Mina’s Magic Malong introduces a woman from Southern Philippines, and her charge, Ella—-two diverse characters, both grappling with separation. The story helps young readers to appreciate diverse cultures and traditions, where the emotional needs of both adult and child are checked in an encouraging and positive way. This picture book raises awareness of the sacrifices migrant-domestic workers make when they leave their homes to work overseas, and the important bonds that bloom between caretakers and children.
Tagline: Those who sacrifice for their families live within the hearts of the many they cared for.
Publisher: Penguin Random House SEA
Authors: Eva Wong Nava with June Ho
Illustrator: Novita Elisa
Published: July 2019
Extent: 32 pages
Dimensions: 211mm x 241mm
Rating: Children’s Picture Book
Praise for the Book:
Mina’s Magic Malong focuses on the moment, common in many middle-class households in Asia, when a long-serving migrant domestic worker ends her contract, leaving behind her employer’s child, and returning to her own children in her home country. This moment is often bittersweet, as the domestic worker has poured years of affection into caring for someone else’s child, while living apart from her own children… Often, this departure is emotionally difficult for the employer’s child too, for whom the domestic worker was the primary caregiver. It is this trying moment that Mina’s Magic Malong ably captures… It is a quiet book but carries a wealth of feelings within its pages. Though the voices of the two daughters Mina left behind in the Philippines when she first left to work overseas, are absent from the story, the book will hopefully encourage young readers to think about the impact of domestic worker migration on families in the host and home countries. – Anju Mary Paul, author of Multinational Maids: Stepwise Migration in a Global Labor Market.
I was very touched by the interaction between the child and her care giver as illustrated in the children’s story Mina’s Magic Malong. Mina has to say ‘goodbye’ to the child without breaking her heart and she finds a creative and tender way to do just that. This story, which encapsulates some very human emotions – empathy, compassion, understanding and love, should appeal to both parent and child. – Connie Singam, Author, Activist, and former President of AWARE.
Simply and honestly written, there is a melancholic gentleness and deep affection in the characters’ interaction that quietly confronts us with the truth of a complex dynamic. Readers are led to understand that the Minas in their lives are more than just a helper at home, but also grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, wives, who nonetheless have hearts big enough for them all. – Charmaine Eng, Clinical Psychologist.
Mina’s Magic Malong shines with love and sadness. It is a poignant story for children of all ages that gently raises awareness of the inequalities faced by many domestic workers. – Natasha Godfrey, Founder of SleepyBear Books, Melbourne, Australia.
This heartwarming story is a reminder that migrant women are able to give of themselves … — Dr Theresa W Devasahayam, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University.
In Mina’s Magic Malong, the authors shine the spotlight on the domestic helpers who care for our children. The tender scene of the bond forged between Ella and her caregiver Mina gives voice to an often invisible group. – Emily Lim-Leh, award-winning author of 30 children’s books.
Mina’s Magic Malong by Eva Wong Nava, co-written with June Ho, is a heart touching story about a young girl and her caregiver, that reminds children as well as adults about the beauty of culture and how we must never take for granted those that put us before themselves. The authors’ descriptive language takes you right back to that place where you felt safe by that certain something that was dear to you…everyone had a Magic Malong at some point in their lives.” – Leat Regwan, Founder of MagicBeans Bookstore, Los Angeles, United States of America.
Mina’s Magic Malong is available in all good bookstores that stock good quality children’s literature. It is also available at Times Bookstore Singapore, Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookstore, and in Kinokuniya Singapore. You can also find Mina’s Magic Malong in bookstores in Malaysia. Kinokuniya Singapore ships internationally.