January 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter Index
• Editor's Message • Events • An Interview with Author Trần Thị Minh Phước • AACP's January 2022 Poetry Selection • Featured Books

Editor's Message

Hello Dear AACP Newsletter Readers,

I hope you are all doing well.

It’s another year and the pandemic is still going on stronger than ever. I know it may be hard for many of you to feel happy or optimistic in times like these, but I hope this newsletter could help make your days ahead a little brighter.

One of the interesting statistics I just read in the Sunday Mercury News (Bay Area News Group) was the vaccination rates of Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and Asian Californians is quite high – 100% of NHPI Californians and 99.8% of Asian Californians are fully vaccinated as of December 15, 2021.

This seems like an error to me and I have yet to find out how they came up with these figures, but it does seem to indicate something positive with the AAPI California community.

According to the AAPI Data website, 3266 more Asian American Californians died in 2020 than the prior 5-year average. That’s a 21% increase over the average and only Hispanics (30%) have a higher percentage increase than Asian American Californians.

You can do a whole investigative article that digs into these numbers, checking the accuracy, and trying to come up with answers to the reasons for them, but my general point is that the pandemic was bad in 2020 for the AAPI community and that there is reason to feel optimistic because of our high vaccination rate.

So now that a good percentage of you are fully vaccinated, it’s time to encourage and help others to get vaccinated too.

For ideas on how to help your efforts, have a listen to two very interesting (yes, you’ll like them :) radio programs about changing people’s minds and ways (even your own). The radio program Hidden Brain had a rebroadcast of a 2019 conversation with psychologist Wendy Wood called “Creatures of Habit” and the radio program Freakonomics had a segment called “Why Is Richard Thaler Such a ****ing Optimist?” Here’s a link to Richard Thaler’s book “Nudge: The Final Edition” and Wendy Wood’s book “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick.” Also check out Wendy Wood’s website for her book – it has a scientifically designed survey that may help you devise a strategy to change your ways.

At the very least, these books, radio programs, and website may help you start your year off right.


One of the things that has picked me up through the years after the holiday season of Christmas and New Year has been the Lunar New Year celebration which happens either in January or February (this year, 2022, it takes place on February 1). If you didn’t grow-up celebrating the Lunar New Year, it’s not too late to learn something about the various Asian cultures that celebrate it.

This month’s AACP newsletter has a special interview with author Phước Trần who has written a new book called “All About Vietnam.” One of the things the interview covers is the celebration of Tết Nguyên Đán (more commonly referred to as just Tet).

For our other article, we have our 11th annual edition of the AACP special Poetry Selection. This year we have a poem by award winning poet and educator Brian Komei Dempster, one from Phước Trần, and a couple from AACP’s staff and board.

Thank you very much for your contributions to this article Brian, Phuoc, Tamiko Wong, and Philip Chin.

We hope you all take the time to check out our poems, haikus, and tankas. Perhaps it may even inspire you to start your own tradition of writing New Year poems and poems throughout the year.


For our January 2022 book selection, we have a number of books about the Lunar New Year and some more poetry books – we even have two memoirs on poets. In addition, there are also a couple of other new children’s titles that we think you’ll like. Have a look.

That’s all for now – take care and have a wonderful Lunar New Year!

Leonard Chan

Executive Editor


Saturday, February 12, 2022, 11am-4pm: Redwood City Lunar New Year Celebration


Sunday, February 13, 2022, 3:00-4:30pm: We Hereby Refuse: the Bay Area allies (at OACC)

For this Day of Remembrance program, moderator Darren Murata will join with writer Frank Abe in a conversation around We Hereby Refuse with Kathleen Purcell of San Francisco, the daughter of Mitsuye Endo's attorney James Purcell; Wayne Collins Jr., the son of Hiroshi Kashiwagi's attorney Wayne Collins; and Sadako Kashiwagi, Hiroshi's wife.

It will be a hybrid in-person/livestream event hosted by Eastwind Books of Berkeley and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, with a livestream to the OACC’s YouTube channel.


If you have an event that you would like us to mention and or to participate in, please feel free to let us know.

An Interview with Author Trần Thị Minh Phước

About Her New Book “All About Vietnam” and the Upcoming Tết Nguyên Đán

Interviewed by Leonard Chan

Phuoc Tran is the author of Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Stories, My First Book of Vietnamese Words, and her newest book All About Vietnam (being released in March). Her story “The Ocean Where the Dreams Go” was included in the anthology Sky Blue Waters: Great Stories for Young Readers. Additionally, she was a librarian in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area of Minnesota for over 30 years, and was the first Vietnamese librarian in all of Minnesota.

A respected storyteller and a 2016 and 2019 Minnesota State Fair Blue Ribbon author, she shares her knowledge of Vietnamese culture at cultural events, storytelling programs, conferences, libraries, universities, colleges and schools throughout the state and beyond.

Phuoc Tran fled Vietnam in 1982 on a crowded boat and ended up in a Malaysian refugee camp for ten months before coming to the United States.

Wanting to learn English, she spent much time at local libraries which inspired her future career path to become a librarian and serve people like herself.

Phuoc Tran, welcome and thank you for doing this interview with us.

Chào Leonard! Hello Leonard! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Happy New Year!

First thank you for the interview and I am so excited to share with the readers my new book, part of the award-winning series All About Countries.

Read More

AACP's January 2022 Poetry Selection

Introduction by Leonard Chan

Hope by YunSun Lee

Thanks for reading AACP’s eleventh annual special poetry selection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2020, and 2021).

When we started this back in 2004, we had this project where we produced a calendar with festival dates that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans celebrated (the 2003 and 2004 calendars). One of the things I learned in doing this project was the Japanese tradition of Kakizome – the first writing of the new year being calligraphy writing of sayings and poems. Other Asian cultures also did similar writing for the new year. So when we were searching for ideas for our January 2004 newsletter we decided to do a poetry feature.

In the beginning, we started off with some simple articles on haiku and tanka writing with some writings from some of the AACP staff and guest contributors. In 2005 we even started holding a local poetry event in San Mateo.

We stopped making our calendars and holding our poetry events, but even when the newsletter was on its long hiatus (Feb. 2011 to Apr. 2020), we tried to continue with staff haikus that we sometimes posted on our Facebook page.

This year we have a poem by award winning poet and educator Brian Komei Dempster (from his book Seize) and a poem by author Phuoc Tran who is featured in our other article this month (the poem is from her short story "The Ocean Where the Dreams Go" included in the anthology Sky Blue Waters: Great Stories for Young Readers).

At the end, you’ll find some of our staff and board members’ submissions.

Please continue reading and enjoy!

Read More

Featured Books

View full descriptions of all these featured books at Bookshop.org where you'll also have the opportunity to purchase them.

Lunar New Year Children's Books

Other Children's Books

Poetry and Poetry Related Books