Our Nipa Hut: A Story in the Philippines

Feb. 2024. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781646865000.
Gr 1-3–As Yelena Mendoza’s father likes to say, “The nipa hut is family too.” As they check and maintain their family’s small house on stilts, Yelena agrees that the hut shelters and cares for them. Then a bagyo or storm approaches, and their bamboo hut sways and flinches in the strong winds and rain. The storm lasts for hours, but once again, their hut survives with only slight damage. The fable like story emphasizes the bonds of family and community, as neighbors come together under rainbow skies. Nipa huts, still found in rural Philippine communities, use readily available materials, such as bamboo and nipa palm leaves, the latter used for the roof. Eye-catching folk art, in vibrant colors, depicts a lush tropical setting filled with multi-colored birds, fish, and other animals; the family and neighbors have an array of skin tones and body sizes, and Papa Mendoza is shown using a simple prosthetic leg. Back matter focuses on the construction, history, and types of nipa huts, stressing their enduring cultural significance. It also offers factoids about the Philippines, including a map and a smattering of Tagalog words.
VERDICT This well-crafted overview is not only a heartening story, but a good choice for STEM and multicultural studies.

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