Filipino childrens books

Filipino Kids Books 5

Season’s greetings readers, are you in the holiday mood?

I must admit that I didn’t get my pet anything and should technically buy some gift bags. But I am just not going to go out in this weather and deal with the crowds. My dad gives Charlie more presents than me anyway, and I probably won’t see the people that need bags until the new year! So, I think I can get away with it. 😁

I probably should be posting some holiday-related content, but this is just the way the cookie crumbles, baby! I recorded a bunch of videos months ago, but photo and video editing is the bane of my existence. So I’m just getting to them when I do. Something kind of Christmas-related will be posted next week!

If you’re new here, I’m a Filipino-American that did not have a community with the best self-esteem and therefore, esteem toward their community! Instilling such lessons was not valued. So when my brother and his wife had a baby, my Miss Grotke™ auntie/ate aesthetic was revealed and so, I have to make sure the child doesn’t become a jerk. 😄

Juan Tamad

On the surface, it makes sense to dissuade laziness. However, in a hyper-capitalistic society where everyone is competing and trying to win favor with/for privilege, I’m concerned about non-conformance  to such attitudes especially by a child being written off as laziness.

Juan Tamad (Lazy Juan) is about a young boy that seems like he doesn’t do any work. We see the results of him not picking guava until it falls (ants) and not bringing dinner home, but I’m not sure if he learns his lesson as the book just ends with the moral.

Can someone like a child be lazy? Of course. But I also think that they’re especially vulnerable to not being understood when they may not have the language, experience, or resources to address their own well-being. Dismissing someone as “lazy” doesn’t address any underlying issue, puts the blame on them, and does that whole narc and “notice me” thing. It’s like calling the authorities for the most minor inconvenience instead of developing a community that takes care of one another rather than punishing. I guess you could say it’s… lazy. 😎

Filipino childrens books

Masaya Ako!

Masaya Ako! (I’m Happy) is a board Adarna book like Masayang Magtanim! and Kayang-kaya! in my first review. It illustrates different emotions and is in English and Tagalog. Pretty useful but may be difficult to buy outside of the Philippines. I borrowed this copy from the library which was on the other side of the country!

The Little Red Hen

When I first started this series, I didn’t set specific parameters like solely Filipino authors and didn’t think about books that were translated. This story is about a hen that wants to make some bread and asks all the other farm animals to help with every step. They all claim they’re busy until it’s time to eat, but the hen only shares her bread with those who helped her.

The Little Red Hen is probably the lesson I wanted from Juan Tamad. But I think that from now on I’m going to try to avoid translated books because technically, I could just end up with Harry Potter, right? While that might be cool, it’s not really the reason I’m doing this.


Title Juan Tamad Masaya Ako! The Little Hen
Author Rene Villanueva L.R. Hen
Illustrator Jo Ann Bereber Yasmin Doctor Jago
Publisher Lampara Adarna Mantra Lingua
Year 2002 2013 2005
Language Tagalog & English Tagalog & English Tagalog & English
Level 3rd grade baby 3rd-4th grade
Recommended Not really Sure! Depends

Not 100% sure on that Hen author and illustrator but that’s what it says. If just a translated story is fine for you, go ahead, but if you’d like something more culture-related, check out my past reviews!

FKB 4 + Better World Books Review
Filipino Kids Books 3
Filipino Kids Books 2
New Series: Filipino Kids Books

Hope everyone is having happy holidays and new year!

Filipino childrens books

FKB 4 + Better World Books Haul

Filipino childrens books

Good day readers, are you keeping cool?

Despite all of the heat advisories, I also mean mentaltally, spiritually, all of the -ies. If you follow me on Insta, you’ve seen that I’ve decided to try to sort my -ies out which should be, unfortunately, a long and arduous task especially since I’m kinda one foot in this boat and the other finding a lot of this hooey. But like with everything else here, I share in hopes that it helps you too.

