Book helps Pinoy kids overseas learn more about Philippine Culture
How can more kids learn what it truly means to be Filipino?
This poignant question was posed to us by CNN Philippines host, Rico Hizon on his program The Final Word where he had us on to speak about My Filipino Story and Campfire Crates. It was such a great experience to be able to share our love for Philippine culture and our passion to pass this on to our kids and kids like them around the world.
In my former life as a producer and director for documentaries, I am more comfortable behind the camera so the idea of coming on live TV was frankly, terrifying. So what does one do when there is fear? One over prepares!
I thought I'd share the answers I had worked out for the interview here. I think it gives a really good overview of who we are a company and what we believe in. Have a whiz through :)
Can you tell me about Campfire Crates and your new book, My Filipino Story?
Campfire Crates is multicultural content company and we create heritage learning resources to help connect migrant families with the language, customs and values of the Philippines through activity books for kids.
It’s made up of myself, and my two friends Cricket and Crisela who are also moms of Filipino multicultural kids. Our mission to help our children and children like them to grow up proud of their Filipino roots.
My Filipino Story is A Filipino Heritage Journal activity book for kids. The idea was to create a ‘slam book’ style book. Parents who were kids in the 90s will know this very well. Slam books are basically books with questions that you passed around to your friends to help you get to know them better, it had questions like what’s your motto, who is your best friend, so we thought this format would be a great way for kids to do a self-exploration of their Filipino selves as well as help them learn more about their family.
In the book the kids can explore themes like
- All About Me, All About My Family, My Filipino Culture and Traditions, My Filipino Birthday, and my Filipino Values.
Then they can
- Record their family trees and family stories with the help of child-friendly interview prompts
We felt that being able to explore the things that made you Filipino, and to put this all in one book and make a record of it, akin to writing their own story is a powerful way to really own who they are.
Who is this book for?
We designed this book mainly for kids growing outside of the Philippines or kids who come from mixed culture families like my and my cofounder’s kids. But it’s really something that anybody who’s looking to explore their Filipino-ness can enjoy. I’ve found that it’s helped spark conversations and connections with other parents and even helped me learn more about them.
I was showing it to a fellow parent and we got to the page with the map and we got to talking about where our families were from and she shared that her mother taught in a Cambodian refugee camps in Pampanga. I didn’t even know there were camps like that there!
It’s how the book sparks conversations and it’s in the stories where the magic happens that we hope kids can have with their families.
What was your thought process behind creating the book in this format and why did you feel this would help Filipino kids growing up outside of the Philippines to connect with their Filipino heritage?
We felt that being able to explore the things that made you Filipino, and to put this all in one book and make a record of it, akin to writing their own story
is a powerful way to really own who they are.
Speaking with our community, we know that kids who grow up mixed sometimes feel that they don’t quite belong to one culture or that they are never enough of one culture. This is a big fear that we have for our kids and one of the driving forces behind our work at Campfire Crates.
We want every Filipino kid out there (young and old!) to know that they are always Filipino enough, and we hope that our work can help them gain that confidence in their Filipino-ness.
I know it’s a bit much to think that a book could carry that message but that’s our hope, at least.
One of the thrusts Campfire Crates has always had in developing our products is about sparking conversation, connection, community. This is why we’ve focused on creating activity books. We felt that when it comes to kids learning, fun and play are big draws for the kids to be both entertained and engaged in what they are learning.
Any advice for other migrant Filipino parents on how to keep their kids connected to their Filipino heritage?
Exposure, patience with them and yourself, and make it fun!
When we are not surrounded with our culture, we have to be a bit more deliberate in being able to expose our kids to it so having resources, books, videos, tv shows, toys, anything that you can get your hands on that can help spark conversations. There was a great show called Jelly, Ben and Pogo that we used to watch and they did an episode on kamayan and now my kids use the term readily and easily.
BE PATIENT WITH THEM AND YOURSELF
Don’t put the pressure on yourself and them. I’ve found in my experience that kids come to it on their own and it also really depends on their interests and personality. My younger son has a bit more of an interest in it and picks up language and nuance a bit faster than my older son.
MAKE IT FUN
The goal is to make learning about themselves fun for your kids and for you. sharing small Filipino things in your everyday routine that are meaningful for you. For example, everytime Cricket picks her kids up the kids from school, she asks, Kamusta? And they can share their feelings or whatever they like in Filipino. They also enjoy putting patis in a platito. This is the special connection about being Filipino that we are hoping you are able to share with your kids -
What other resources does Campfire Crates have to help Filipino migrant families?
We have a line of products for Filipino Heritage Learners that include our
Spark Activity Book: Philippines, an all about the Philippines activity book that has Filipino games like sawsaw suka, and pretend play Merienda cafe with Peso play money!
My Filipino Christmas Activity Book, an all about Christmas in the Philippines activity book
And coming soon, a My Trip to the Philippines, an activity guide book for kids who are traveling to the Philippines.
What support/ help can propel this book further towards Campfire Crates's mission of connecting to Filipino kids around the world?
We’d love to connect with other authors and publishers working on Filipino learning resources to either work with them or help distribute our books.
A few years down the road, we hope that we can create learning resources not just for kids growing outside of the Philippines but for the Philippine public education system as well.