In this digital age, it would be easy to assume that children’s books are slowly fading into obscurity. But we are happy to report, Filipino children’s books continue to flourish.
Filipino publishers have set the bar quite high for themselves with a diverse selection of unique and engaging books that even grown-ups enjoy. We’ve narrowed them down to our top 20 favorites. All titles listed are proudly written, illustrated and published by Filipinos.
BOOKS FOR 0-4 YEARS OLD
1. Pagtulog Na, Nene (Php100)
Illustrator: Hermes Alegre / Publisher: Tahanan Books / Language: Hiligaynon & English / Format: Softcover
Would you like to sing your baby a Filipino lullaby but find yourself at a loss for lyrics? Try this classic Hiligaynon lullaby that is matched with stunning illustrations of mother and child by multi-awarded artist Hermes Alegre. With English translations and music sheets included, it's a great book for new moms. (Click here to listen to the rendition of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.)
2. Masayang Magtanim! (Php199)
Illustrator: Gelai Manabat / Publisher: Adarna House / Language: Filipino / Format: Board Book
A charming little picture book that shows a young child planting and caring for monggo seeds until it is big enough to harvest for a healthy family meal. This book will definitely bring out your little toddler’s green thumb!
3. Tagu-Taguan (Php295)
Author & Illustrator: Jomike Tejido / Publisher: Tahanan Books / Language: Filipino & English / Format: Board Book
The board book edition of the 2010 award-winning original title was made specifically for little hands, allowing toddlers to learn about insects and counting one to 10 in English and Filipino. This is perfect for reading when you’re out in the garden where your little one may catch a glimpse of real creepy crawlies!
4. Kayang-Kaya! (Php350)
Author: Alyssa Judith Reyes / Illustrator: Liza Flores / Publisher: Adarna House / Language: Filipino / Format: Board Book / Award: 2016 Manguna sa Unang Pagbasa, Winner, Short Story Writing Contest
Encourage your little one's independence with this little board book. The back cover also doubles as a lacing activity board, perfect for developing fine motor skills to prepare your little ones for holding pencils and writing.
BOOKS FOR TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS
5. Bee Helpful (Php100)
Author: Joyce Piap-Go / Illustrator: Maria Cristina Sison / Publisher: Hiyas / Language: English / Format: Softcover
Dee the Bee shows little kids how to help mom, dad, teacher and everyone around them. The seventh installment to the very popular Dee the Bee series, they're little guide books for life, everything we parents want to teach our kids — only Dee the Bee is way more fun than we'll ever Bee!
6. Tara, Laro Tayo! (Php120)
Illustrator: Elbert Or / Publisher: Tahanan Books / Language: Filipino & English / Format: Softcover
A bright and colorful concept book that teaches counting one to 10 and Filipino games in English and Filipino. This is exactly what our children's generation needs!
7. Bantay, The Cat Who Wants to Be a Dog (Php130)
Author: Giona Mae Reyes / Illustrator: Alvin Gale Tan / Publisher: Kahel Press / Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover
The perfect storybook for pet lovers, this thrilling tale encourages children to embrace their individuality as all of us are blessed with unique gifts.
8. Claysaurus: The Little Dino (Php150)
Author & Illustrator: Jomike Tejido / Publisher: Anvil Publishing / Language: English / Format: Softcover
A new series that encourages tots to Read AND Play, capturing their attention from start to end. Children effortlessly learn to follow instructions, concepts such as colors and counting; and work on their motor skills using clay. Claysaurus comes in four fun titles and kids absolutely love all of them!
9. Why is a Pig’s Nose Flat? (Php165)
Author: Mary Ann Ordinario / Illustrator: Beth Parrocha / Publisher: ABC Educational Development Center / Language: English / Format: Softcover
Though seemingly mundane, this story of why a pig’s nose is flat is a personal favorite. It’s an amazing tale with an important lesson: “Opportunity knocks only once. Grab it while you still can.”
10. Si Jan, Ang Mausisang Pawikan (Php175)
Author & Illustrator: Jomike Tejido / Publisher: Anvil Publishing / Language: Filipino & English / Format: Softcover
Jan is a little sea turtle that's just hatched on the beach and his Mama guides him to the sea. Jan is enchanted with everything he seas on the way to the water, he’s cute and curious just like our little tots. This is one of four new titles of Anvil Science and we love all of them because each story comes with fun facts about animals found in the Philippines.
11. Amina and the City of Flowers (Php200)
Author: Christina Newhard / Illustrator: Robbie Bautista / Publisher: Sari-Sari Storybooks / Language: English & Chavacano / Format: Softcover
Amina is from the Yakan weaving village in Zamboanga, Mindanao. One day, her mama invites her to weave her own story. Amina goes out into the city to find inspiration and this becomes a beautiful tour of Zamboanga. This is one of three enchanting stories by Sari-Sari Storybooks that hope to inspire love for Filipino culture and diversity. The first three books are stories in Chavacano, Ivatan and Cebuano with more titles coming in 2018!
