40 Filipino American Books for Children & Teenagers

with No Comments


Filipino American Books for Children & Teenagers


Highlighting the experiences of Filipino immigrants, Filipino American History Month is celebrated in the United States during the month of October. It commemorates the arrival of the first Filipinos who landed in what is now Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1587. It is also the birth month of Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong.

40 Filipino American Books for Children & Teenagers

Babies & Toddlers

Sleepy Time Philippines: A Good Night Bedtime Rhyme
by M & G Aflague

With lyrical rhyme and soft illustrations, Sleepy Time Philippines sends your child to a sweet slumber on a journey across the islands of the Philippines. Children will enjoy saying good night to buwan the moon, umang the hermit crab, butiki the gecko, and landmarks like the National Museum, Hundred Islands, and Maria Cristina Falls. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers

My First Book of Tagalog Words
by Liana Romulo

“U is for umaga, the end of the night—when Mama kisses me good morning, and dark becomes light.” My First Book of Tagalog introduces preschool children to the Tagalog language in a playful and approachable ABC structure. Children will be delighted by the catchy rhymes and the charming Filipino kids they meet on each page. Includes an introduction to the sounds of Tagalog along with notes on the Filipino language and culture. ~ Asian – Babies & Toddlers



Is it a Mermaid?
by Candy Gourlay

“I AM A BEAUTIFUL MERMAID!” declares the Dugong, and she shows Benji and Bel her mermaid tail (rather big) and her mermaid singing (very bad). Is she really just a “sea-cow” – or could the Dugong be a mermaid after all? Is It A Mermaid? is a sweet and beautifully illustrated story about empathy and understanding. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 25 Multicultural Children’s Books teaching Kindness & Empathy

When Lola Visits
by Michelle Sterling

For one young girl, summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit. Lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake. When Lola Visits is an evocative picture that celebrates the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Hand Over Hand
by Alma Fullerton

Every time Nina asks her Lolo to take her fishing on his old banca boat, he replies: “A boat is no place for a girl.” When Nina promises to bait her own hook and remove her own catch, her grandfather finally relents “just for today.” Much to the amusement of the other fishermen in their village, lolo shows Nina how to jig the lines, set the hook, and pull in a fish. But no one is laughing when Nina brings in the biggest fish of the day! With gentle text and soft illustrations, Hand Over Hand is a sweet story about empowerment and determination. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Filipino Friends
by Liana Romulo

Filipino Friends follows a Filipino-American boy visiting the Philippines for the very first time. Each watercolour illustration is labeled with English words and their Filipino translations and shows readers both the similarities and differences between Western and Philippine lifestyles, from traditions and celebration to food, songs and game. ~ Asian – Preschool

The Story of Nero, The Mexipino Superhero
by Jennifer Mojica Academia

After Mexican/Filipino Nero gets bullied for looking different, he discovers he has superpowers! Nero explores his world and learns to embrace the beauty of his Mexican and Filipino culture through the love of his family, friends, and community. The Story of Nero, The Mexipino Superhero is an empowering story about celebrating your uniqueness. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families // 20 Multicultural Children’s Books about Bullying

Lumpia for Lunch: A Kaiya Story
by Lolette LaCompte

With simple text and adorable illustrations Lumpia for Lunch follows Kaiya and her classmates as they share some traditional Filipino spring rolls for lunch. Lumpia is a favourite street food in the Philippines. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Isdaman: The Little Filipino
by P. & M. Bacera

Dreadful and frightening monsters have come to destroy a small rural village. Only Isdaman, the little Filipino superhero, dares to stand up to them! However, he is just one boy—does he have what it takes to defend the village and bring back the peace? Isdaman: The Little Filipino is an empowering story about a brave young boy who defies all odds. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 30 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring Superheroes


Elementary School

From Manila With Love
by Amy Luna Capelle

What does it mean to “come home” for the first time? With gentle text and soft illustrations, From Manila With Love tenderly captures the incomparable joy of the balikbayan experience. This picture book is sure to resonate with all Filipino children, wherever they may be in the world. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories
by Liana Romulo

Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories presents thirteen well-loved myths and tales from the Philippines, complemented by colourful illustrations. These stories will enchant readers around the world with their wit and charm. Many of the tales have been transmitted from mother to child over centuries, and cover classic childhood themes—such as the forces of good triumphing over evil, children rebelling against evil adults and the weak prevailing over the strong. ~ Asian – Elementary School

When Lola Speaks
by Ren Reyes Dela Cruz

“Beecows and Prench Pries?! Why does Lola say such funny words?” A young boy questions his Filipino Grandmother and her interesting English. Determined to better understand her, he follows his Lola and discovers a new love for language, his family history, and diversity. When Lola Speaks is a colourful story for the families of Filipino immigrants who hope to instill a love for culture in a home away from home. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong
by D. B. Mabalon & G. Romasanta

