford to live like one of the rich people portrayed in television commercials, yet many try and most fail to achieve that unrealistic standard of living. Imagine the effect that such unobtainable media portrayals of American life have on the average Egyptian, Pakistani, or Nigerian. What results when expectations are too high or wrongly directed? Wouldn't helplessness, frustration, and anger result? Can drugs, crime, and terrorism leading to the deterioration of communities and society be far behind?

Who will lead us out of this? Cornell West uttered a profound truth for all Americans when he said the answer isn't in passively waiting for a Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X to lead us to the promised land. We Americans, even Asian Americans, have to make that Promised Land for ourselves. The crisis isn't just in a complacent American leadership but in the failure of people to assume leadership for themselves. The question is whether or not "ordinary" people will ever stop seeing themselves as the victims of an uncaring society and uncaring leaders and change into "extraordinary" people assuming responsibility for their own lives and their own directions. To overcome the problems of American society and to change how we are perceived around the world will require all of us to find the extraordinary person within each of us.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end March 31, 2003.

The Magical Monkey King
Mischief in Heaven

Classic Chinese Tales Retold by Ji-Li Jiang
Illustrated by Hui Hui Su-Kennedy
2002, 122 pages, hardback.

Ji-Li Jiang retells the classic tales of the Monkey King, that irrepressible trickster-hero of Chinese legend. These hilarious stories bring the Monkey King and his friends to life for the delight of young readers everywhere.

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ORDER -- Price $14.89

Four Seasons in Five Senses
Things Worth Savoring

By David Mas Masumoto
2003, 273 pages, hardback.

Rushing from one thing to another, we lose sight of the art of living, which for California farmer David Mas Masumoto is also the art of farming. Not fast farming, of the kind that produces fast food, but slow farming, the kind that notices each change of light and temperature and produces peaches with juice that runs down your chin.

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ORDER -- Price $24.95

Finding My Voice

By Marie G. Lee
2002, 214 pages, paperback.

As she tries to enjoy her senior year and choose which college she will attend, Korean American Ellen Sung must deal with the prejudice of some of her classmates and pressure from her parents to get good grades.

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ORDER -- Price $5.95

Beacon Hill Boys

By Ken Mochizuki
2002, 201 pages, hardback.

In 1972 in Seattle, a teenager in a Japanese American family struggles for his own identity, along with a group of three friends who share his anger and confussion.

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ORDER -- Price $16.95

Spring Pearl
The Last Flower

By Laurence Yep
2002, 207 pages, hardback.

Called boyish by her new family for being able to read and write, twelve-year-old orphaned Spring Pearl's "odd ways" help save the family during the 1857 Opium War in Canton, China.

"Very good, made you feel like you're really there. I really got into the character. Amazing! I recommend this book."
Leanna Kim (Student and Friend of AACP)

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ORDER -- Retailed Price $12.95

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