According to this definition of spirituality, one should ask themself if they’re contributing to their community in a way that energizes them. Can I count this series? 😅 I do not find it particularly nourishing at the moment. But things that typically come up like church or volunteering honestly make me anxious. I suppose what energizes me is meeting people that are actually like me, on my level. But then I fear that they actually take action, and I am a coward!

Ah well, I will uh, meditate or whatever on it some more. In the meantime. Here are some Filipino kids books I actually bought this time. I wanted to send a care package for my new nephew and his parents and fortunately had already found a book I liked through the library. I would just have to find it to purchase! At that time, Better World Books was having a sale, so I decided to take advantage and try them out. Here’s what I got.

Alpabetong Filipino

This is an Adarna House book. My cover says it’s by Victoria Añonuevo but others say Virgilio S. Almario. It’s illustrated by Paul Eric Roca. It’s a basic alphabet book with illustrations of letters and words that start with them (or have the letters in them). At the time of the recording, I hadn’t seen other Filipino alphabet books before, so it seemed fine, but since then I have which are definitely better! Most words are in Tagalog with some in English.

Ang Bagong Kaibigan ng Bing Butiki (Bing Butiki’s New Friend)

This story is about lizards that hang out on the ceiling of an old couple’s home. Their son used to torture the lizards and fear him. He returns as an adult with his own daughter, and Bing wants to befriend her. She ends up being nice, but Bing really doesn’t have a reason to do this seemingly other than “she’s cute.” Perhaps the instinct to approach without caution (I’m giving them this as a benefit rather than superficiality) stems from the book’s Christian publisher which prints a verse on the back.

Inside Illustration

Perhaps not a problem but something others may want to know. The son/father also tells about how the daughter can’t take the lizards home because they have to stay and eat bugs which I don’t really understand.

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories

This is by the same Liana Romulo of Filipino Friends in my last post! This was actually published before Friends, and surprisingly, I liked this much better. It’s a collection of folk tales. I’ve since read other collections, and I think this is edited for children. However, Stories was the book I decided to buy (and the previous two were lucky enough to come along), and I chose it because a few of them contained messages of organizing and rebellion! And I absolutely love the animated illustrated of Joanne de Leon whom will be making at least another appearance in this series in the future!


Title Alpabetong Filipino Ang Bagong Kaibigan ng Bing Butiki Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories
Author Victoria Añonuevo/ Virgilio S. Almario Yna Reyes Liana Romulo
Illustrator Paul Eric Roca Jason Moss Joanne de Leon
Publisher Adarna House Hiyas/OMF Literature(?) Periplus Editions
Year 2003 1993 2000
Language Mostly Tagalog Tagalog & English English
Level Pre-school 1st-3rd grade 4th-5th grade
Recommended Eh 😑 Yes

As for Better World Books, they are definitely an option to keep in mind. I’ve a reflex to go to Amazon for cheap books, but BWB has deals such as buy 2 used, get 1 free. I believe they also always have free shipping. I was able to score these 3 which can be difficult to find (and therefore expensive) for about $11. However, I did not receive tracking info. You might be able to pay for another shipping method to provide it. It seems like it is kind of like Amazon in the way that other users can sell on it rather than BWB being a retailer, so you may find condition descriptions like “may have wear.” 😅

Filipino Children's Favorite Stories Cover
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Pre-order the paperback at Target

Do you know what’s up with the two authors? Have any books you to see before you buy or want any other recs? Be sure to check out my previous reviews 👇
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Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid Cora Cooks Pancit

Filipino Kids Books 3

Ahoy-hoy readers, have you eaten today?

I feel like I just ate a bunch and could still go for some pudding. Anyway, here’s my latest installment of Filipino kids books reviews. Watch my video because my mother interrupts! 

Filipino Friends

This book is a wealth of information. There’s a main storyline but also a bunch of words with Tagalog-English translations and even a game and song. My main issue is that there’s an whiff of bougieness about it. It’s like it’s in the view of a Fil-Am that doesn’t maintain any relationship with the Philippines. Everybody is hella light-skinned. I suppose it’s ok for a child because of the info otherwise, but please make sure it’s not their sole link to the culture.

