Welcome to Greentrike’s monthly Playful Guide! Each month, the Playful Guide is where we curate an educational reading list based on the month’s theme, gather some local resources, and more. May is upon us, which means that this month is also recognized as both Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month.

Our Playful Guide is a space where we acknowledge the different heritage months that are celebrated by our Play to Learn classes across Pierce County. When we celebrate heritage, we create a welcoming environment and develop appreciation for the many cultures that make up our community! Each month is a recognition month that has been planned out in advance by our Programs team at the beginning of the year.

Did you know?

Haiying Wu is a Western Washington-based artist that is known for creating figurative sculptures for public spaces. Born in China where many of his sculptures are located, Wu emigrated to the United States in 1989 and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington. Wu’s work includes Pierce County pieces such as Salmon Gate at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup and Garden of Meditation at Western State Hospital in Lakewood.

Wu is currently in the process of completing a full-scale statue of Nisqually activist Billy Frank Jr. that will be located in Washington, D.C.’s National Statuary Hall. This sculpture is being hosted at the South Puget Sound Community College’s Scene Shop, which will be open for the public. Learn more about this piece at SPSCC.edu!

Picture Books for May

There are lots of picture books for those of all ages to learn about and celebrate Asia Pacific Heritage and Jewish Heritage. We’ve highlighted some of our top picks below, so consider checking some of these stories out from your local library!

Kapaemahu

Kapaemahu

by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson

This story illustrates an Indigenous legend about how individuals of dual male and female spirit, or Mahu, brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii, a gift which the islanders return with a monument of four boulders in their honor. This monument, known as Kapaemahu, still stands today!

Eyes That Speak to the Stars

Eyes That Speak to the Stars

by Joanna Ho

When a friend at school creates a hurtful drawing, the young boy of this story turns to his family for comfort. With their help, he realizes that his eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars, and are shared with his family and heritage.

I Am Golden

I Am Golden

by Eva Chen

This celebration of Chinese-American heritage and identity centers around a young girl named Mei as well as a message of self-love.

Festival of Colors

Festival of Colors

by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal

Join siblings Mintoo and Chintoo as they cooperatively prepare for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Did you know that there are colorful celebrations of Holi here in Washington? Seattle and Bellevue are a few cities that host their own events!

Mrs. Katz and Tush

Mrs. Katz and Tush

by Patricia Polacco

This book tells the story of a young boy who begins spending more time with his elderly neighbor after they agree to take care of a stray kitten. She tells him stories about immigrating to America from Poland, and he learns that despite their different lives, there are themes that each of them have in common and their pair become lifelong friends.

Klezmer!

Klezmer!

by Kyra Teis

A story about music brought to the United States by Eastern European Jewish immigrants and how it changes with elements of its new country.

Further Reading

Looking for more great titles? Ask your local librarian for recommendations!

At JBLM:

Local Resources in the Community

Asia Pacific Cultural Center

Tacoma’s Asia Pacific Cultural Center, which serves as a hub of information, resources, and more, represents 47 countries and cultures. Greentrike works in partnership with the APCC for Play to Learn, which takes place each Friday from 10 – 11:30 a.m. at their location at 3513 E Portland Ave in Tacoma.