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Filipino Children’s Books about Family

Seeing representation in children’s books is key to learning about and feeling connected to culture. It is beautiful to see family dynamics and relationships, in addition to Filipino culture represented in literature. Here is a list of books we have found so far that either mention family or include family as a central theme. 

pamilya ko

Pamilya Ko – (by Joy Francisco, Ph.D., illust: Jamie Ortiz). This Filipino children’s picture book introduces vocabulary for different family members in Tagalog/Filipino.

Cora Cooks Pancit –  (by: Dorina Gilmore; illust: Kristi Valiant). This is a charming story of Cora, a young girl who wishes to help cook in the kitchen. When she finally gets her chance, her mama teaches her to cook pancit, a popular Filipino noodle dish. While bonding over cooking, she not only learns culinary skills but also learns more about her Lolo, her grandfather, who cooked for Filipino farmworkers long ago. 

From Manila with Love – (by: Amy Luna Capelle; illust: Auri Asuncion Yambao) This is a story of a young girl who travels to Manila with her mother to meet their relatives for the first time. It is a balikbayan story of a family “returning to one’s home.”

Lola Puti – (by: Russell Molina; illust: Vanessa Tamayo). This is a bittersweet story of a grandson and his Lola. This story incorporates math as the grandson counts her white hairs and encounters real-life calculations. 

Keyk Paakyat Ng Langit (A Cake Reaching to the Sky- by Norico Chua) – A touching tale of a young boy who bakes to build a tower of sweets to reach his grandma in the sky.

Rom-Rom and Lola– (by: Rowena Similar; illust: Jhucel del Rosario) – Join Rom-Rom on his fun adventures with his Lola while his parents are at work. This book introduces Filipino traditions and household items in Tagalog.

The Quarreling Kites – (by: Lin Acacio-Flores) – It is a story of a father and son flying two kites. It begins by describing the rivalry and competitiveness between the two kites, and ultimately the shift to friendship. It parallels the father and son bonding while flying these kites.

Ay Naku! – (by: Reni Roxas; Illust: Serj) – It is a Tagalog book about the mischief of a boy and the love of his family regardless of the commotions he causes throughout the day. 

Any Day with You – (by: Mae Respicio) – This is a chapter book about a creative Fil-Am girl named Kaia, who hopes to convince her great-grandfather, Tatang, to not return to his homeland in the Philippines. 

Know of other Filipino children’s books referencing family or with the theme of family? We’d love to know! Message us @filamlearners or hello(at)filamlearners.com and we can add on to the list.

Feelings – Tagalog Unit

Communicating about our feelings can be a challenge! Helping children identify their emotions and naming their feelings is certainly an ongoing process. It can be an added obstacle for adults alike. Whether it is due to familial, cultural, or societal expectations of how we handle our emotions, it can be hard to clearly express how we feel.

To help introduce feelings to your children and in honor of Emotional Wellness Month, we put together a Feelings unit. Our hope is to help jumpstart conversations about our feelings (in English and Tagalog) through various activities. 

Music is an engaging way to learn about concepts. Below is a lyrics sheet for the song “Kung Ikaw Ay Masaya” which is the Tagalog version of “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” It is a free download, so feel free to use it in your home/class. 

Below is a version we found to sing along with:

Here is an overview of some of the activities we put together to talk about Feelings.

We read Masaya Ako!, a Tagalog/English board book by Yasmin Doctor. (We purchased a copy from Arkipelago Books).

We like the simple and bright pictures showing each emotion. 

To take the concept further, we made a Feelings booklet where children are prompted to think about what their face looks like for each emotion. In addition to illustrating their facial expression, they can reflect on what/who makes them feel that way as well. 

This Feelings Wheel is a handy visual to help children identify their emotions throughout the day. The English & Tagalog phrases on the side can also help be a starting prompt of naming their feeling. 

Finally, we created a matching activity where children can mix and match the eyes and mouth to go with each feeling. See the video below for a quick peek at how it works.

Want to learn along with us? We have made these activities available in our Shop in both digital format for you to download and print at home AND also in physical format for us here at Fil-Am Learners to print, laminate the wheel, and prepare the magnets to send to you!

Digital copy – I don’t mind printing it myself

Physical copy of Carabao/Kalabaw– I would love the convenience of having it printed, prepped, and having the Carabao/Kalabaw Magnets!

Physical copy of Wolf/Lobo –  I would love the convenience of having it printed, prepped, with the Wolf/Lobo Magnets