Stories to Heal

Michelle Qiao


Stories to Heal will work with a group of representative Asian American and Pacific Islander students in a workshop series to create, publish, and freely distribute an illustrated picture book humanizing and showcasing the individuality of different East Asian cultures. The book will broadcast students’ own message to their peers, building empathy and acceptance.

Updates from Stories to Heal

September, 2021

The summer has flown by, and as we find ourselves embarking on the new school year, the Stories to Heal project is also beginning a new stage!

In the month of July, after weeks of preparing lesson plans, publicizing the opportunity to families across the nation, and gathering a cohort of students, we were finally ready to begin workshop. Throughout the month, we met with students in tuition-free sessions that helped each child share their Asian American experience through art, writing, and poetry. Five weeks of creating later, we couldn’t be more proud of our students–they had produced pages upon pages of illustrations and writing that would now be edited and compiled into the final book.

We are so grateful for the support our partner organization, Writopia Lab, has given throughout the process. After several rounds of editing by our instructors, we will send the final copy to Writopia’s publishing lab, making the book available in both online and physical copies. At the end of workshop, we needed to come up with a title. This title needed to encapsulate everything the students had written, as well as the message and purpose of the project. After much deliberation, we came to a difficult decision.

Drumroll please...

Hello from Here: A Celebration of Asian American Identity!

I would like to share a few lines from a group poem the students wrote in our last few weeks of workshop. All the students collaborated to create a complete poem that will be included at the end of the book. The prompt was: what is the America you want to see?

The America that I want to see
is a place where every culture
can be celebrated and appreciated,
a just and fair world
without violence. A peaceful country,
where everyone can live happily together
like a land from a fairy tale.

The America that I want to see
is a place that is kind.

The last line exemplifies both the mission of this project and the values of the Call for Kindness–that spreading empathy and kindness can make a difference. Thank you Riley’s Way for making this project possible, and we are so excited to share the final book with the world!