Fil-Am writers craft books for young readers

Fil-Am writers craft books for young readers

/ 09:14 AM June 30, 2020

Filipino American authors (from left) Janella Angeles, Roshani Chokshi, Laurel Fantauzzo and Lysley Tenorio. CONTRIBUTED

As the second half of 2020 comes into view, parents and educators on the lookout for books for younger readers written by Filipino Americans have some titles to look forward to.

This year, so far, Fil-Am writers have been steadily releasing Young Adult (YA) novels for 13 -year-olds and up and Middle Grade (MG) books for 12-year-olds and younger.


US publishers have been releasing titles written by Filipino authors as well.

Catching up

From January to June, there has been Juleah del Rosario’s “Turtle Under Ice;” Roshani Chokshi’s “Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes” (the third in her Pandava, aka Aru Shah and the End of Time, series, which is under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint; all three covers of which have been illustrated by Filipino artist Abigail Dela Cruz).

Melissa de la Cruz released “The Queen’s Assassin” and “Jo and Laurie.”

Just in May alone, there was Erin Entrada Kelly’s “We Dream of Space,” Mae Respicio’ “Any Day with You;” and Cynthia Salaysay’s “Private Lessons.”

US publishers released books by Filipino authors Rin Chupeco (“Wicked as You Wish”) and Tanya Guerrero (“How to Make Friends with the Sea”).

Books for young ones (and the young once) slated for release in July onward are the following.

Special mentions

Arielle Jovellanos is the illustrator for “Fierce Heroines: Inspiring Female Characters of Pop Culture,” an anthology with 75 profiles from anime, movies, video games, comics, books and television series who encourage readers to be “brave, kind, thoughtful, and powerful.”


Filipino Canadian Roselle Lim’s YA novel “Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop” will also be released in the US by an American publisher.


The Son of Good Fortune

Lysley Tenorio

Between hanging out with his girlfriend Sab in cemeteries and working in spy-themed pizza parlor The Pie Who Loved Me, Filipino American teenager Excel just wants to keep a low-profile so he can keep the secret his mother has revealed to him about their family. A journey offers him new possibilities.

Tenorio previously released the short story collection “Monstress.” Stories from that collection have been adapted for the stage by The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Ma-Yi Theater in New York City. He is a professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Books written by Fil-Am authors (from left) “The Son of Good Fortune,” “My Heart Underwater,” “The Silvered Serpents” and “Where Dreams Descend.”

Where Dreams Descend

Janella Angeles

First book of the Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology. In a cold and crumbling city, magicians compete to be the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, threatened by an unseen danger. As magicians go missing, the powerful Kallia, enigmatic Jack and brooding Demarco are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

Angeles studied Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College and is based in Massachusetts. She honed her writing by “creating glorious Harry Potter fanfiction.”

The Silvered Serpents

Roshani Chokshi

Second book of The Gilded Wolves duology.

Franco-African hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie and his crew, Filipino Spanish historian Enrique; Indian dancer and pastry chef Laila; and Jewish Polish engineer Zofia pursue a dangerous lead that takes them far away from Paris into the icy heart of Russia to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.

Chokshi is also author of The Star-Touched Queen duology and grew up writing Sailor Moon fan fiction. Her “Aru Shah and the End of Time” was recently optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. Chokshi is based in Georgia.

My Heart Underwater

Laurel Fantauzzo

In addition to her father’s accident, after Filipino American Corazon Tagubio’s crush on her teacher Ms. Holden at her Catholic school becomes complicated, she’s banished to her relatives in Manila. She soon discovers how the country that shaped her past might also redefine her future.

Laurel Fantauzzo is the author of “The First Impulse” (2017). She has taught writing and literature at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Yale-National University of Singapore College and Ateneo de Manila University.

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