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Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages June 2004
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999 Paper Cranes
An article on origami

May: The Forgotten Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
An editorial on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Origami Links

999 Paper Cranes
By Emily Mah
With origami, I can't help but immediately think of my apparently uneventful childhood, in which I would fold countless pieces of otherwise ordinary paper, creating something quite extraordinary- animals, furniture, toys, the possibilities were endless. I retract into the days in which I loved believing in stories like "One Thousand Paper Cranes", based on the ancient Japanese legend which promised that anyone who folded one thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. I never quite made it to one thousand- who knows if I would've had the patience to count that high anyways- but the point is that this seemingly simple craft continues to inspire people of all ages thousands of years after its invention, transforming itself into a truly viable art form.

Paper is thought to have been invented in China, 105 A.D. Paper folding must have been invented immediately after, and in the sixth century was brought to Japan, where the leisurely pursuit owes most of its artistic formation. In Japanese, origami takes a rather literal meaning, stemming from the words oru (to fold) and kami (paper). The word origami is also congruent with one of its first uses, that is, certificates.

The tradition stemmed from the ancient custom of folding certain documents or ceremonial papers in such a way that would prevent unauthorized forging. Only later did origami come to be used in our modern sense, for recreational purposes.

Skilled hands fold and crease, bend and tuck to create shapes and forms that resemble real life, imitating life at its tiniest and most delicate state. But origami has a practical facet as well- you can use it to learn math. It's difficult to overlook the symmetry that comes with many of the designs; folds often mirror each other. Geometry anyone? In fact, teachers often demonstrate the features of geometric shapes by leading paper folding lessons. Origami can also be used with more advanced students in graph theory or solving complex puzzles. Oh, the limitless possibilities of paper. I'm getting excited just thinking about it- there's that uneventful childhood again.

For more information on origami, check out the links below, or if you'd like to get crafty yourself pick up one of this month's featured books.

Origami Links

Editor's Message

Hello everyone. Summer's here and in keeping with the season, we decided to have a theme of arts and crafts for your enjoyment. My apologies to Florence and Philip for having bumped your piece out of the newsletter. I'm sure we'll get around to using them some time.

We have a number of people to thank this month. First of all, thank you very much Sophie Wong. Sophie has been volunteering with us on a regular basis and her help entering the book descriptions is much appreciated. AACP could use more people like Sophie - so all of you are welcome to follow her lead.

Thank you Ellen Lee and Emily Mah. They're two of our new summer interns that helped with the writing of this newsletter. It's not too late for you to join us as an intern. The more the merrier :).

Hello and thank you to our past intern that have been keeping in touch with me. Congratulations and good luck to those that have graduated.

It's not too late to have your donations doubled. The Friends of AACP Group is still holding a campaign to raise money for the AACP Newsletter and Intern Program. If you donate now, the Friends of AACP Group will match your donation up to a maximum of $600. If we do not receive a total of $600 in donations by the end of June, we may have to return some of the funds to this group. Please make your generous donations now to prevent this from happening. Thank you.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

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Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
June 16 Jeanne Houston book signing Golden Gate Optimist
San Francisco, CA
July 10-11 San Jose Obon Festival San Jose Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
July 11 Monterey Obon Festival Monterey Peninsula
Buddhist Temple
Seaside, CA
July 17
Books by the Bay Yerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco, CA
July 18
Chinese Summer Festival Kelly Park
San Jose, CA
July 24-25
Sa 1-10pm
Su 11-8pm
Ginza Bazaar & Obon Odori Buddhist Church of SF
San Francisco, CA
Aug. 8-13 Zephyr Point Fellowship Exhibit Sales Zephyr Point
Lake Tahoe, NV
Other Events of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
June 19
Japanese Cultural Fair Mission Plaza Park
Santa Cruz, CA
July 2-5
Tulelake Pilgrimage Tulelake, CA
July 10-11
Lotus Festival Echo Park
Los Angeles, CA
July 15-18 OCA's Annual Convention Boston Marriott
Copley Place
Boston, MA
Aug. 3rd Annual Topaz Pilgrimage Delta, UT
Aug. 10-14 JACL National Conference Honolulu, HI

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May: The Forgotten Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
An Editorial by Ellen Lee
Edited by Leonard Chan
On May 29th, 2004, I was shopping at my local Safeway store in American Canyon (a small city in Napa County). I turned back to look twice at a sign that caught my eye in the Deli section as I was walking out. The sign said "May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month," with a picture, name and a short biography of a gentleman of Asian descent who has significantly contributed towards AIDS research and development of a cure for AIDS.