With engaging illustrations and informative text, Journey for Justice tells the inspiring story of labor leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Larry Itliong. The book highlights farmworkers’ struggles and Larry’s lifelong fight for a farmworkers union, resulting in the United Farm Workers. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Pan de Sal Saves the Day
by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco

Young Filipina Pan de Sal thinks she’s the unluckiest girl in the whole world. Aside from not liking her own name and finding her appearance strange, she doesn’t have all the fancy things her classmates have. She can’t even muster the courage to try out for the Glee Club, even though she has a beautiful voice. But when an unexpected event forces her into the limelight, Pan de Sal finds the confidence to fulfill her dreams. For anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or experienced adversity, award-winning Pan de Sal Saves the Day is a heart-warming story about valuing your own unique qualities. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Willie Wins
by Almira Astudillo Gilles

When Willie has to find a savings bank for a contest at school, his Dad gives him an alkansiya, a bank made out of a coconut shell from the Philippines. He’s been saving it for Willie because of a surprise inside, a treasure Dad got when he was a boy. Willie reluctantly takes the bank to school, knowing he will be teased for it by his classmates. But he also can’t stop wondering what the surprise in his bank will be? Is it really something special? Willie Wins is a touching story of a Filipino American boy who overcomes peer pressure and learns about family love and heritage from his father. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers

Ma-Me-Mi-MuMu! (English and Filipino Edition)
by Jomike Tejido

Ma-Me-Mi-MuMu! is a not-so-scary picture book that casts aswangs (Filipino supernatural creatures) in a fresh and amusing light. Young readers will identify with young Haya Sophia as she overcomes her fear of monsters with the help of her Lolo Nanding. Includes a children’s guide on aswangs.  ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

I am Flippish!
by Leslie V. Ryan

Picture Books about mixed race families: I Am Flippish!

Sean is sad and confused when one of his classmates says that his dad is not his dad because he has a different colour skin. The teacher instructs the children to ask their parents about their ancestry. Sean realises: “I Am Flippish!” and learns to take pride in his biracial Filipino/Irish heritage. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families

Cora cooks Pancit
by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Cora Cooks Pancit

Little Cora is excited: Today she gets the be her mom’s assistant chef! Together they prepare pancit, her favourite Filipino noodle dish. Cora helps with all the grown-up jobs, from shredding the chicken to stirring the noodles carefully in the pot. At dinner time Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking. Cora Cooks Pancit is a delightful picture book that captures the warmth between mother and daughter beautifully. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 14 Multicultural Children’s Books about Mothers

Pedro’s Yo-yos: How a Filipino Immigrant Came to America and Changed the World of Toys
by Roberto Peñas

Pedro Flores was born in the Philippines in 1896, when Spain still ruled his country. After the US took over, Pedro traveled to California, received an education, and looked for ways to go into business for himself. Then he remembered a toy from his childhood called the yo-yo, which means come back in Tagalog. With some blocks of wood and a little string, Pedro created his first model yo-yo and practiced tricks to show it off. When children saw the yo-yo in action, it became an instant hit! Pedro’s Yo-Yos is the lively story of one immigrant’s way to his American dream. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel /Si Lakas at ang Makibaka Hotel
by Anthony Robles

Multicultural Children's Books about the Power of Community: Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel

Lakas is intrigued when he hears drumming and singing in his neighbourhood. It comes from the residents of the Makibaka Hotel who are about to be evicted because the hotel is being sold. Soon Lakas leads his friends in a loud and joyful protest full of tapping, singing, and laughter. Inspired by the successful resistance of the residents of the Trinity Plaza Apartments in San Francisco, Laka and the Makibaka Hotel is an inspiring story about the power of community, brought to life by vibrant illustrations. Bilingual edition (English and Tagalog). ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 12 Multicultural Children’s Books about the Power of Community

Filipino Celebrations: A Treasury of Feasts and Festivals
by Liana Romulo

In the Philippines, people love to celebrate—holidays are filled with music and dancing, sometimes with colourful costumes, and always with great food! Rich with detailed watercolours and cultural flavour, Filipino Celebrations: A Treasury of Feasts and Festivals teaches children about the history of each holiday, its cultural influences, special customs and food. Games, songs, and other activities invite young readers to join in the fun. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Corazon Aquino
by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Little Cory was a shy, studious child with a great sense of justice. As a young woman, she felt compelled to speak out against the unjust leader who was ruining her country. Showing bravery, reliability, and honesty, Corazon led the revolution that ended the dictator’s rule and went on to become the president of the Philippines. Part of the best-selling Little People, Big Dreams series, Corazon Aquino is a moving picture about the first female president of the Philippines. Includes a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the politician’s life. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models

