Mika Song and Isabel Roxas have teamed up to come up with Filipino and Filipino-American Children’s books which are few and far between. I only know one picture book, Cora Makes Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, illustrated by Kristi Valiant.
I recently read See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng with my son. This required rising 7th grade fiction middle grade chapter book subtly includes the reference that the main character, 11-year-old Alex Petroski, is half Filipino by way of his mother. This is a road trip coming of age story of a boy in search of many different kinds of truths and finds unlikely friendships along the way. I like how the story isn’t about being Filipino but is another dimension of the story.
Hand Over Hand by Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Renne Benoit
I discovered this through the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party.
Nina can’t convince her lolo to take her fishing on the old banca boat with him. Lolo’s reply is the same as always: “A boat is no place for a girl.” When Nina promises to bait her own hook and remove her own catch, her grandfather finally relents, “just for today.” Much to the amusement of the other fishermen in their Filipino village, Lolo shows Nina how to jig the lines, set the hook and pull in a fish hand over hand. But no one is laughing when Nina brings in the biggest fish of the day! [picture book, ages 5 and up]
I found this on The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors blog:
Son Who Returns by Gary Robinson (Choctaw/Cherokee)
Fifteen-year-old Mark Centeno is of Chumash, Crow, Mexican and Filipino ancestry–he calls himself “four kinds of brown.” When Mark goes to live with his Chumash grandmother on the reservation in central California, he discovers a rich world of family history and culture that he knows very little about. He also finds a pathway to understanding better a part of his own identity: powwow dancing. Riveted by the traditional dancers and feeling the magnetic pull of the drums, Mark begins the training and other preparations necessary for him to compete as a dancer in one of America’s largest powwows. [middle grade, ages 12 and up]
Mika has a new book out from Charlesbridge Publishing and we are giving away a copy! We are also giving away two bilingual picture books illustrated by Isabel Roxas: Mang Andoy’s Signs and Araw Sa Palengke. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter. There will be three winners, one for each book.
A New School Year: Six Stories in Six Voices by Sally Derby, illustrated by Mika Song
Meet six diverse kids from grades Kindergarten through fifth grade who are entering a new school year. They are both nervous and excited at what the first day will bring. Mika Song captures their hopes, dreams, and fears with simple and engaging illustrations. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Mang Andoy’s Signs by Mailin Paterno, illustrated by Isabel Roxas
A Philippine Children’s Book with dual language: Tagalog and English. The art of persuasion is delightfully revealed in Mailin Paterno’s richly nuanced urban tale, illustrated with charm and zest of Isabel Roxas. Children will be all wiser to learn how you ask is just as important as what you ask for. [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]
Araw Sa Palengke by
I’m coming with Nanay! We’re going to the market. What would we see there? Who would I meet? Come, join us! Today is market day! Sasama ako kay Nanay! [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]
How about you? Can you help us add to this list? Thanks!
Filipino and Filipino-American Children’s Books
Bahay Kubo illustrated by Pergylene Acuña
This was one of my daughter’s favorite board books- she loved the silly vegetable characters and it’s a fun folk song to belt out. – Mika Song
[board book in Tagalog, ages 6 months and up]
Mang Andoy’s Signs by Mailin Paterno Illustrations by Isabel Roxas
A neat picture book full of charming Manila street scenes (hand-painted signs, street food and modes of transportation) that capture the ingenuity and nature of the people. – Mika Song
[bilingual English and Tagalog picture book, ages 3 and up]
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Krauss, illustrated by Jose Aruego
A heart-warming tale of the very special and talented Leo, who just needs a little more time and space to blossom. Boldly drawn and brightly-colored by the great, Jose Aruego. – Isabel Roxas
[picture book, ages 3 and up]
Bakit Matagal ang Sundo ko? by Kristine Canon illustrated by Mariano Ching
Mariano Chings’ fabulous drawings take us on a wild journey of the imagination as our protagonist thinks of all the wondrous things (turtles, giraffes, and eagles oh my!) that could be keeping her mother from picking her up on time. – Isabel Roxas
[Bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 5 and up]
Hating Kapatid by Raissa Rivera Falgui illustrated by Fran Alvarez
In the Philippines, “hating kapatid” refers to getting your “fair share” as you would when splitting things with your blood relations, specifically with your siblings. In this modern-fable, an older brother ant tries to bamboozle his little sibling of her fair share of things and comedy ensues. Delightful watercolors of illustrator Fran Alvarez adds much charm and hilarity to this tale of sibling rivalry. – Isabel Roxas
[early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Chenelyn! Chenelyn! by Rhandee Garlitos illustrated by Liza Flores
