First PH book fest for children to honor late artist-writer Jose Aruego

First PH book fest for children to honor late artist-writer Jose Aruego

/ 12:02 PM September 28, 2022
Left photo, one of Jose Aruego's books; Aruego and his son; Giovanni Ortega will read from Juan and the Asuang

Left photo, one of Jose Aruego’s books; Aruego and his son; Giovanni Ortega will read from Juan and the Asuangs. CONTRIBUTED

SAN PEDRO, California – For Filipino American History Month, Philippine Expressions Bookshop is hosting the First Philippine Festival of Books for Children on Saturday, Oct.1, from 1 to 6 the store, 479 W. Sixth Street, Suite 105, San Pedro.

The bookshop is located in the historic Arts District of San Pedro, the Port City of Los Angeles. The mini-Festival, the first of its kind to be held in the U.S., will honor author and illustrator Jose Aruego (1932-2012), who paved the way for Filipino American children’s book authors and illustrators in the U.S.


The success of his first self-illustrated book, The King and His Friends, published in 1969 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, launched his writing career and landed him illustration jobs. This was immediately followed by his first Filipino tale, Juan and the Asuangs, which received the Outstanding Picture Book of the Year designation by New York Times in 1970.

A number of his subsequent titles received similar distinctions. In collaboration with his former wife, Ariane Dewey, he contributed to the texts of many popular authors, including Robert Kraus and Mirra Ginsburg, with over 70 titles that bear his witty and imaginative characters.


Participating authors in the First Philippine Festival of Books for Children. CONTRIBUED

Books illustrated by Jose Aruego will be exhibited at the festival, and his Philippine tale, Juan and the Asuangs will be told by multidisciplinary performer and FilAm Arts Teatro Artistic Director Giovanni Ortega.

Twelve Filipino/Filipino American children’s book authors will also be featured: Marielle Atanacio, author and illustrator of Who Turned on the Sky; Tracy Badua, Freddie vs the Family Curse; Annie Cheng, Nurse Mommies are the Best and Nurse Ube Sings Karaoke; Jenn Estacio, Buko; Jocelyn Francisco, PhD, Hay Bahay, the latest of her Filipino first language series; Zachlewis B Maravilla, A Splendor Adventure; Dan Manalang, Ambrosia; Leslie V Ryan, I am Flippish!; Rowena Similar, Rom-rom Counts to Ten; Michelle Sterling, When Lola Visits; Jennifer Suzara Cheng, Tide Pool Adventure and Ocean Adventure. Serving as Master of Ceremonies is Marylaine Viernes, author of Bakey-Wakey Little Baby.

Guests can meet the authors, enjoy book talks and book signings, as well as music, games and other activities for kids.

The Community Partners for the Festival are Asian Journal and Random Length News, a community paper based in San Pedro, CA. Community supporters include:, FilAm Arts, Filipino American Chamber of Commerce – Greater Los Angeles, Filipino Cultural School, Jun Aglipay, Fred Docdocil, Prosy Dela Cruz, Carol Ojeda-Kimbrough, Giovanni Ortega, and Mark Pulido.

The Festival is part of the ongoing community outreach program of the bookshop to increase mainstream America’s awareness of the Filipino presence in the U.S.

Linda Nietes-Little, owner and founder of the bookshop established in 1984 says, “It is also my hope that these authors and many more who will join their ranks in the near future will continue the work that Jose Aruego had started, and put Philippine-related stories for young children in the literary map of the United States.”

The festival is Nietes-Little’s final tribute to the Fil-Am community as she is retiring on December 31, 2022 after 38 years of service to the Fil-Am community and Filipinos in the diaspora.,

Visit the online bookshop: http://www.philippinebookshopcom Email: [email protected] Tel Nos: 310-514-9139 Cell and 310-548-8148 landline. During this pandemic, the physical bookshop is open only on Saturdays from 2:00 – 6:0 0pm and by appointment.

Subscribe to our newsletters! Get updates right into your inbox

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: Filipino artists
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.