Seated l‑r: Cecilia Brainard, Ryo Alfar, Marilyn Alquizola, Joselyn Geaga-Rosental; standing l‑r: James Castillo, Rachielle Scheffler, James, Jaime Geaga, Erlinda, guest, Megan
The Carlos Bulosan Book Club of Los Angeles hosted a launch for the YA anthology GROWING UP FILIPINO: NEW STORIES FOR YOUNG ADULTS, at the Echo Park Branch Library in Los Angeles, on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Here is the link to the YouTube video of the book launch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWk44Igi_lk
The event was in-person, via Zoom, and Facebook streaming.
l‑r: Cecilia Brainard, Marilyn Alquizola, Herminia Menez Coben, Jaime Geaga, Rachielle Scheffler
After introductions, I talked about how this book came to be and I also shared an excerpt from Kannika Claudine D. Peña’s story in the book.
Marilyn Alquizola shared an excerpt from her story, while Ryo Alfar read from his mother Nikki Alfar’s piece in the anthology.
Four members from the audience shared their own “growing up” experiences.
It was amazing to hear Dr. Herminia Menez Coben talk about her recurring dream of hiding in a bunker in their house when she was a child. In fact, her father had created a bunker in preparation for World War Two in the Philippines.
Rachielle Schefller shared memories of her childhood in Ilocos.
Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal recalled an incident during Christmas time when tribal Ifugaos showed with, playing gongs — a different kind of Christmas carolling, she noted. But a really lovelyh image Joselyn described was when her mother started dancing in response to the gongs. This was so vivid that I saw in my mind young Mrs. Geaga doing the tribal bird-dance.
Ryo Alfar recalled being around eight years old and getting sick. His nanny turned out to be a healer and did a ritual on him, which healed him.
The questions that followed were heartfelt ones about the difficulties Filipino American writers and film makers (and artists) face here in America. Members of the Carlos Bulosan Book Club are tuned in to community and politically issues and a lively discussion followed.
I am personally fond of, and support, the Carlos Bulosan Book Club. The club is a project of Friends of Echo Park Library, headed by Jaime Geaga, Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, Vicky Perez, James Castillo, Myrla Baldonado, David Rockello and others.
Jaime and Joselyn are long-time Los Angeleno friends. When I was new here in Los Angeles, the Geaga family was in the forefront of leading and shaping the Filipino American community. The Geaga children continue their community and political service. The Friends of Echo Park Library and the Carlos Bulosan Book Club are two of their numerous community-oriented activities.
L‑R: Cecilia Brainard, Rachielle Sheffler
L‑R: Rachielle Sheffler, Dr. Herminia Menez Coben
l‑R: Rachielle Sheffler, Marilyn Alquizola
tags: Filipino teens, Filipino books, YA books, Filipino YA, Filipino young adults