Filipino American History Month: Fiction & Literature

Updated: January 17, 2023

A selection of novels and poetry by classic and modern Filipino writers. Part of Filipino literary history are the writings of Carolos Bulosan, whose contributions are kept alive by the Carlos Bulosan Book Club and its members, who are very active at the Echo Park Branch Library.

Book cover for All heathens
All heathens
Chan, Marianne
Call Number: 811 C4535

Referencing Magellan's voyage, poet Marianne Chan explores her Filipino American identity.

Book cover for All the conspirators
All the conspirators
Bulosan, Carlos.

A suspense thriller that takes place at the end of World War II. Filipino, Gar Stanley returns to his homeland to help a childhood friend and ends up being pursued by a host of nefarious characters. A novel that offers insights about life during that time period, by the Philippines honored and respected poet and novelist, Carlos Bulosan.

Book cover for America is in the heart : a personal history
America is in the heart : a personal history
Bulosan, Carlos
Call Number: 811 B939B 2014

 Filipino poet Carlos Bulosan's memoir about his childhood in the Philippines, his trip to America and the many years of hard work, loneliness and despondency working menial jobs and finding the time to write, which was his passion.


Book cover for America is Not the Heart
America is Not the Heart
Castillo, Elaine

Disowned by her family for her revolutionary activities in the Philippines of the 1990s, Hero de Vera travels to Milpitas, California, where she is taken in by her aunt and uncle and given the job of caring for their seven-year-old daughter, Roni.  Haunted by her past and disturbed by her life as an American immigrant, Hero finds some solace in her relationship with Roni–and through a passionate affair with makeup artist Rosalyn.  

Book cover for Arsenic and adobo
Arsenic and adobo
Manansala, Mia P.
Call Number: M

A cozy mystery, the first in a new series, that is a rom-com involving Lila Macapagal moving back home to help save Tita Rosie's failing restaurant. Mystery and food mix well in what promises to be a delightful series.

Book cover for Carlos Bulosan and His Poetry: A Biography and Anthology
Carlos Bulosan and His Poetry: A Biography and Anthology
Evangelista, Susan
Call Number: 811 B939Ev

Biographical information about Carlos Bulosan's life and poetry that includes an anthology of his poetry.

Book cover for The cry and the dedication
The cry and the dedication
Bulosan, Carlos.

"The adventures of seven Filipino guerrillas rebelling against U.S. domination."

Book cover for The Human Zoo: A Novel
The Human Zoo: A Novel
Murray, Sabina

A very modern take on current history in the Philippines, when a Filipino American journalist returns to her homeland that is beset by a malevolent dictatorship. Ting Klein is back home to do research for a biography but is caught in a web of her family's upper-class life and the reality of life under Procopio “Copo” Gumboc's brutal regime.

Book cover for In the country : stories
In the country : stories
Alvar, Mia, 1978-

A heart-rending collection of nine vibrant short stories about the Filipino diaspora and life in Manila. The stories center on the Filipino experience both worldwide and “in the country.”


Book cover for The Indios: A Novel
The Indios: A Novel
Palileo, Gloria Javillonar

In 1872, three secular priests were publicly executed at Manila's Bagumbayan Plaza, which was a turning point and the beginning of the Philippine Revolution when Filipinos sought to free themselves from Spanish colonial rule. However, there was a conflict within the revolution between the upper-class ilustrados and the lower-class Indios.

Book cover for Insides she swallowed : poems
Insides she swallowed : poems
Chacón, Sasha Pimentel.
Call Number: 811 C4315

Sensuous poetry about the poet's family, life, death and politics.

Book cover for The last thing : new & selected poems
The last thing : new & selected poems
Rosal, Patrick, 1969-
Call Number: 811 R788-4

As the son of Filipino immigrants, Patrick Rosal has a deep understanding of the need to bring together those who have different ethnic, national and religious differences, which he does through his poetry.

The love manifesto : poems and stories
Paul, Kuya
Call Number: 811 P3237

Paul Kuya is a Filipino-American artist, who lives in Los Angeles, and explores the meaning of love through his poetry and short stories.

Book cover for Monstress : stories
Monstress : stories
Tenorio, Lysley.

This debut collection of stories is noteworthy for its depiction of a spectrum of Filipino and Filipino-American experiences little represented in American literature; settings include San Francisco’s Manilatown in the 1930s, a Philippine leper colony in the 60s, and the Manila film scene of the 70s. What makes the stories truly enjoyable though, is Tenorio’s ability to cut to the quick of deep emotions with control and with humor.

Book cover for On becoming Filipino : selected writings of Carlos Bulosan
On becoming Filipino : selected writings of Carlos Bulosan
Bulosan, Carlos.
Call Number: 810.8 B939

A collection of Carlos Bulosan's short stories, essays, poetry, and correspondence.

Book cover for Returning a borrowed tongue : poems by Filipino and Filipino American writers
Returning a borrowed tongue : poems by Filipino and Filipino American writers
Call Number: 811.08 R4395

A rich anthology of poems by Filipino and Filipino American writers.

Book cover for The son of good fortune : a novel
The son of good fortune : a novel
Tenorio, Lysley A., 1972-
Call Number: Ed.a

"An undocumented Filipino American teenager struggles to make sense of his past in order to move into the future."

Book cover for A village in the fields : a novel
A village in the fields : a novel
Enrado, Patty.

Fausto Empleo was the last manong, part of the first group of Filipinos who immigrated to the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, and worked as farm laborers in California. This work of historical fiction brings to life the history of the Filipino-American contribution to the farm labor movement, as Empleo looks back on his life seeking the American Dream.