When you think of the books you loved as a child, did any have Filipino heroes? Were they set in a Spanish-Creole-speaking city at the tip of the Sulu Archipelago? Did they take you to an underwater city filled with sassy, multi-tasking sea creatures? Did they introduce you to the quirky monsters of Philippine folklore, or teach you how to apologize to fairies?
Sari-Sari Storybooks is an indie publisher of Filipino picture books, for ages 5-8. "Aren't there already beautiful Filipino picture books in the world?" you might ask. Yes, there are many, but Sari-Sari Storybooks fill a unique space because:
They're written to under-represented Philippine language groups. These books promote language renewal by targeting young speakers of languages like Ivatan, Cebuano, Chavacano, Waray, Ayta, and Meranaw.
They'll publish as both media-rich digital books and printed books, giving readers an interactive experience of Philippine cultures.
The series will be published in the U.S., as well as the Philippines, connecting Filipino-American children to their heritage. Diverse books also benefit all children by opening their minds to different cultures, and strengthen the social fabric.
"Melo the Umang-Boy" (an Ivatan Tale from northern Luzon)
Melo is a painfully shy little boy living with his grandmother and uncle. One day he visits a magical, busy city on the bottom of the ocean, filled with talking sea creatures. Disaster strikes the city, and he must overcome his shyness to help the sea creatures rebuild. Story by Alyssa Sarmiento-Co and Christina Newhard. Illustrations by Jaypee Portez.
"Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik" (a Cebuano Tale from the Visayas)
Kalipay makes an unusual new friend in Gamay, who has a long tongue, bat-wings, and is a devoted vegetarian. This is a story about the power of friendship, play, and what it means to be different. Story by Christina Newhard. Illustrations by Happy Garaje.
"Amina and the City of Flowers" (a Chavacano Tale from southern Mindanao)
Amina, a young Yakan weaver, is homesick for Basilan, but she finds inspiration for her loom in the diversity and color of her new home, Zamboanga City. Story by Christina Newhard. Illustrations by Robbie Bautista.
Language diversity worldwide is currently in crisis. Nearly HALF (46%) of the world's 7,000 languages are now endangered (source: Endangered Languages Catalogue). Valuable scientific and historical information embedded in these languages could be lost.
Southeast Asia is a global hotspot for language diversity. Within the Philippines, there is momentum toward language revitalization, with a history of multilingual language activism. In addition, the Department of Education's mother tongue-based education for young children is now in its 4th year. This project aims to complement this momentum, with books that support reading and discussion in these languages.
The first book in the series, "Melo the Umang-Boy," is completed and doesn't need funding to print the U.S. or Philippine editions.
This Kickstarter is raising $14,000 for the second and third books, to pay for the printing costs of "Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik," and "Amina and the City of Flowers." $14,000 will cover the printing of both the U.S. and Philippine editions.
In the U.S., Sari-Sari Storybooks is partnering with the Filipino School of New York-New Jersey, Arkipelago Books in San Francisco, Philippine Expressions Bookshop in Los Angeles and Ivatan USA (among others) to connect these stories directly with Fil-Am readers.
In the Philippines, our distribution partners include Library Renewal Partnership (a non-profit dedicated to building libraries throughout the Philippines), the Soar High Knowledge Foundation of Lanao, and the Batanes Department of Education.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges of publishing these children's books can come from a few directions, from keeping the creative production on schedule, to printing glitches or delays, to finding the right distributor for the long-term availability of Sari-Sari Storybooks.
I've spent my career working as a graphic designer in New York, with 20 years in the industry. I have extensive experience in design, print production and art direction. Problem-solving as issues arise is part of my job as a designer. We are working with Tien Wah Press in Singapore and LSA Printing Press in the Philippines, which are experienced and reputable book printers. Our illustrators are also experienced professionals.
I have been developing this project for 4 years, and I am firmly committed to seeing it completed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)