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Written & Illustrated by Ashley Ng

Written & Illustrated by Ashley Ng

My name is Ella Lai and over there is my grandma. I call her “Po Po�. It means grandma in Cantonese.

Every Sunday, I go to Po Po’s home for lunch. She cooks really good noodle soup. Yum!

But the best part of going to Po Po’s is that after lunch, she teaches me words in Chinese and tells me stories about Asian American history.

I love watching Po Po knit while she tells me stories. She says we can learn from the good and bad things that has happened in our history.

團結 (tune-geet)

Work Together

Po Po says, “Always work together like the Manila Men.”

The Manila Men were Filipino sailors on a big Spanish boat called a galleon. The captain treated them very poorly. So, they jumped off to escape and swam all the way to the swamps of Louisiana.

By working together, the Manila Men used traditional Filipino ways to create a village and catch fish to sell. They became the first group of Asians to settle in the United States.

決心 (kyut-sahm)

Stay Determined

Po Po says, “Stay determined like the Chinese immigrants of the Gold Rush.”

Hundreds of Chinese immigrants traveled from China to “Gam Saan�, which means Gold Mountain in Cantonese. It was during the California Gold Rush.

It was a time when people searched for gold. During the California Gold Rush, Americans were mean to the Chinese because they looked different.

But the Chinese immigrants did not let the mean Americans bother them. They stayed determined and were able to find lots of gold.

勤勞 (kan-low)

Work Hard

Po Po says, “Always work hard like the Chinese workers who built the first railroad across the U.S.�

Chinese workers helped build the first railroad across America. They showed Americans that they were strong, hard workers.

Their job was very dangerous. Many lost their lives because they had to use dynamite to blast holes in mountains without any safety gear.

Even through the danger, the Chinese workers were able to complete the railroad by working hard. Travel from the East to West Coast was shortened from six months to just one week.

耐性 (noi-sing)

Be Patient

Po Po says, “Be patient like the Asian immigrants on Angel Island.�

Many Asian immigrants were forced to wait inside a building on Angel Island. Many people carved poems into the walls while they patiently waited.

Some people waited for days, some for weeks, and some even waited for years.

But their patience paid off and many of them finally got to fulfill their dreams of living in America.

毅力 (ngai-lik)

Always Persevere

Po Po says, “Always persevere like the people of the Japanese Internment Camps.”

y Mochida Famil nment Camp Inter Topaz, Utah

ily Mochida Fam rnment Camp Inte Topaz, Utah

y Mochida Famil nment Camp Inter Topaz, Utah

ent Camp

Mochida Family Topaz, Utah Internm

Mochida Family Topaz, Utah Internment Camp

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Moch Topa ida z, Ut Fami ah ly Inter


Family Camp Matsuishi Internment Topaz, Utah

During World War II, the government forced thousands of Japanese Americans to leave their homes because they looked like the enemy.

Even though Japanese Americans knew this was not fair, there was nothing they could do. They were forced to leave and live in camps in the U.S.

These camps were called internment camps. They were not fun like summer camps. They had barbed wire fences and soldiers with guns.

After the war was over, the government released everyone from the camps and they realized that all Japanese Americans are American too.

The Japanese Americans persevered through these hard times by rebuilding the lives they once had before internment.

勇敢 (yoong-gahm)

Be Brave

Po Po says “Be brave like the Nisei soldiers of World War II.”

While their relatives were forced to live in internment camps, some Japanese Americans volunteered to fight in World War II.

They were placed into special military units and were called Nisei soldiers. Nisei means second generation in the Japanese language.

They fought bravely for the United States of America. They were very good fighters and helped the country win World War II.

By fighting bravely and saving many lives, they earned the most medals in the history of the United States Army.

希望 (hei-mong)

Be Hopeful

Po Po says, “Always stay hopeful like the Boat People.”

Thousands of people ran away from a country called Vietnam, because the Vietnam War left them with little food and money.

They were known as the Boat People because they ran away on boats. It was very dangerous because of big waves and pirates.

But they stayed hopeful in building better lives. They were able to find people who helped them get to the United States.

說出 (soot-chut)

Speak Up

Po Po says, “Speak up like the students who fought for Asian American studies.”

College students were not happy their schools did not include Asians in American history.




So, they all came together to tell their schools that this was not fair.

Because these students and civil rights groups spoke up, there are now many colleges where students can learn about Asian American history.

Po Po says that for hundreds of years, different people have come from all over the world to make the United States of America one of the most unique countries to live in.

She says just like this scarf that she made, we are all tightly knit. Each loop of yarn represents a different person. And together, we create something strong and beautiful.

Po Po says to always remember that the U.S. is filled with different people, who each make our country strong and beautiful.

To my family, thanks for being my inspiration. —A.N.

Text copyright © 2014 by Ashley Ng Cover and interior illustrations copyright © 2014 by Ashley Ng All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission. Typefaces: Print Clearly, Print Bold, Josefin Slab Printed in the United States of America January 2014 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 FIRST EDITION

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