Is It a Mermaid?

This is a very cute book that’s almost basically a picture book. It’s about a dugong that thinks it’s a mermaid. I thought that might be a metaphor for something, but I would not interpret it that way. There’s a little boy that tries to keep telling the dugong that she is a sea cow, not a mermaid. She cries, and he feels bad, but she pretty immediately forgives him. I would prefer to show kids to mind their own business or a portrayal where someone who was possibly bullied not have to immediately forgive their bully, but like I said, maybe just don’t think about this one, lol.

On the back, it also says that it takes place in the Philippines, but there is no indication of that in the story.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Now this is how one writes a book not about a culture necessarily but incorporating it into a regular story. I think this is a perfect example of what people talk about when they say, “Oh, I wish I had this when I was a kid!” There’s none of this hand-wringing or sad desperation for acceptance from white supremacy which can be understandable. I can totally empathize with experiencing racism and wanting respect and wanting the world to see that injustice. But we deserve an alternative. We deserve stories that don’t center around it and use just being able to thrive and enjoy ourselves.

Cora’s older siblings are out for the day, so her mother asks her what she’d like to do. She’d like to make the noodle dish, pancit. Preciously, her concerns are whether she’ll be able to do older jobs like cut vegetables and if the family will like her cooking. It even comes with the recipe!


Title Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid? Cora Cooks Pancit
Author Liana Romulo Candy Gourlay Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Illustrator Corazon Dandan-Albano Francesca Chessa Kristi Valiant
Publisher Tuttle Otter-Barry Shen’s
Year 2006 2018 2009
Language English w/ Tagalog keywords English English
Level 2nd-3rd grade 2nd-3rd grade 2nd-3rd
Recommended eh it’s ok yes!

Filipino Friends Is It a Mermaid Cora Cooks Pancit

Check out my previous posts!
Review 1 feat. Hand Over Hand, Masayang Magtanim, Kayang-kaya!
Review 2 feat. Abadeha, Lakas the Manilatown Fish, An Eagle’s Feather

I’m always looking for recommendations.
Thanks for reading!

Filipino kids books

Filipino Kids Books 2

Filipino childrens books

Hey hey readers, have you been working out?

I can’t believe I’m actually following up on a series. It’s true that I technically have an unboxing tag, but I don’t continuously subscribe to services, so it’s not that consistent. I also made a What I’m Reading series to have a collection of notes from other books I read, but those aren’t as easily read! 

Well, I was so excited when I thought of this idea that I sent out all the requests to the library and didn’t really realize that yeah, I’d get 12 books at the same time 😅 So hopefully, I’ll have a good few more posts, and I’m not jinxing it. I’ve also deiced that I might as well blog about these as well, or at least as I do with my other videos of being supplementary to this blog. ☺️

Abadeha: The Philippine Cinderella

The subtitle pretty much says it all of this Myrna J. de la Paz book. I don’t know if Abadeha is a common tale in the Philippines, but I like that it’s not exactly the same as Cinderella. There is actually a pre-colonial setting with datu and babaylan which I just happen to learn about! I absolutely love the illustrations of the dress of that time. This book is in English.

Lakas and the Manilatown Fish

This Anthony D. Robles book claims to be the first English-Tagalog story set in the U.S. It is about a boy that meets a talking fish that leads him across the historic Manilatown in San Francisco. Personally, it was more interesting to read the history note at the end about the 1977 International Hotel demonstration, but I can totally understand that may not be the story for kids. But I’m also not a fan of giving kids the impression that it’s funny to kiss strangers and take their clothes.

Filipino kids booksAdditionally, there’s kind of a weird refrain, mostly used by the fish, of “Hoy, hoy, (hey hey) Pilipino boy!” IDK, maybe if you’re from a place with an actual Manilatown and people that have your back, greeting each other with your ethnicity might be cool beans. But I did not! And just feel like it’s not a stranger’s business. It’s one thing if you are someone looking for community– I am!!– but that is not the situation a lot of the time for people of color but another experience of a stranger projecting their ideas onto you. And depending on what they are, it can feel and be unsafe. I just want everyone to know that just so that they know they shouldn’t have to feel obligated to accept this.

