The Quarreling Kites, the Palanca-award winning children’s book, was written by Lin Acacio-Flores and illustrated by Hermes Alegre. It is a tale of a father and a son flying two kites, a big one, and a small one. It starts off describing the rivalry and competitiveness between the two kites. Bigger and stronger versus smaller and faster.
We see the push to be better than the other:
“I’m better than you are. I’m bigger and stronger.”
“That doesn’t mean anything. I’m smaller and faster.”
“Hah! You call that flying?”
It goes on to show the gradual transformation from the competitive spirit and rivalry into encouragement and friendship between the kites.
“C’mon, little brother … You can do it!”
Alongside these two characters are the father and son bonding through flying the kites. Kite flying is a beautiful activity to share with someone.
It is an interesting way to show a parallel between two pairs of characters whose stories intertwine throughout the book.
The Quarreling Kites is overall a beautifully illustrated story showing the rural landscapes of the Philippines and a tale showing the development of appreciation and respect for others.
About the Author & Illustrator
Lin Acacio-Flores has written several articles and other books, including A Child’s Treasury of Philippine Christmas Stories, When I Cross the Street … (Kapag Tumatawid Ako Ng Kalsada …), and Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth. She shares her passion for children’s literature as a member of the association, KUTING.
Hermes Alegre loved spending his days flying kites with his father as a child, so the story of The Quarreling Kites is near and dear to his childhood. He illustrated other children’s literature including Bahay Kubo and The Mats, which earned the 1995 National Book Award for Children’s Literature. In addition to books, Mr. Alegre has featured paintings of Filipino maidens and golden landscapes in many gallery exhibits.
A fun extension activity is to make and fly a kite. There are so many different types of kites to make, from different types of materials to different kite styles.
Below are a couple of links to helpful websites showing how to make various kinds of kites:
Reading about kite flying is a great way to introduce Tagalog vocabulary for kites and sky-related words.
We created a one-page printable that introduces five sky & kite-themed words in Tagalog. Your child can draw a picture using the suggested Tagalog/English vocabulary words. Depending on their ability, they can trace the word (if you pre-write it for them), copy the words, cut out and glue the words. Then practice saying the words aloud while pointing to the pictures.
We are over the moon to share this month’s featured Filipino children’s book, Cora Cooks Pancit, written by Dorina Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valiant. It is a charming tale about a young Filipina American girl named Cora, who loves the smell of the Filipino dishes her Mama cooks and longs to cook in the kitchen, just like her older siblings. Instead, she is usually sitting on the sidelines, doing “kid jobs” like drawing in the flour or licking the spoon. She finally gets the chance to help her Mama and chooses to cook pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Not only does she get to the opportunity to do the “grown-up” cooking tasks, but she learns about her Filipino heritage through her Mama’s storytelling in the process as well.
Why We Love the Book
My children and I love Cora’s determination to cook with her Mama. We appreciate the representation of a Filipino family in the story. Being able to see a family that looks similar to ours is very special and close to home. I also personally adore the bonding between Cora and Mama in the kitchen. Food is iconic for bringing Filipinos together. We admire the author’s introduction to the Filipino culture through Lolo’s story and how Mama passed on stories of the family heritage to Cora. My children thought it was also charming to see the dog in each picture bringing toys to Cora, wanting to play with her. It brought a realistic family element seeing each member of the book interact with one another.
Interview with the author
We had the chance to interview the talented author of Cora Cooks Pancit, Dorina Gilmore. Learn more about this amazing woman below and be sure to look out for a special treat for you in this post.
Q:What led you to write Cora Cooks Pancit?
A: As a child, I was a voracious reader. I was also looking for books about kids like me. I saw very little if any representation of kids from Filipino or mixed-race backgrounds. As a writer, I longed to fill this void. I also grew up in the kitchen with my mama, my grandmas, and aunties. My grandma Cora was an amazing cook and I wanted to preserve this recipe and the memory of cooking together.
Q:Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.
I’m from a mixed-race family. My mother’s side is mostly Italian with some Jewish and Armenian. My father’s parents immigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii. They were Filipino, Chinese, and Polynesian. My parents were very intentional to share these cultures and celebrate them with our family.
Q:What do you want others to know about the Fil-Am/Filipino culture?
A: Filipino American culture is a rich blend of Asian and Latin roots with an island flare. Food is central to our cultural identity. Despite economic hardships in the home country, Filipinos pride themselves on generous hospitality and inviting others to the table. I grew up experiencing the food, music, dance, and art of the Philippines and learning about others.
Q:What and/or who is your inspiration behind what you do?
A: My children inspire me to keep writing. I have three daughters ages 7, 10 and 13. I want them to have books that express the cultures and experiences that are familiar to them and that teach them about others. I believe books help us navigate life and trials. They give us examples and instill values in us.
Q:Where can people find you and learn about your work?
