My name is Reni. At birth I was named for my two grandmothers Remedios and Juanita, and my father, who had a way with words, coined a monicker out of both. I have a nickname, which is to say that I was loved as a child.
For 29 years and counting, I have been making meaningful children’s books for Filipino families. I am publisher of Tahanan Books, a Manila based company that seeks to nurture a young person’s passion for learning with books that celebrate Philippine culture and history. Named for the Filipino word for home, Tahanan has been delighting Filipino families with award-winning books since 1992.
When I am not helping to create other people’s books, I write my own. I received a National Children’s Book Award for my picture book Ay Naku!
(Oh Dear!). An anthology I edited, Hanggang sa Muli (Until We Meet Again): Homecoming Stories for the Filipino Soul, was shortlisted by the Manila Critics Circle for Best Anthology in English. In 2019, I won a Carlos Palanca First Prize for my children’s story “Pretty Peach and the Color-Matching Kaleidoscope.” My newest picture book, MÉME: The Baby Book, was published in 2020. I am currently at work on a children’s book manuscript, “Along Came the Period: Punctuation Made Easy for Kids." Which is to say I love language and all of its accoutrements!
In the United States, my short work has been published in The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, ParentMap, and Brain, Child. My essay “And Frank Kept Singing Anyway: Why Write Against All Odds?” was recently published in Author Magazine. I am an alumna of the Tin House 2020 Summer Workshop, and I am now at work on my first collection of short stories under the Writing by Writers DRAFT program.
Oh, and did I mention that I also collect spectacular sentences?
"The lane went along the wall,
arched over, shattered by bloom,
dissolving into trees."
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
See you down the lane, fellow traveler!