Tales of Long Ago in the Philippines
by Maximo D Ramos

Tales of Long Ago in the Philippines is a collection of 37 myths, legends, and folktales from around the Philippines that showcase the rich and diverse cultural identity throughout the archipelago. The book includes some illustrations, making it a wonderful collection to share with children of Filipino ancestry, or anyone interested in learning about different cultures. ~ Asian – Elementary School

All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids
by Gidget Roceles Jimenez

All About the Philippines takes children on an incredible journey across the colorful island nation of the Philippines with Mary, Jaime, and Ari—three Filipino cousins who look entirely different and yet are the best of friends. You’ll visit their homes, their schools, their families, their favourite places, and much more. Great for classroom use! ~ Asian – Elementary School

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
by Erin Entrada Kelly

8-year-old Marisol Rainey’s mother was born in the Philippines. Marisol’s father works and lives part-time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Marisol has a big imagination and likes to name inanimate objects, like the tree in her backyard she calls Peppina . . . but she’s way too scared to climb it. With black-and artwork and an  irresistible protagonist, Maybe, Maybe Marisol Rainey celebrates the joys of friendship, and the triumph of overcoming your fears. ~ Asian – Elementary School


Middle School

How to Win a Slime War
by Mae Respicio

Alex Manalo and his dad have just moved back to Sacramento to help out with their extended family’s struggling Filipino market. While Alex likes helping in the store, his true passion is making slime. He comes up with his own ingredients, colours, and bumpy or sparkly bits to make his slime truly special. When a new friend encourages Alex to sell his creations at school, a sell-off battle with a girl who previously had a slime-opoly begins. How To Win A Slime War is a fun and engaging story middle-graders everywhere will love. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Everlasting Nora
by Marie Miranda Cruz

After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, the largest shantytown in the Philippines. When her mother disappears one day, Nora is left alone. With help from her best friend Jojo and his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a dangerous journey to find her mom. Everlasting Nora is an uplifting middle grade novel about compassion, resilience and unrelenting hope. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Blackbird Fly
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Asian & Asian American Children's Books: Blackbird Fly

Twelve-year-old Apple grapples with being different from her classmates. She and her mother immigrated from the Philippines when she was little. Her mother still cooks Filipino foods and gives Apple a hard time for becoming “too American.” When her friendships become difficult, Apple turns to music and starts saving for a guitar. Acclaimed Blackbird Fly is a heartfelt story about family, friendship, identity and finding your own way. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related:18 Multicultural Children’s Books about friendship

Bone Talk
by Candy Gourlay

In 1899, 10-year old Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows who his friends and his enemies are. And he knows that he will grow up to become a warrior like his dad. But then strangers arrive: a boy with many languages in his throat, and weird-looking men called Americans who bring war and death. Set during the U.S. invasion of the Philippines, Bone Talk is a powerful coming-of-age story about community and courage. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

Any Day with You
by Mae Respicio

This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they are working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales Kaia learned from her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather,  who lives with her family. When Tatang decides to return home to the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go. Full of Filipino history and tradition, Any Day With You is a heart-warming story about family and change. ~ Asian – Middle School

The Land of Forgotten Girls
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Land Of Forgotten Girls

Abandoned by their father, sisters Soledad and Ming from the Philippines live in Louisiana with their evil stepmother. All they have is the stories their deceased mother used to tell them about the travels of her magical sister. The stories give the sisters hope, but for little Ming they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. Sol needs to find a way to pull her sister back into reality. Mixing fantasy and realism, The Land of Forgotten Girls is an enchanting middle-grade novel about sisterhood, hope and the power of imagination. ~ Asian – Middle School

The House That Lou Built
by Mae Respicio 

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The House That Lou Built

Lou Bulosan-Nelson plans to build a tiny house on land she inherited from her dad. She longs for a place where she can escape her lovable but crazy extended Filipino family. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer. With Lou’s determination and the help of friends and relatives, her dream eventually begins to take shape. The House That Lou Build is a warm coming-of-age story about culture and family, forgiveness and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

My Fate According to the Butterfly
by Gail D. Villanueva

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her―on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why. Her quest to reveal the truth takes Sab and her best friend Pepper on an adventurous journey across Manila. My Fate According To The Butterfly is a vibrant and magical tale of hope. ~ Asian – Middle School

Lola: A Ghost Story
by J. Torres

Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother who used her visions to help those living in her small town in the Philippines. As a child, Jesse heard all sorts of scary stories from his lola, from man-eating ogres in trees to farmhouses haunted by wraiths and pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother’s passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma’s house. Lola: A Ghost Story is a thrilling graphic novel with folkloric elements. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers


High School

Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults
by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

