FROM MANILA WITH LOVE - Now a Bilingual Edition with Glossary and Reader's Guide
First released in 2015, From Manila With Love tells the story of a young girl who accompanies her Filipina mother to Manila for the first time. Readers will be charmed by her delightful, unexpected discoveries—from arriving in a sticky-hot airport to meeting relatives face-to-face to sitting down to a splendid table of native dishes and—best of all, meeting the grandmother who has loved her through years of letter-writing and sending pasalubongs. Told in rhyming verse accompanied by picturesque illustrations, it is a story that tenderly captures the incomparable joy of the balikbayan experience. Its brand new 32-page edition now comes with a glossary and translation in Filipino.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Over ten years ago at a hotel lobby in San Francisco, Tahanan Books’ publisher, Reni Roxas, met a then unknown author who wanted to pitch her manuscript for a children’s book.
“I remember she excused herself to go to the bathroom, and when she returned she asked to read her story out loud to me instead,” Reni recalls. “It was like listening to an audio book and gave me an unexpectedly delicious feeling when I heard the words. I first experienced From Manila with Love through my ears, not my eyes. So the feeling of “hugot” —that yearning for home—was more palpable.
I thought Amy’s story encapsulated what it must feel like to be a young person from abroad who comes to visit the homeland of her parents, the Philippines, for the first time. When you read From Manila with Love, you relive the curiosity, nostalgia, and reunion euphoria of a Filipino balikbayan family.”
Amy Luna Capelle wrote the original version out of frustration. She hoped to read warm and touching stories about the Philippines with her then-young
son, but there were so few. “My goal was to joyfully share the love I have for our family in the Philippines and nurture pride in our heritage.”
To illustrate, Tahanan approached award-winning book designer, Auri Asuncion Yambao. Her knowledge of the country had such rich specificity and Reni felt she had inherent world-building skills to envision the heartwarming story.
Auri shared, “I remember being excited to recreate the days when walking around Manila and the nearby provinces was experienced by kids not just by joining school field trips. Before malls were built, Intramuros and Luneta were our weekend hangouts. Lunch treats were not the fast, convenient types. After church on Sundays, I looked forward to being treated to my favorite lumpiang shanghai, camaron rebosado, and pancit canton in Binondo. So much in the manuscript was so real to me. And the charm of growing up in Manila was something
I longed to share not just with Filipino kids who grew up abroad but also for the young ones who grew up here trapped in concrete jungles and the digital world.”
A BRAND NEW EDITION
When the time came to reprint the book, Tahanan took the opportunity to include the translation in Filipino by Cecilia Ochoa. And by expanding
the book to 32 pages, enough space accommodated new features. Amy explains, “We were hoping to make the book more accessible to non-Filipino speakers so that anyone could read the book, even without a background in Filipino culture. Librarians and teachers especially were interested in using it in their classrooms. Having the glossary, pronunciation guide, and discussion questions makes it that much easier to base a story hour or lesson around the book.
Auri also added, “Parents reading the book with their kids will have a chance to discuss their own experiences and pass on the legacy of being Filipino to the next generation. I can see the book being even more relevant to kids of today who are confined to the boundaries of their homes and digital interaction during the pandemic. This book offers a way for them and their parents to appreciate and keep alive our culture and heritage.”
“Hardly a day goes by when I’m not reminded that Filipinos are scattered all over the globe. While the pandemic has restricted worldwide travel,” Reni concludes, “books can serve as passports, too. You can visit the Philippines in your mind and heart with this book.”
From Manila With Love may be a picture book made for children, but in its pages is a story that will surely resonate with Filipino families, wherever they may be in the world.
THE BOOK CREATORS
As a child, American-born Amy Luna Capelle saw her grandparents in the Philippines only a handful of times. Her Lola Conching bridged the vast distance between them through yearly birthday letters and native biscuits, sent with love from Mindanao. Whenever he visited the United States, Amy’s Lolo José brought the Philippines to her in the form of delicious dried mangoes. Now, Amy spends her time helping children embrace their cultures, Filipino or otherwise, by sharing tales, heroes, and histories that reflect their heritage.
Amy lives in Southern California, USA, with her husband and their three mango-loving boys. This is her first book.
Philippine-born and raised Auri Asuncion Yambao is a multi-awarded designer of children’s books and children’s book illustrator. Her picture book TAKBO! won the 2018 National Children’s Book Award. In addition, she has worked with Tahanan Books on illustrating BANDILA: The Story of the Philippine Flag, SAYA SAYA: A Book of Homonyms, SARI-SARI: A Book of Double Words and also colorized (with her sister Mary Grace Asuncion) José Rizal’s fable The Monkey and the Turtle.
Auri’s father, Rafael Asuncion, designed and illustrated Philippine bills, coins, and stamps while her mother owned a native handicrafts store. A fond childhood memory is of her grandmother, a buntal hat weaver, riding a bus from Baliuag, Bulacan, to Quezon City (a journey of about 30 miles, or 47 km), just to surprise her with a handwoven hat with a pink ribbon!
Auri lives in Quezon City, Philippines, with her husband and their three children.
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