"THERE'S ASIAN-PACIFIC HERITAGE MONTH?!" I thought to myself with surprise and awe. I, being a recent grad from UC Berkeley, had never, ever, heard of such a thing during my 10 years of being educated in the United States. Now, why is that? I had known about February being the African-American Heritage Month since middle school. I took my share of Asian-American Studies classes at UC Berkeley, and deemed myself quite knowledgeable about Asian-American history. Well, I guess I shouldn't have given myself that much credit. Or, is there just not that much publicity going on about May being APAHM (Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month), a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States?

I discussed this issue with Leonard, the executive editor of this newsletter, and he pointed out that May is when semesters end for many academic institutions and that could be why this month doesn't get much attention. Then I started to wonder, when was APAHM established, and why was it established in May of all months?

After some research, I found out that much like Black History and Women's History celebrations, APAHM originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the President to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration.

In May 1990, the holiday was expanded further when President George H. W. Bush designated May to be Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Although there was good reason for May to be designated as APAHM, community and government sponsored activities and educational activities for students seems to be either non-existent or poorly organized and/or publicized. Was it always so?

It had been pointed out to me that PBS channels in the San Francisco area once had large portions of their prime time programming dedicated to the month. My browsing of this past month's TV schedule revealed a disturbing dearth of appropriate Asian Pacific American Heritage specials. Is this an actual trend that reflects the demise of the month? Is the media just kowtowing to viewers' lack of interest or is the media complicit in APAHM's waning visibility?

Another area of consideration is where and how APAHM fits in with schools' curricula. In the vast reorganization and standardization of what children are learning in the school system, is Asian Pacific American Heritage being squeezed out and forgotten? By having this special month so near to the end of the school term, are children getting shortchanged?

It's time to reevaluate the goals of APAHM. Should we have APAHM moved to another month? Are schools integrating this event into their curricula and can it be done better? Whether we start by writing our representatives or we organize to hold our own cultural and historical events, it is urgent that we work to make this event more significant or it will fade into insignificance.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end July 14, 2004.

Japanese Children's Favorite Stories
Book Two

By Florence Sakade
Illustrated by Yoshio Hayashi
2004, 96 pages, Hardback.

This beautifully illustrated book is a new second volume to the classic and immensely popular Japanese Children's Favorite Stories: Book One. It brings together a wonderful mix of well-loved traditional folktales and contemporary favorites. With sparkling illustrations on almost every page and the promise that goodwill and kindness will always carry the day, readers are sure to find much to love in these stories.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3233, Price $16.95

Voices of the Heart

By Ed Young
Illustrated by Ed Young
1997, 56 pages, Hardback.

The author Ed Young combined visual symbols of the West in the same manner the ancient Chinese used in composing their characters. He focuses specifically on characters that contain the heart symbol.

This is a wonderful book that would make a lovely gift for any one interested in learning a few Chinese characters in both a mnemonic and poetic manner.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3238, Price $8.95

Folksongs of Samoa
Music for Children

By Namulauulu Paul V. Pouesi
Illustrated by Larry Nielson
1997, 70 pages, Paperback.

Folksongs of Samoa is a collection of traditional, folk, love, and game songs for children. Taught in combination with drama and dancing, these songs can enhance creative thinking and instill in the children an interest in and a love for Samoan culture.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3237, Price $18.50

Paper Doll Book Bundle

Japanese Kimono: Paper Dolls in Full Color
By Ming-ju Sun
1986, 16 pages, Paperback.

Hawaiian Girl and Boy Paper Dolls
By Yuko Green
1997, 8 pages, Paperback.

Japanese Girl and Boy Paper Dolls: in Full Color
By Kathy Allert
1991, 8 pages, Paperback.

Get the paper doll bundle of these three books now and have hours of enjoyment. There are over 70 accurately drawn costumes between the three books. Kids will learn of the historic and cultural clothes worn by Japanese and Hawaiians.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3239, Price For All Three Books Combined $13.85

Paper Masks and Dragons Bundle

Cut and Make Japanese Masks
By A.G. Smith and Josie Hazen
1994, 18 pages, Paperback.

Cut & Assemble Paper Dragons That Fly: 8 Full-Color Models
By David Kawami
1987, 32 pages, Paperback.

The limits to what you can do with these books are only determined by the limits of your imagination. The authentic Japanese masks can be used for parties, Halloween, school projects and plays. While the paper dragons can actually be flown, used as decorations, or turned into whimsical mobiles.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3239, Price For the Two Books Combined $13.90

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