Growing Up Filipinos: Stories for Young Adults is an acclaimed collection of 29 short stories about the experience of being young and Filipino in the Philippines and the United States. Introduced by a thumbnail sketch of the author and a paragraph or two about some element of Filipino culture, each story is assigned to one of five universal themes: family, angst, friendship, love, and home. ~ Asian – High School

Blame This on the Boogie
by Rina Ayuyang

Inspired by the visual richness and cinematic structure of the Hollywood musical, this compelling true story chronicles the adventures of a Filipino American girl born in the decade of disco who escapes life’s hardships and mundanity through the genre’s feel-good song-and-dance numbers. Blame This on the Boogie is a vibrant graphic novel about how Hollywood musicals got one person through school, depression, and the challenges of parenthood. ~ Asian – High School

Enlightenment: Book One of the Bathala Series
by Reno Ursal

When Dorothy Dizon meets the mysterious Adrian Rosario and his alluring knowledge of Filipino history, her life takes an unchartered detour. Dorothy’s true calling is connected to the hidden history of the Philippines, but Adrian reveals little to keep her safe from enemies of his blood-eating secret society. Together, they experience a paranormal journey that brings them to the brink of a new enlightenment. Enlightenment, Book One of The Bathala Series explores the forgotten history of the Philippines through first-person perspectives of Filipino characters who live on the opposite sides of the truth. ~ Asian – High School

Mala & the Mask of Gold
by Jaime Martin Ko Atilano

Deep down, Mala always knew they were different from the other children of Zambo. But it is not until they are visited by Sidapa, the Deity of Death, that they learn why. Siblings Mala and Salem have more potential than meets the eye. As Mala finds themselves a part of an ancient prophecy, Salem must decide if he should follow his dream of becoming a defender of Zambo. They travel together to Isla Sirena where they find that mythical beasts have come to life! Mala & the Mask of Gold is a character-driven, coming-of-age novel that explores siblinghood, identity, and Filipinx mythology. ~ Asian – High School

Related: 75+ Multicultural LGBTQIA Books For Children & Teenagers

Heart and Hero (The New Heroes Series)
by Gianne Rabena

Karla has always loved superheroes. Now if they were only inspiring enough to help her power through her first year at New Hero University, a mysterious school no one seems to know about, tucked away in a city by a mountain. Her crush, Andre, already expected that his Junior year at New Hero University will be anything but static. After being appointed stand-in leader of Blue Team and getting dumped by his long-time girlfriend, he’s at an all-time low. When a new mission involves protecting the prophecy girl, Karla and Andre must work to ensure the safety of all worlds, super or not. Heart and Hero is the first book in the New Heroes Series set in an Alternate Modern Philippines. ~ Asian – High School

Related: 30 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring Superheroes

Patron Saints of Nothing
by Randy Ribay

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder. ~ Asian – High School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Brown Boy Nowhere: A Novel
by Sheeryl Lim

Sixteen-year-old Filipino American Angelo Rivera has been uprooted from his San Diego home to a boring landlocked town in the middle of nowhere. Behind him, ocean waves, his girlfriend, and the biggest skateboarding competition on the California coast. Ahead, flipping burgers at his parents’ new diner and, as the only Asian in his all-white school, being trolled as “brown boy”. But Angelo isn’t alone. Kirsten, a crushable ex-cheerleader and graffiti artist, and Larry, a self-proclaimed invisible band geek, recognize a fellow outsider. Soon enough, Angelo finds himself the leader of their group of misfits. Brown Boy Nowhere is an evocative young adult story about fitting in, bullying, and standing up for yourself. ~ Asian – High School

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books about Bullying

My Heart Underwater
by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

Corazon Tagubio is an outcast at the Catholic school she attends on scholarship. Her crush on her teacher, Ms. Holden, doesn’t help. At home, Cory worries that less-than-perfect grades aren’t good enough for her parents, who already work overtime to support her distant half-brother in the Philippines. After an accident leaves her dad comatose, Cory feels like Ms. Holden is the only person who really understands her. But when a crush turns into something more and the secret gets out, Cory is sent to her relatives in Manila where she discovers how the country that shaped her past might also redefine her future. My Heart Underwater is a heartfelt novel about a Filipina American teen drowning under pressure and learning to trust her heart. ~ Asian – High School

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
by Malaka Gharib

The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. I Was Their American Dream is a triumphant graphic memoir that brings to life the author’s teenage antics, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised.  ~ Asian – High School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA by clicking on the book titles or images.*
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Multicultural Disney ToysMulticultural Games & PuzzlesMulticultural Barbie Dolls
Multicultural Dolls & PuppetsMulticultural Play FiguresMulticultural Arts & Crafts
Multicultural Children's Clothes

Leave a Reply