Sign up for the newsletter www.dorinakidsbooks.com where Dorina shares her publishing news, children’s book reviews and a FREE Christmas advent book list with you.
Q:Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share with our audience?
A: I want readers to know that their purchases have power. The more they share books with others and request them at the library and bookstores, the more you will see a demand for books about Filipino Americans and others in publishing. We need you!
A Special Treat for you from Dorina
Dorina would love to send any of our readers a signed, personalized copy of Cora Cooks Pancit for $10 plus shipping. (Here is a link to her Contact Page where you will see a contact form and her e-mail address. You can let her know you are a part of the Fil-Am Learners community).
Where to find out more about the Illustrator, Kristi Valiant
Book Giveaway (Update as of 5/22/19: Giveaway is now CLOSED)
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. (READ MORE ABOUT NO PURCHASE NECESSARY)
1. PROMOTION DESCRIPTION: Cora Cooks Pancit Book Giveaway begins on May 6, 2019 at 12:00 a.m. and ends on May 21, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST
The sponsor of this Sweepstakes is Fil-Am Learners. By participating in the Sweepstakes, each Entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the Sweepstakes. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes. Sponsor may be reached by email at hello(at)filamlearners.com during the Promotion Period.
2. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years or older. This Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited or restricted by law.
1 Winner will receive the soft-cover children’s book, Cora Cooks Pancit
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One of the early basic concepts we teach children is colors. No matter what language your family speaks, color is such a universal concept because our world is surrounded by color. From the food we eat, to the toys they play with, to the color of their hair and clothes, colors are something that children interact with daily.
Because colors are easily found around us, it can easily be applied in daily conversation and apply the Tagalog vocabulary frequently.
Our featured Filipino children’s book is:
Oh My Kulay! is a vibrant, well-composed concept book that teaches Tagalog words for colors, fruits, and vegetables.
This adorable book was written by Dr. Jocelyn Francisco and illustrated by Jamie Lee Ortiz. The pages have easy-to-read and clear font for kids and bright pictures of fruits and vegetables. It is a wonderful concept book for little ones!
Caroline’s Color Dreams (written by Tanner Call and Joshua Timothy) is a bilingual book about a girl named Caroline who has a colorful dream and learns about the color wheel.
Here are some other suggested activities to teach and reinforce colors:
Sing songs about the colors in Tagalog
Here is a video that teaches colors and other educational concepts in Tagalog.
Below are two Fil-Am Learners original songs for individual colors.
More songs to come in the future …
Sort items by color
(e.g. sorting laundry, sorting toys, food, things out in nature, or anything that interests your child).
Here is a 14-page lesson activity reinforcing colors in Tagalog. It is geared for preschool through elementary age children and can be used to practice in class or at home. Click the image to get your printables.
Playing with playdough is an engaging sensory activity for kids. There are so many ways to use playdough to learn and use your creativity. Sign up below to get printables for each color that you can transform into playdough playmats. A tip is to print on cardstock and to laminate each page for multiple uses. On the playmats, the kids will be able to:
Shape the playdough to spell the color word in Tagalog.
Create an object of that color using the playdough.
Use their creativity to make their own playdough creation with the same color.
There are so many interactive ways to teach colors and a new language! What are some ways you incorporate teaching your children colors? Please share more ideas not included in this post or let us know if you’ve implemented any of the ones we shared.
Follow along her day to see how she celebrates it with opposite manners and actions.
The book includes both English and Tagalog so children can gain literacy skills in both languages.
The character is inspired by the author’s daughter, Sophia. His daughter’s birthday is April 24, so Jomike Tejido decided that April 24 would be the “Day of Opposites.”
He encourages Filipino children around the world to join in on the celebration and have a “day of opposites” or “araw ng kabaligtaran” on April 24.
Themed activities to go with this book
Play “Eye Spy Opposites” – As you’re reading along, have an “opposites hunt” and ask your child to look for opposites. Discuss the vocabulary. It is the perfect time to teach the words and see them used in the context of the story.
Have your own opposite day – Do opposite things during your daily routine. (Of course, make sure they are safe and responsible choices). Some examples include:
Eating dinner before dessert
Wearing your shirt backwards
Walking backwards a few steps to another room
Saying “Good morning” when it is night time and “Goodnight” when it is morning.
Tagalog “Opposites” Audio Glossary (to go with the Opposites flash cards)
Eat Tapsilog –
Although this isn’t an opposite activity, the book does show Sophia eating tapsilog, a popular Filipino breakfast composed of tapa (beef), sinangag (garlic rice), and itlog (egg). The word tapsilog combines a few letters from each element to form the full word. It would be a delicious pairing to share tapsilog with the family, whether you decide to go out for breakfast or cook it yourself. Here is a recipe from Panlasang Pinoy if you’re looking for one way to cook it.
We hope you enjoy Opposite Day (Araw ng kabaligtaran)! Feel free to comment below to share how you celebrate it.