Review: Tahanan Books

For those of you who don’t already know, I am Filipino and I was born in the Philippines. Growing up, my sister and I spoke Tagalog and Ilocano. I lived in the Philippines for only a short time, 5 or 6 years. We moved to Singapore and we started speaking more English. We eventually only spoke English. Now I only understand Tagalog and Ilocano. I speak words and phrases here and there but it’s totally lost in me now. I’m starting to learn more here and there but what’s hindering me is my laziness to commit. Now that I’ve started a family, I want to be able to bestow upon my daughter the gift of the Philippine language, culture and customs.

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I reached out to Tahanan Books because they aim to provide Filipino families with books that teach our children about the Philippines. It’s important to me that Zoey is exposed to these books because not many writers here in America write about Filipino children. The Asian kids in books are typically Chinese or Japanese or Korean. So it’s refreshing to see Filipino children as the main characters in these books.

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Tahanan is a word that means “home.” Their tagline reads, “Where the love of reading begins”. I think that it’s important that we buy Filipino books for our kids because no one else is going to teach them about our country. We are responsible for bringing the Philippines to them. And these books can help us do that.

I received four titles from Tahanan Books, Alpabetong Filipino, Mamemi-Mumu, A For Adobo and Philippine Pictionary. I chose these books because they contain the basics that build a good foundation of Filipino knowledge.

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Alpabetong Filipino is a colorful take on the alphabet. It’s written by Nicanor G. Tiongson  and illustrated by Crispin Dayao, Jr.  Instead of the typical A is for Apple, B is for Book, the author replaces them with Filipino words like Adobo and Bakya. The words in the book are the items, foods and animals you would typically see in the Philippines. The artwork in the book is amazing and intricate. I love how everything is drawn. The images are bright and vibrant.

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The Philippine Pictionary gives children their first 100 Tagalog words. It’s an illustrated version of a dictionary. This book is illustrated by Lyra Abueg Garcellano. I like how this book is set up like a Hidden Pictures game. This is a great learning tool for kids. I can already see myself say the word in Tagalog and asking Zoey to point to where it is in the picture. This colorful version of a dictionary is amazing and I can’t wait to teach Zoey these words.

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A for Adobo, by Nelson Agustin, is a great way to introduce Filipino food to kids, aside from feeding it to them. When people ask me what Filipino food is, I always mention Adobo to them. It is sometimes hard for people to picture what Filipino food is. It is a mixture of many different influences. It is an amalgamation of foods that have passed through and touched the palates of the Filipino people. The realistic pictures are great because it will help children recognize the food in real life. It is important to teach kids about different types of Filipino food because food is an important part of culture. Every celebration revolves around food. Even the sad moments in life involves food. Food brings people together. Food allows people to distinguish themselves from others. It becomes a part of who we are as a people.

Besides the amazing pictures, there’s also a description of what the food is in the back. It helps me too because I don’t see these foods very often in America. We don’t cook some of these foods at home so the glossary in the back helps a lot.

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Ma Me Mi Mumu!, written by Jomike Tejido is a book about a little girl who is afraid of the creatures that go bump in the night. It’s a book of taking control of your fears. I love how Tejido features monsters from Filipino folklore. This book is easy for a Filipino child to relate to. In the back, Tejido explains who the monsters are. This book brings back memories from my own childhood and I hope that this book will be a part of Zoey’s.

I highly recommend these books for every Filipino family. They are great additions to any child’s library. I can’t wait to get more books for her! You can purchase these books on their website here: Tahanan Books.

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