Celebrate Filipino American Heritage Month
October is Filipino American History Month. My favorite way to celebrate is by sharing children's books and read aloud stories with Filipino representation. As I am half Filipina myself, I am always on the lookout for children's books with Filipino representation and am excited to be able to share them with my own little one.
To help you curate your own shelves with Filipino representation this month, and all year long, I’ve curated this collection of 15 of my favorite Filipino children’s books: 5 fiction books, 5 nonfiction books, and 5 language-learning/ bilingual Filipino children’s books. Plus, scroll down to check out MaiStoryBook YouTube’s Filipino Interactive Read Alouds.
Head to MaiStoryBook’s blog for the full collection of Filipino Children’s Books.
Click on the Title to add the book to your own collection, or check out the Full Filipino Children’s Books List Here.
5 Fiction Children’s Books
Maribel's Year by Michelle Sterling // Celebrate the special connection between father and daughter in this gorgeously evocative picture book, recounting the year a little girl and her mother spend in America while waiting for her father to join them from the Philippines.
Dancing the Tinikling by Bobbie Peyton, Illustrated by Diobelle Cerna // Lola invites Jojo to dance the tinikling with her but he trips while trying. Lola dances effortlessly between the bamboo poles, representing their American and Filipino cultures. With Lola’s encouragement, Jojo finally masters the dance and discovers the joy of connecting with his heritage.
Dancing Hands: A Story of Friendship in Filipino Sign Language by Joanna Que & Charina Marquez, Illustrated by Fran Alvarez // Sam is curious about her new neighbors’ hand movements and learns that they are communicating through Filipino Sign Language. With the help of her new friend Mai, Sam learns some signs and makes a new best friend.
Holding On by Sophia N. Lee, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas // As her Lola's memory begins to fade, a young girl in the Philippines uses music to connect with her grandmother.
Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore // Cora and her Mama share their Filipino heritage in the kitchen, coming together to cook a delicious dish of panic. Includes a panic recipe in the back!
5 Nonfiction Children’s Books
Filipino Celebrations by Liana Romulo // Learn the history of each holiday, its cultural influences, the varied ways in which people celebrate in different regions of the Philippines, special customs and food, key words and phrases (in English and Tagalog), and more. Includes games, songs, and other activities for littles to join in on the festive fun!
All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts, and Games for Kids by Gidget Roceles Jimenez // Join three cousins, Mary, Jaime, and Ari, as they journey across the Philippines. Visit their homes, school , favorite places, their families, and more! Learn about different ethnic groups and different cultures, languages, and traditions in the Philippines.
Maria Orosa: Freedom Fighter, Scientist, and Inventor from the Philippines by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco // This biography children's book chronicles the remarkable journey of Maria Orosa, a trailblazing female scientist. After her studies in food science in the United States, she returned to a war-ravaged Philippines, where she ingeniously developed highly nutritious food solutions to aid her nation during a period of dire need.
Gabriela Silang by Robin Aquilizan & Tata Ponsi Alfonso (Bayani Art) // Filipino children's book biographies are rare, so I appreciate this vibrantly illustrated book geared towards little learners. This children’s book takes place in the Philippines and follows the life of Gabriela Silang. The book narrates Gabriela’s emergence to becoming a leader for her people after the devastating loss of her husband, Diego Silang. A coloring book is also available
Lapu Lapu by Robin Aquilizan & Tata Ponsi Alfonso (Bayani Art) // Another stunning Filipino biography for children with bright full spread illustrations. Lapu Lapu is a children’s book that takes place in the pre colonial Philippines. The story follows the hero, Datu Lapu Lapu and his journey becoming a warrior to protect his tribe from outside invaders. A coloring book is also available.
5 Language-learning/ Bilingual Picture Books
Ay Naku! by Reni Roxas // Ay Naku! is a common Filipino expresson used to convey disappointment, exasperation , or surprised dismay. A little boy's clumsiness frustrates his family in this bilingual book for little learners. With only a word or two per page, this book is a great way to learn basic vocabulary in Tagalog.
MÉME: The Baby Book by Reni Roxas //A sweet bilingual, bedtime book that chronicles a single day in the life of a baby. Méme is a well-worn word passed from parent to child for generations of Filipinos. To this day, there are families who practice this time-honored tradition, when whispering “méme” to an infant meant to give him the best gift of all—the gift of sleep.
Saya Saya: A Book of Homonyms by Auri Asuncion Yambao // Homonyms are words which sound alike or are spelled alike, but have different meanings. In this book Auri Asuncion Yambao unpacks 40 meanings behind 20 words in clever and unexpected ways. Lively illustrations capture little learner's attention in this fun way to learn the language!
500 Words and Pictures: My First Bilingual Visual Dictionary by Fran Ng // This book introduces the young to primary language skills in English and Filipino. From parts of the body to games that children play, this book contains no less than 500 images familiar to the Filipino child.
Sari - Sari: A Book of Double Words by Auri Asuncion Yambao // In Filipino, we repeat words or portions of words to mimic sound, emphasize, intensify, disburse, fasten ideas together, and celebrate plurality. for a wild, circuitous ride—palibot-libot style—through the Filipino language.
Interactive Read Alouds
Plus, read along with MaiStoryBook YouTube for interactive, shared-reading read aloud adventures where I ask questions throughout the story, point out main themes and ideas, and introduce vocabulary to keep little learns engaged and participating throughout the story. Check out these two favorite Filipino Children’s Book Read Alouds below.
I hope you found some reading recommendations to add to your own shelves and share with your littles this Filipino American History Month. Please share any other Filipino titles to add to this themed collection.
*~Also, I’d love to see and hear about your own reading adventures you are having with your little learners, so please share your story times below in the comments ~ Or Tag me on Instagram @MaiStoryBookLibrary , FaceBook , find me on TikTok, or contact me via email . I’d love to hear from you!~*