Saturday, August 20, 2022

Fil-Am Author Erin Entrada Kelly Shares How Her Filipino Heritage Inspired Her Stories

Fil-Am Author Erin Entrada Kelly Shares How Her Filipino Heritage Inspired Her Stories


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Filipinos love to tell and hear stories – this may be one of the magical talents that Filipinos have. This has inspired a Filipino-American author to celebrate Filipino culture in her stories.

Erin Entrada Kelly is a children’s book author and a New York Times bestseller who was raised in Louisiana and is currently living in Delaware. She earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and liberal arts from McNeese State University and an MFA from Rosemont College. Before she became a children’s book author, she was a journalist and a magazine editor who garnered multiple awards from Louisiana Press Association and the Associated Press for community service, feature writing, and editing.

Erin’s first story, Blackbird Fly, was published in 2015, and it follows the story of Apple, a young girl who felt like a loner and an outsider as she was the only Asian in her new school. Blackbird Fly has won various awards such as the 2016 Golden Kite Honor Award.

Like Apple, Erin was also the only Asian in her school which she also shared that she was also bullied by her classmates which led her to be embarrassed by her Filipino heritage.

In an interview with Reading Rockets, she shared that most of her stories were inspired by her Filipina mother who is currently living in Cebu, and mirror her experiences as she grew up hearing stories about life, morality, and Filipino traditions told by her mother. Her stories usually contain elements of Filipino culture such as food.

One of her stories, “Hello, Universe” tells a story that celebrates bravery, being unique, and embracing the inner hero within you. Erin shared that this also contains a character of a Lola or a grandmother who tells folktales to impart her wisdom on Virgil, one of the main characters in the story. This book won the Newberry Medal last 2018 along with other awards and was picked up by Netflix to be produced as a live-action movie.

As a writer, one of her worries was the Filipino-American community’s reception in her stories so to hear the community’s warm support and appreciation of the beauty of Filipino culture in literature was truly an overwhelming experience for her.

Her upcoming story, Those Kids from Fawn Creek, debuts on March 8th and was included in the list of anticipated New Kids and Young Adult Books this March.

Learn more about Erin, her stories, and her awards at


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