Oh no! The housemaid has fallen ill! What do we do now? A funny and touching tale about appreciating the hard work of household helpers everywhere. – Isabel Roxas
[chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Kung Linggo by Virgilio Almario, illustrated by Abi Goy
is a beautiful and humorous book about what happens when you invite a Tiger into your home on a Sunday afternoon. It is only in Tagalog, but if you speak the language, it is such a joy to read. You can follow along without the words and enjoy the silly scenes, lush colors and wild imaginings of Abi Goy. – Isabel Roxas
[Tagalog chapter book, ages 8 and up]
What Kids should know about Filipino Food by Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, illustrated by Mika Bacani
An excellent primer on Filipino food that begins with staples (rice, coconuts and seafood), then moves briskly onto various snacks, different cooking methods and explores the differences in regional cuisine. Gorgeously illustrated by Mika Bacani and written in an easy, conversational tone by Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, this book is chock-full of facts, drool-inducing descriptions of meals and funny anecdotes on food and Filipino culture. – Isabel Roxas
[nonfiction, ages 10 and up]
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio
The Tiny House movement, Filipino culture, and the need for a place to call home intersect in this pitch-perfect middle-grade chapter book. Lou Busolan-Nelson is a mixed-race Filipina character that will steal your heart. She thinks that if she can use her woodshop skills to build a tiny house on the tiny piece of land in San Francisco that she inherited from her father, it will keep her mother from moving them to Seattle. Infused with Filipino culture including food and dance, this book will leave you hungry for more (and pancit and adobo.) [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
A Beatles-loving, Filipino-American girl finds herself abandoned by her friends for being different. I wish I had this book in my hands in middle school, it would have been a comfort to read. – Mika Song
[chapter book, ages 11 and up]
Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz
This beautiful book centers on Nora, who lives in the real-life shantytown inside the Philippines’ Manila North Cemetery. When a family tragedy results in the loss of her dad and home, Nora learns discovers compassion, community and unrelenting hope in the most unexpected places. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
A shy boy, a deaf girl, and an 11-year old fortune-teller find each other in this touching, funny and accurate middle-grade adventure. I love all the characters in this great book. – Mika Song
[chapter book, ages 11 and up]
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
A young adult book about a spectacularly tall boy who moves to London from a small town in the Philippines to be reunited with his mother and step-family. It weaves magical realism, folk tales, basketball and captures the heartache of belonging to two worlds. – Mika Song
[young adult, ages 13 and up]
The Wild Side by Tanya Guerrero
Coming winter of 202o!
Joy Peskin at Farrar, Straus and Giroux has acquired Tanya Guerrero‘s debut middle grade novel, The Wild Side, inspired by the author’s multicultural background (Filipino and Spanish). The contemporary story follows a 12-year-old boy named Pablo whose anxiety issues are exacerbated both by his mother’s decision to move with him to the Philippines, where she works as a zoologist, and to take in a foster child with an as-of-yet-unrepaired craniofacial anomaly. Publication is planned for winter 2020; Wendy Schmalz at Wendy Schmalz Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
A New School Year: Six Stories in Six Voices GIVEAWAY
More Filipino-American Children’s Books
These three books are from a Kickstarter project, Sarisaristorybooks.com.
Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik: A Cebuano Tale by Christina Newhard, illustrated by Happy Garaje
Kalipay lives on the island of Cebu. One day, she makes a new friend in Gamay who protects her from the school bully. Gamay is different with special powers, but their friendship overcomes differences and protects her baby brother from the Tiktiks. [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]
Amina and the City of Flowers by Christina Newland, illustrated by Robbie Bautista
Amina is a young weaver and is homesick for Basilan, but she finds inspiration in her new home of Zamboanga City. [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]
Melo the Umang-Boy: An Ivatan Tale by Alyssa Sarmiento-Co and Christina Newhard, illustrated by Jaypee Portez
Melo is a shy boy who goes fishing with his family and falls off the boat. At the bottom of the sea is a magical city filled with talking sea creatures. When disaster strikes, Melo must overcome his shyness to help them rebuild the city. [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]
Mika Song is a children’s author/ illustrator who makes stories about sweetly silly outsiders. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines and Honolulu, Hawaii, she eventually moved to New York to study animation at Pratt Institute. She was an animator and other things for many years before she became a children’s illustrator. In 2015, she received the Portfolio Award at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference in NYC. Her first picture book, Tea with Oliver (HarperCollins) comes out this August.
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