Filipino-American Children's Books & GIVEAWAY

Filipino-American Children’s Books & GIVEAWAY

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]

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:Filipino 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 important as what you ask for. [bilingual Tagalog/English picture book, ages 4 and up]

Araw Sa Palengke by May Tobias-Papa, illustrated by  Isabel Roxas

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]

Kung Linggo by Virgilio Almario

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]

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]

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]

A New School Year: Six Stories in Six Voices GIVEAWAY

To win a copy of picture book A New School Year, Mang Andoy’s Signs and Araw Sa Palengke, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. I can only ship to US addresses due to the high cost of mailing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


More Filipino-American Children’s Books

These three books are from a Kickstarter project,

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]

Kalipay and the Tiniest TikTik: A Cebuano Tale

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]

Amina and the City of Flowers

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]

melo the umang boy

Mika Song

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.

Isabel Roxas

Isabel Roxas is an illustrator, designer, aspiring ceramicist and avid reader.
She was born in Manila, Philippines, was raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, and monsoon moons. She now works in a former pencil factory in Brooklyn where she writes and illustrates stories, designs books and creates small objects in clay and resin.
She has illustrated several books for young readers, including Goodnight Songsby Margaret Wise Brown (Sterling Books, 2014), and Day at the Market by May Tobias-Papa (Adarna House, 2008), winner of the Philippine National Book Award.

 To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Filipino-American Children's Books & GIVEAWAY

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. ;0These look wonderful! Pinned to my geography board.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Charleston Harbor Boat CruiseMy Profile

  2. John Smith

    “What books with Filipino characters or by Filipino authors or illustrators have you enjoyed?” I don’t know too much about this. But I was amazed and fascinated to learn maybe 4-6 months ago what a huge English-language book and publications industry there is in the Philippines. I’m jealous, because there are all of these delightful illustrated books, etc., that we just can’t get over here and will never see!!

  3. Love the books by Erin Entrada Kelly! Would love to see her latest get a nod at ALA in January.

  4. I loved Hello, Universe (and have a copy of Blackbird Fly–still have to read it). I heard Erin Entrada Kelly speak and read from Hello, Universe at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May–she was wonderful. I’ve only read Cora Cooks Pancit. Will look for these others. Thanks for the recs, Mika & Isabel! (and I met the lovely Isabelle at the VA Festival for the Book in March)

  5. Lisa Maucione

    I enjoyed Hello Universe. Her earlier book was good, too.

  6. Thank you for always sharing unique books that I can share with my class. I do not believe I have ever read any books with Filipino characters in them.
    Jen Dieleman recently posted…How to Get Your Teacher Ready By Jean ReaganMy Profile

  7. Kathy

    I can’t think of any books with Filipino American characters, thanks for finding these!

  8. Lisa

    Blackbird Fly is in my top ten reads from last year. Cora Cooks Pancit is a storytime winner in my library, where many families are of Filipino heritage.

  9. I can’t think of any books I’ve read about Filipino-American kids! And this despite the communities I’ve lived in with many Filipino-American kids. So glad this list exists.

  10. Thanks for including Tall Story in this list! Mabuhay, you guys!

  11. I can’t think of any, and I need to fix that! I had several Filipino-Austrian friends in high school…
    maryanne recently posted…Easy Art for Kids: Sticker Mosaic ScenesMy Profile

  12. This is awesome! We have Cora Cooks Pancit, it’s a good story and great recipe! My hubby is Filipino, so we’ve been working on learning Tagalog. We also have – Alamat ng Ampalaya The Legend of the Bitter Gourd, by Augie D. Rivera; Filipino Friends by Liana Romulo; and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel by Anthony D. Robles. #MMBH

  13. What a wonderful collection! That you so much for pulling these books together. We look forward to reading many of them!
    Jennifer Brunk recently posted…Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018My Profile

  14. So many choice and great read for little ones and adults alike! Thank you!

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