Filipino American Heritage Month

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our staff suggests books and films written by Filipino authors or featuring Filipino characters.

  • Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen

    2018 by Vargas, Jose Antonio

    Following an undocumented Filipino immigrant in the United States, this memoir explores freedom, citizenship, and "psychological homelessness." Political, personal, and insightful, the author highlights the legal and emotional complexities in the immigration process. Suggested by Elise.

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  • Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo

    2021 by Koy, Jo

    Comedian Jo Koy hits the mark in this honest, sometimes heartbreaking, and often hilarious memoir. For more Jo Koy humor, be sure to see his feature movie Easter Sunday about a Filipino American family gathering for the holiday, with all the laughs and antics you’d expect. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • In the Country: Stories

    2015 by Alvar, Mia

    This amazing debut collection of short stories explores the Filipino emigrant experience. All the stories are beautifully written, though I was particularly moved by those that take place in the Middle East, where issues of displacement and class unwind in dense, richly observed stories. Suggested by Chris.

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  • America Is Not the Heart

    2018 by Castillo, Elaine

    Complicated family dynamics and the deeper meanings we assign to food both feature in this novel about Filipino immigrants from many walks of life sharing the same American suburb. So do identity, assimilation, and the small acts of self-expression that give people dignity. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • Arsenic and Adobo

    2021 by Manansala, Mia P.

    Much to Lila Macapagal’s distress, the landlord wants to close down her family's Filipino restaurant. Of course, a murder thickens the plot and she is the prime suspect. This gentle mystery, the first in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series, is definitely a yummy treat, with its relatable characters, engaging style, and food lore sprinkled throughout. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Dauntless

    2022 by Bonnin, Elisa A.

    A lovely Filipino mythology-inspired adventure packed with fantastical creatures and important messages about colonization and the rights of Indigenous groups. Suggested by Amber.

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  • A Thousand Cuts


    Exploring a subject more relevant than ever, documentary filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz follows Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa, CEO of the Philippine online news site Rapple. Under attack from the government and combating fake news, Ressa’s mission is to hold the line for free press. Ressa is a co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • When the Rainbow Goddess Wept

    1999 by Brainard, Cecilia Manguerra

    Filipino myths and legends give one family the courage they need to face the losses that WWII brings to them and to their country. The family, like the Philippines itself, emerges stronger for their trials in this unique story. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Yellow Rose


    Rose is an undocumented Filipina teen living in Texas, and her dream is to become a country music singer. However, when her mother is picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rose has to figure out a different path. A totally under-the-radar movie--the topic is timely and the result is heartfelt. Suggested by Sharon.

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  • Patron Saints of Nothing

    2019 by Ribay, Randy

    After his Filipino cousin is murdered due to President Duterte's war on drugs, 17-year-old Jay travels from the United States to the Philippines to learn more about what happened. This coming-of-age novel shows what it's like to explore your culture after growing up with no strong ties to it. Suggested by Elise.

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