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 – (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.
Books about Lola (Grandma)
Lola, or grandma in Tagalog, is such a special member of the family and highly revered in Filipino culture. There are many books we found that highlight lolas. That’s just how special she is! Check out our Instagram feed for our series of recommended Filipino children’s books about Lola.
(We will generate a complete list here very soon when our post series is done).