12. Duck and Croc’s Magnificent Race (Php250)
Author & Illustrator: Robert Magnuson / Publisher: Anvil Publishing / Language: English / Format: Softcover
A duck and a crocodile decide to race and it’s the most exciting race you’ll ever witness! This book will have you and your kids in stitches while learning about different modes of transportation. Duck and Croc is a hilarious new series that you'll want to collect. Available in three titles, each book has wonderful lessons for the whole family.
BOOKS FOR ADVANCED READING (Best read with parents)
13. Gardener of the Sea: A Story About Nida Calumpong (Php120)
Author: Didith T. Rodrigo / Illustrator: Corrine Golez / Publisher: Bookmark, Inc. / Language: English / Format: Softcover
Hilconida ‘Nida’ P. Calumong is a professor of Biology in Silliman University, Dumaguete City. She has done over 30 years of research on algae, seagrass, mangroves, giant clams and sea hares, making her a globally-recognized specialist in marine botany and coastal resource management. Her story is one of 10 titles in the Women of Science series by Bookmark. They are all real-life stories of internationally-renowned Filipina scientists, and the series hopes to inspire young girls (and boys) to enter the fields of Science, Technology, Environment, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM).
14. Dyaran! Ang Kambal na Hebigat! (Php120)
Author: Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D. / Illustrator: Mike Amante / Publisher: Hiyas / Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover
Childhood obesity is now prevalent in the Philippines and followers of the bestselling Tito Dok series have requested for this to be the 21st topic. This story explains why we need to encourage our children to eat healthy and engage in physical activities even while they are very young. Children who love to eat junk food may look cute because they’re chubby, but it comes with health risks and awareness is key to the solution.
15. Where Did All the Fireflies Go? (Php130)
Author: Renee Juliene Karunungan / Illustrator: Irish Pearl Flores / Publisher: Kahel Press / Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover
This is our favorite environmental storybook for 2017. Fireflies are harder to find these days because of pollution and climate change. It is a fact that we need to share with our children. They are never too young to learn about helping to care for the environment. With your guidance, they can already make a difference in their own little ways.
16. Ang Kaibigan Kong si Mabini (Php135)
Author: Becky Bravo / Illustrator: Aaron Asis / Publisher: Adarna House/ Language: Filipino / Format: Softcover
Our favorite historical fiction in Adarna’s Bayani series, this is the story of Apolinario Mabini as a young student. He was quiet, diligent, and highly intelligent even as a young boy. His friends admired these traits, which allowed him to become one of the great heroes of Philippine history.
17. Cashaysayan: A History of Philippine Money (Php195)
Authors: Michelline Suarez, Joonee Garcia and Divine Reyes / Illustrator: Benjor Catindig / Publisher: Tahanan Books / Language: English / Format: Softcover
This is the much-awaited Book 2 of the 2016 bestseller A Lolong Time Ago: A Prehistory of the Philippines. It is a wealth of information (pun intended) as it’s all about money, money, money! The makers of Halo-Halo Histories have remained true to their commitment to make Philippine history fun and exciting even for children. Preschoolers may not yet appreciate the heavy text, but they’ll love the hilarious illustrations.
18.Cooking 101: For Kids and Kids-At-Heart (Php195)
Author: Atty. Golda Lynn C. Zamuco, J.D. / Illustrator: Giona Mae Reyes and Maria Soledad Racho / Publisher: Kahel Press / Language: English / Format: Softcover
Do you have a little culinary master in the house? This book teaches kids (and/or adults!) the basics of cooking complete with yummy recipes. Two spoons up for this comprehensive and fun essential life skill guide.
19. Dump Truck in My Heart (Php250)
Author: Grace D. Chong / Illustrator: Dominic Agsaway / Publisher: Hiyas / Language: English & Filipino / Format: Softcover
Losing people we love is quite difficult to explain to young children, making this book very helpful. Grieving sometimes leaves a heavy feeling in our hearts that just won't go away no matter how long it's been; it feels like there's a dump truck in our heart. This moving story shares the wisdom of celebrating the life of a dearly departed. Even if they are no longer in our midst, they will forever be in our hearts because of all that they've shared with us in their lifetime.
20. Intramuros The Walled City (Php295)
Illustrator: Adrian Panadero / Publisher: Tahanan Books / Language: English / Format: Cut-and-Build Book
This is a beautiful craft book that allows you to cut-and-build your very own model of the Walled City of Intramuros circa 1800. Using only this book, scissors and regular glue, your 3-D replica becomes both a stunning display and a very interesting history lesson. This is ideal for both children and adults who love getting busy with their hands. It can be a family activity, a class project, play time with friends or an independent project.
All books available at Pumplepie Books