A warm, tender story about a creative girl who hopes that by winning a filmmaking contest, she'll convince her great-grandfather not to move back home to the Philippines. For fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kelly Yang.
Kaia and her family live near the beach in California, where the fun of moviemaking is all around them. Kaia loves playing with makeup and creating special effects, turning her friends into merfolk and other magical creatures.
This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they're working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales that her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather, tells. Tatang lives with her family and is like the sparkle of her special-effects makeup. When Tatang decides that it is time to return to his homeland in the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go.
Filipina-American Kaia, 12, begins to see her beloved 90-year-old great-grandfather, Tatang, in a new light when he announces that he'll be moving from their Santa Monica home to live in his homeland year-round. The retired teacher is a source of unwavering encouragement and support for Kaia, and the two often share quiet moments and thoughtful conversations. Intent on dissuading him, the budding digital effects artist enters a beach-themed film competition with her best friends, hoping that winning the contest with a project inspired by Filipino mythology will change his mind. Kaia's deep respect for and connection with Tatang provides an emotional lens through which to view his youthful experiences, including his immigration to America 60 years prior, internment following the Bataan Death March, and service during WWII. As she comes to understand the meaning behind Tatang's choices and the importance of his autonomy her perception of him expands alongside her awareness of her own strengths and the opportunities available to her. Rich with opportunities for discussion and contemplation, Respicio's (The House That Lou Built) book offers a heartfelt story about family, embracing change, and the meaning of home. Ages 8 12. \n