An Eagle’s Feather

Now this is what I call a story! Apparently based on a story by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Minfong Ho tells the tale of a Philippine Eagle named Kalayaan that gets shot and taken to a sanctuary by a little boy and his father. I liked it so much that I don’t even want to spoil it, but I will say that I was honestly crying??? It even has some facts about the Philippine Eagle and Philippine Eagle Foundation. The illustrations are very good as well.


Title Abadeha Lakas & the Manilatown Fish An Eagle’s Feather
Author Myrna J. de la Paz Anthony D. Robles Minfong Ho
Illustrator Youshan Tang Carl Angel Frances Alvarez
Language English English & Tagalog English
Level 3rd grade? 3rd grade? grade 1-2
Recommended Meh :  😭 Yes

Check out my first installment featuring Masayang Magtanim!, Kayang-Kaya! and Hand Over Hand.

Filipino childrens books

New Series! Filipino Kids Books

Kayang Masayang Hand

Howdy folks, how are you?

I’m sure that somewhere among my Internet channels and platforms I mentioned that I’m going to be an aunt! Truthfully, it’s so weird that I get a title as if I had any input into the matter 😅 But since I am getting it, I’m going to utilize it! It takes a village, right? Not just to help out when a baby’s born but continuing raising them and protecting, not just from physical danger but other harm.

There is a lot of push nowadays for diverse books for good reason. I’d previously never read a book with a Filipino character in it. As a child, I was desperate for this and didn’t even realize it. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference in something like a counting book, but as I began to read on my own, one does book reports, school projects that touch upon identity. One begins the search for the people with whom they choose to surround themselves, feel safe with and develop their worldview.

This is why I’ve decided to seek out Filipino kids books to send the new family. I don’t think that “representation” is a complete solution, so I’m not just sending whatever I find straight to them. I’m going to try to get whatever I can through my local (and not-so-local) library and review them! And then send ones that I like if I can.

Filipino childrens books

Masayang Magtanim! (Happy Planting!)

This is a very cute cardboard book by Gelai Manabat that really only has 4 pages with words. It is about what a small child needs to grow their mungo beans and is in Tagalog. The publisher is Adarna House which is in the Philippines so it may be difficult to find a copy outside. I couldn’t find one online, but my dad says searching for Adarna on eBay can help.

Kayang-kaya! (You Can Do It!)

This is another cardboard Adarna House book. It is by Alyssa Judith Reyes and about kids asking themselves if they can do various things and eventually confirming oo, kaya ko na! It even has a little shoelace on the back so readers can do one of the activities the kids do in the book. I’d actually like to get this book, but again it’s hard to acquire. Characters in both books are very light-skinned especially the dad in Kayang.

Hand Over Hand

When I had the idea for this series, I didn’t set any parameters which is how I ended up with this book by Alma Fullerton whom I don’t think is Filipino. It is about a little girl overcoming notions of what girls can/can’t do, in this case: fishing. I didn’t grow up in the Philippines, so I don’t know cultural specifics. My mom has told me her dad told her to behave in such a way, but I don’t know if there’d be such a reaction for fishing.

I’m just very defensive about a white Canadian veering into “Look how backward these little brown people are!” territory. Additionally, you end up with the little girl saying things like, “posh,” but at least the author uses “Lolo.” It almost ends up being kind of patronizing like: they literally call the girl a fisherwoman like it’s a good thing. Just say fisher!


Title Masayang Magtanim! Kayang-Kaya! Hand Over Hand
Author Gelai Manabat Alyssa Judith Reyes Alma Fullerton
Publisher Adarna House Ardana House Second Story Press
Language Tagalog Tagalog English
Level pre-school pre-school grades 2-3
Recommended if easily accessible yes! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

for the sake of me not knowing what real reading levels are, pre-school is about ages 0-5
grades 2-3 are about ages 7 – 10

Have you read any of these or have any suggestions?