Observing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During May, gain new perspectives on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and its relevance for us today.

Upcoming Events


Family Movie: Spirited Away

Saturday, May 21, 2022, 2:00 pm

When a young girl gets trapped in a strange new world of spirits, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and rescue her parents.

Chihiro and her parents accidentally wander into another world ruled by witches and monsters. When her parents are captured by the ruler of the world, she tricks the witch into hiring her so she can figure out how to free them.

Released 2001 - 125 minutes - Rated PG for some scary moments - Animation, Adventure, Family

Children younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.

Watch the trailer for Spirited Away.


The Model Minority Myth and Missing Pages in U.S. History: Online Event

Sunday, June 5, 2022, 1:00 pm

How have long-held but erroneous stereotypes about Asian Americans perpetuated implicit bias?

Due to the alarming rise of hate incidents and crimes against the AAPI community since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Illinois legislature and Governor J.B. Pritzker passed the TEAACH Act that mandates a unit of AAPI history be taught in all K-12 public schools in Illinois beginning this fall.

This presentation focuses on long-held but erroneous stereotypes about Asian Americans and their impact on perpetuating implicit bias in our classrooms and in society. An overview of Asian immigrant groups will provide historical context to enhance empathy and awareness of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experience in America. Linda Matsumoto leads this deep dive into institutional bias against the Asian diaspora from a cross-cultural perspective that is not monolithic, but rich in cultural diversity.

Linda Matsumoto has been an educator with Evanston/Skokie School District 65 since 2013. A former journalist with the Chicago Tribune, she was also an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College and served a decade in top public affairs posts with cultural arts institutions, including The Art Institute of Chicago. Linda has worked in media relations for Northwestern University and was the lead spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Education and Press Secretary for the Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools. She has been a panelist at several cross-cultural education seminars and has been invited by the National Education Association to present her AAPI Cultural Competency workshop at next year's annual Leadership Summit. Her presentation focuses on Asian stereotypes and their impact on perpetuating implicit bias in our society.

You will receive the Zoom link in your confirmation email. If you have questions about this event after registration has closed, please email the events team or call the library at 847-673-7774.

Past Events


An Evening with Michelle Zauner: Online Event

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 7:00 pm

Musician and author Michelle Zauner discusses her music career and her bestselling memoir. Jessica Hopper joins her in conversation.

Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Critically acclaimed Jubilee was nominated for two Grammy awards. Crying in H Mart is her first book.

Jessica Hopper is a music critic, producer, and author based in Chicago. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she has earned acclaim as a provocative, fearless music journalist. She has written for, among others, GQ, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and the Chicago Reader. She is the author of The First Collection of Criticism By a Living Female Rock Critic and cofounded Golden Teapot, a production company specializing in music and culture documentary work,

This event is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration among public libraries.

Register now for this online event.

Illinois Libraries Present is committed to inclusion and accessibility. To request accommodations, please email illinoislibrariespresent@gmail.com.

Explore books and music by Michelle Zauner in the library catalog.

Explore books by Jessica Hopper in the library catalog.


Civic Lab: AAPI Community Leaders

Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 7:00 pm

Board members of Skokie government organizations, who all are of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent, share their experiences as community leaders.

Khem Khoeun, Village of Skokie trustee; David Ko, member of the D219 Board of Education; Michelle Mallari, Skokie Public Library trustee; and Erick Tumang, member of the East Prairie D73 Board of Education, will talk about public life and how they bring their whole selves to their roles serving our community.

All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.


Movie Night: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 6:30 pm

Bhutanese director Pawo Choynin Dorjii has crafted a gentle, life-affirming fable.

An unmotivated teacher is sent to the most remote school in the country to fulfill his last year of mandatory government service. Over time, he finds purpose, connection, and community. In Dzongkha with English subtitles.

We will watch the film in the Petty Auditorium, followed by a brief discussion in the Radmacher Room. All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.

2019 -- 110 minutes -- Not rated -- Drama

Find Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom in the library catalog.

Watch the trailer for Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom.


Exploring Takashi Murakami: An Art Experience

Sunday, May 15, 2022, 2:00 pm

Explore the playful world of renowned Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami through creative art projects.

For children ages 8 and up. Drop-in event limited to 8 children at a time. All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.


Family Movie: My Neighbor Totoro

Saturday, May 14, 2022, 2:00 pm

Two young sisters spend a summer in the Japanese countryside with their father.

The children's strange new home turns out to be a wonderland filled with creatures and a trio of furry woodland sprites who can only be seen by children.

Released 1988 - 88 minutes - Rated G - Animation, Comedy, Family

Children younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult. All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.

Watch the trailer for My Neighbor Totoro.


Where in the World: Asia

Friday, May 13, 2022, 4:00 pm

Test your geography skills with a hands-on challenge to identify countries across the Asian continent.

Designed for kids ages 8-11. Limited to 10 participants who must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.


Where in the World: Asia

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 4:00 pm

Test your geography skills with a hands-on challenge to identify countries across the Asian continent.

Designed for kids ages 8-11. Limited to 10 participants who must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.


Back to Yellow Peril: The Historical 'Othering' of Asian Americans through Laws

Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 7:00 pm

Ada Cheng will discuss various laws and regulations that have contributed to the construction of Asian Americans as “other” in this country.

She will include personal stories to highlight the myth of the model minority, the image of the perpetual foreigner, and the negative impact of these images on Asian Americans. 

An educator-turned artist, storyteller, and creator, Ada Cheng uses storytelling to illustrate structural inequities, raise critical awareness, and build intimate communities. She has created numerous storytelling platforms for BIPOC and LGBTQIA community members to tell difficult and vulnerable stories based on their lived experiences.

Cheng has worked with numerous community organizations, including Chinese American Museum of Chicago, National Cambodian Heritage Museum, Japanese American Service Committee, i2i: Invisible to Invincible Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, and Center on Halsted. She has worked with AAPI communities through her various storytelling platforms, particularly Talk Stories: An Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling and Dare to Tell: Queer Asian Storytelling. She has regularly partnered with Center on Halsted for April Sexual Assault Awareness Month and October Domestic Violence Awareness Month, providing necessary platforms, such as Am I Man Enough? show, for people to critically examine the impact of toxic masculinity. She features community members as storytellers and brings these events to community spaces for critical engagement and alliance building.

Cheng has been a speaker with the Illinois Humanities Speakers Bureau since 2019. She is currently a visiting associate professor in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University as well as an adjunct faculty at Dominican University. 


Why AAPI History Matters

Saturday, May 7, 2022, 1:00 pm

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are one of our fastest growing populations, and Laura Houcque Prabhakar discusses the oft-ignored AAPI portions of United States history.

Although AAPI history is deeply intertwined with U.S. history, it is often forgotten or ignored in both the classroom and in public discourse. The AAPI community experienced discrimination long before 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated acts of hatred and bigotry. Knowledge is a powerful tool that can be used to build a stronger and more inclusive future. It is time to depict a more comprehensive picture of AAPI history so that young Asian Americans can see themselves reflected in the school curriculum while we address increased anti-Asian sentiment.

Laura Houcque (originally Ouk) Prabhakar is a Southeast Asian educator in Chicago. She represented the Cambodian Association of Illinois on the steering committee led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago that advocated for the TEAACH Act in Illinois and serves on the Curricular Resource Development Team.

All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.


Adventure Club: Hawaii

Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 4:30 pm

Learn about Hawaii's culture, traditions, foods, and fun.

Limited to 10 kids in grades K-2 accompanied by an adult. All participants must follow the library's pandemic safety guidance.