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New children’s book highlights Filipino culture

September 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

Increasing cultural awareness is the aim of a new children’s book, written by a Kingscross resident.
“Riley the Raccoon Goes to the Philippines,” by Jasmine Montreuil, is the first of a series of books dedicated to children in her life who grew up here and would like to learn about their cultural traditions and language outside of Canada.
“This one is dedicated to my kids and it teaches about the Filipino cultural tradition of pasalubong, along with Tagalog words and expressions,” she said.
King City Library has agreed to carry the book, and it’s available on Amazon.
Montreuil explained that growing up in Canada, she always felt insecure about her grasp on Filipino culture, food and language and worry that as the years go on, it will be even harder to pass it on to her kids.
“Even though I know that I have the capacity to keep learning, and there are plenty ways to learn, connect and re-connect, it’s a constant worry.
“I wrote this book for them. It was my way of exploring and strengthening my own connection, while passing on some of what I know and love about the Philippines.”
One of the traditions that she grew up with and still participates in is the tradition of pasalubong or gift giving. When you visit the Philippines, it’s customary to bring gifts for your loved ones to celebrate your connection, despite the distance. When returning, you would bring souvenirs, food and other items unique to the Philippines, for your loved ones back home.
“As a kid, I would get so excited to pack my pasalubong … and I still do! I also included some of my favourite Tagalog words, expressions and of course, food.”
This book is written for children ages 3-10. It’s a wide age range, as the book has many layers. It engages young kids with rhyming, a heart-warming adventure and animals. Lots of animals! It also teaches a Filipino tradition, modes of transportation in the Philippines, cultural foods, as well as Tagalog words and expressions, which older kids may appreciate.
“I wrote the book first, thinking about all of the elements I wanted to include, before figuring out the age range of the audience. I actually wrote it in an hour, the same night that I had the idea, although, it took many months to refine,” she said.
Montreuil hopes Filipino-Canadian kids will feel more represented in children’s literature.
“I also hope that by reading this book, and hopefully future books in this series, all kids will have a better understanding of the people and the wider world around them.”
Even though book is focused on Filipino culture, Montreuil believes readers will see that while there are many differences, there is also a lot of sameness. This book is the first in a series that will teach kids about different cultural traditions from the different diaspora here in Canada.
“I’m fortunate enough to have the privilege of having such a culturally diverse group of family and friends who are willing to co-write with me and dedicate more books to the kiddos in my life,” she said.
The book launched it on Sept 8, and it’s available now on Amazon, and will be available soon on Indigo, Barnes and Noble, independent book stores and wherever you like to get your books. Montreuil also started an Instagram account: @riley_the_raccoon_bookseries if anyone wants to follow and get updates.



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