The Five College Center for East Asian Studies is committed to promoting East Asian Studies at the Five Colleges and supports, encourages, and improves the teaching of East Asian cultures in elementary, middle, and secondary schools, and two- and four-year colleges in the Northeast. 


Resources for teaching during COVID-19

Indigo Girl Read-Aloud and Writing Activity Author Suzanne Kamata reads an excerpt from her young adult book, Indigo Girl (Gemma Media), a 2019 Freeman Book Award Honorable mention title. The video concludes with a short writing activity.

"Fifteen-year-old Aiko Cassidy, a bicultural girl with cerebral palsy, grew up in Michigan with her single mother. For as long as she could remember, it was just the two of them. When a new stepfather and a baby half sister enter her life, she finds herself on the margins. Having recently come into contact with her biological father, she is invited to spend the summer with his indigo-growing family in a small Japanese farming village. Aiko thinks she just might fit in better in Japan. As she gets to know her biological father and the story of his break with her mother, Aiko begins to rethink the meaning of family and her own place in the world."

Falling into the Dragon's Mouth Read-Aloud and Writing Activity Author Holly Thompson is back this week with a read-aloud  of an excerpt from her middle grades book, Falling into the Dragon's Mouth, a 2016 Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention title. The video concludes with a short writing activity. "Told through the eyes of a middle school American boy who is living in Japan, students have a compelling account of issues ever present in society today and how to deal with them: bullying, feeling isolated, not fitting in, cross-cultural understanding, and how to survive teenage years. It is also a window into Japanese culture and school life, while exploring emotions and issues that all teenagers are constantly facing when 'friend groups' dominate and exclusion is visible and difficult, especially when moving across the cultural pathways." Want to learn more about this book? Watch our archived webinar with the author. 

The Wakame Gatherers Read-Aloud with author Holly Thompson

The Five College Center for East Asian Studies is pleased to present Holly Thompson reading her picture book The Wakame Gatherers (Shen’s/Lee&Low, October 2007; coming in paperback this fall). The video also includes a short introduction to wakame seaweed. From now until June 30, 2020, teachers and parents can share this book with children. Click here to watch. Click here for the teacher’s guide

The Wakame Gatherers: A bicultural girl in Japan goes wakame seaweed gathering with her Japanese and American grandmothers. Nanami must serve as translator for the two women, whom she comes to understand were at war when they were her age. Included after the story are an author’s note about wakame, a glossary of Japanese words used, and recipes for wakame by Nanami and each of her grandmothers.

Holly Thompson was raised in New England and earned a B.A. in biology from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. in English from New York University's Creative Writing Program. Longtime resident of Japan, she teaches creative writing at Yokohama City University, U.C. Berkeley Extension, and Boston's Grub Street Creative Writing Center, and presents at schools worldwide.

Resources for Teaching about Racial Discrimination during the Coronavirus Crisis. This list was compiled by our NCTA colleagues at the Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA) at the University of Colorado. In their words:

“As educators, we all have a role we can play now in sharing the perspectives of specialists and discussing the events and issues we are facing as we confront the coronavirus. As educators with special interest in the study of Asia and the world, we can help students and colleagues address challenges related to labeling and racism that may be appearing in our communities and in the media. This week, TEA is sharing with our TEA E-News subscribers several current articles, websites, and academic resources that address current challenges in the portrayal of Asians in the context of the coronavirus, as well as selected instructional resources on discrimination and stereotyping against Chinese Americans in American history.” 

We encourage you and your student to learn from these carefully selected resources.