“Where is Winnipeg?” aims to help in integration of newcomers
By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez
The Winnipeg Schools District has included a book written by a Filipino-Canadian author into its new bilingual Filipino school program.
Author Darlyne Bautista, who was also a former school trustee, said she is very happy that her book will be part of the lessons that will be taught under the first Filipino bilingual program
“I’m very proud of the first Filipino bilingual program. ‘Where is Winnipeg?’ is actually part of the curriculum there,” she told City News Winnipeg in an interview.
As a daughter of immigrant parents, she said the book was a way to express her identity.
“The children’s book became my childhood voice even though I wasn’t an immigrant. You are always made to feel you are different,” she said of the reason why she wrote the book.
Bautista was born in the North End of Winnipeg to parents who immigrated from the Philippines in the 1970s.
She is a writer and community activist and a co-founder of the organization Aksyon Ng Ating Kabataan (ANAK).
Bautista earned a BAh from the University of Winnipeg majoring in History and International Development Studies, an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in South East Asian Studies, and also took a PhD at the Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto.
She said she had seen a lack of resources for Filipino children and she hopes the book can make children of all backgrounds feel “less alone.”
According to Statistics Canada records, Filipinos ranked third in the immigrant group with the highest growth in population from 2016 to 2021.
They followed the South Asians (+647,000 people), Black (+349,000) and Filipino (+177,000).
According to the most recent population projections, the racialized population could continue to increase. In 2041, the South Asian group could top 5 million people, the Chinese and Black populations could each exceed 3 million, and the Filipino population could go over 2 million.
Bautista said it is the responsibility of the parents and the family to expose the second generation of Filipinos to their identity whether through a book, an event or food.
“I think just the basic that they are seen, that they are valued, that they are loved. Whatever you identify you have to fill your child’s toolbox with the right tools to navigate their own identity,” she said in an Omni News interview.
“Where is Winnipeg?” follows a little Filipina girl as she investigates around town where her family is immigrating to. The answers she finds will surprise you! ‘Where is Winnipeg?’ is a heart-warming tale that will give kids a sense of what it may mean to move from the Philippines to Canada, a summary of the book reads.
One of the answers was “Winnipeg is where it is cold. It’s like living in a refrigerator.”