What Does Asian American Pacific Islander Really Mean?

May is AAPI Heritage Month. These maps, definitions, and links to additional resources provide an introduction to the AAPI community and AAPI issues. 

Use the images and links below to explore these questions with students:

  • What countries are part of Asia?
  • What and where are the Pacific Islands?
  • What are some key historical facts about AAPI history?
  • What articles and books can help us explore the AAPI community further?



Map of Asia

Asia can be divided into 5 regions:

  • Central Asia: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan
  • East Asia: China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau
  • South Asia: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Iran, and the Maldives
  • Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam
  • Western Asia is usually referred to as the Middle East but more recently has been called West Asia-North Africa (WANA)


Map of U.S. Pacific Islands

Map of US Pacific Islands

U.S. Pacific Islands


Information on AAPI HISTORY in the U.S.

Some BOOK recommendations

Consider ordering from independent bookstores like Yu and Me Books from Bookshop.org


  • Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
  • I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita


  • The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee
  • Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
  • Hawai’i’s Story by Hawai’i’s Queen by Queen Lili’uokalani, Hawai’i’s last sovereign monarch


  • Tastes Like War by Grace M. Cho
  • House of Sticks by Ly Tran
  • Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
  • Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner
  • America Is In the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
  • See No Stranger by Valerie Kaur


  • Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
  • DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi
  • Dream of the Divided Field by Yanyi


Other Info/Links to Explore