City of Pasadena Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

PASADENA, Calif.—The City of Pasadena is proud to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May. This is a time to honor and recognize the contributions of the AAPI community that shapes the rich cultural tapestry of our city and nation. Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, and The Friends of the Pasadena Public Library are offering a month-long series of in-person and virtual activities and events to celebrate AAPI heritage, history and achievements. All programs and events are free.

Programs and events include cultural and educational activities, workshops, and take-home craft projects—all of which aim to promote understanding, appreciation and respect for the AAPI community and their contributions to the city of Pasadena.

Storytime and Art with USC Pacific Asia Museum
Monday, May 1
• 4 p.m. • La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave.
Learn about Asian cultures with instructors from Pasadena's USC Pacific Asia Museum. Enjoy a story and art activity inspired by the book “The Archer and the Sun by Rob Cleveland,” illustrated by Baird Hoffmire. All materials provided. For ages 5-12.

Art and Speaker Presentation at Jackie Robinson Community Center
Thursday, May 4
• 4-6:30 p.m. • Jackie Robinson Community Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave. 
Create an AAPI fresh flower craft project between 4-6 p.m. For all ages.

Learn about the Chinese American experience from a historic perspective, with dynamic speaker and Pasadena native Kaz Doi. This activity is from 6-6:30 p.m. For all ages.

Registration is required and will open on Monday, May 1, at

Heritage of Pasadena’s Japanese American Community
Saturday, May 6
• 3 pm • Lamanda Park Branch Library, 140 N. Altadena Dr.
Presented by Susan H. Kamei, managing director of the Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
Dr. Kamei will discuss the forced removal and incarceration due to Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, that decimated Japanese American communities that were so vibrant before World War II. Following the war, some communities were able to reconstitute (Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, Japantown in San Francisco, and Monterey Bay) while others did not and remained completely erased (Tacoma and Terminal Island).

Pasadena has an interesting and important story because of caring individuals like realtor William Carr. He established Friends of the American Way, an organization that pushed back against the intense prejudice opposing the return of Japanese Americans as they were released from camps, paving the way for Japanese Americans from Pasadena and other parts of Southern California to return. For ages 18+.

Story and Teatime at Villa Parke Community Center
Tuesday, May 9
• 10-11:30 a.m. • Villa Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa St. 
Enjoy an AAPI story, discussion and teatime snacks hosted by the Villa Parke Branch Library, with arts & crafts from Pasadena City College. This activity is open to all ages.

Chai & Conversation
Thursday, May 18
• 7 p.m. • Zoom
Tea lovers wanted! Join us for a chat about Indian tea culture, then learn how to make traditional chai. Sign up now to attend. Program registration includes a kit you can pick up beforehand that will let you taste a shortcut version and tea accompaniment. For ages 9+.

Create Your Own Miniature Zen Garden
Thursday, May 25
• 4 p.m. • La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave.
Using recycled materials, create your own miniature Zen garden. All materials provided. To register, call La Pintoresca Branch Library (626) 744-7268. For all ages.

Just Yesterday – Stories from the Past
Saturday, May 27
• 10 a.m. • Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.
Join us and discover the past through the personal memories and stories of Pasadena’s Nisei generation.

Ikebana, the Art of Japanese Flower Arrangement
Saturday, May 27
• 3 p.m. • Lamanda Park Branch Library, 140 N. Altadena Dr.
Join us for an afternoon of Ikebana led by instructor Jessica Tang, who will introduce you to this classical Japanese floral art, then demonstrate freestyle Ikebana. Create your own flower arrangement to take home. All materials provided. Sign up now to attend or call (626) 744-7266. For ages 18+.

TAIKO Project
Tuesday, May 30
• 4 p.m. • La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave.
Hear the powerful drums and electrifying rhythms that have played an important role in Japan's festivals since ancient times. TAIKOPROJECT! is presented by The Music Center. For all ages.

Tapa Cloth
Wednesday, May 31
• 4 p.m. • Villa Parke Branch Library, 363 E. Villa St., 2nd Floor
Make your own “tapa cloth” out of construction paper. Tapa cloth or tapa is a barkcloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. All materials provided. For ages 5-12.

Take-and-Make Crafts

Enjoy fun, free take-and-make crafts celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month that are simple and easy to make! Follow the instructions below to reserve your craft kit. Sign-ups begin at the start of the day; you do not need to wait for the library to open to sign up. Kits are limited to one per participant and may be picked up at your favorite library branch. You will be notified by email where and when your kit is available for pickup. Kits contain the necessary craft materials and instructions to help guide you in creating the craft. Additional household items such as scissors, stapler, glue or tape may be needed. The kits are extremely popular and available while supplies last. Kits not picked up by a certain date will be released to those on the waiting list. For all ages unless specified.

Take & Make: Korean Norigae
Monday, May 8 • While supplies last
Norigae are good luck charms worn with the traditional hanbok. Learn more about these good luck charms, then make your very own. Sign up for your kit online, starting Monday, May 8. Kits can be picked up at Santa Catalina Branch Library, 999 E. Washington Blvd. For ages 9+.

Take & Make: Dragon Puppet
Monday, May 15
• 10 a.m. • La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave.
Create a paper dragon craft! Materials will be provided. Sign up for your kit starting Monday, May 15, by calling (626) 744-7268. Available while supplies last.

Take & Make: Woodblock Printing
Monday, May 16
• While supplies last
Woodblock printing or block printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. Create your own woodblock-style print with a foam plate and paint. Use one of our nature-themed templates or create your own work of art. Sign up for your kit online starting Monday, May 16. Kits can be picked up at Hastings Branch Library, 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd.

Take & Make: Paper Lanterns
Saturday, May 20
• 10 a.m. • Linda Vista Branch Library, 1281 Bryant St.
Pick up your kit to make a beautiful paper lantern starting Saturday, May 20. Available while supplies last. For ages 5-12.

For more information or to make an accessibility request, contact (626) 744-7311 or Providing at least 72 hours advance notice will help ensure availability.

Stay connected to the City of Pasadena! Visit us online at; follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook; or call the City Service Center Monday through Friday during business hours at (626) 744-7311.