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Child of Two Worlds: The Autobiography of a Filipino-American ... or Vice-Versa

Norman Reyes, illustrated by Pete Sapasap
ISBN: 978-0-89410-777-1
ISBN: 978-0-89410-778-8
1995/289 pages

"A sympathetic and loving portrait of Manila and its surroundings plus Moroland in the 20s and 30s into World War II.... Reyes, a gifted writer, knowledgeably discusses every aspect from family customs and town fiestas to schools, films, and racial relations, ending with his daring trip to a besieged Corregidor to broadcast for the Voice of Freedom.”—Cellar Arrivals


A richly detailed chronicle of a cross-cultural odyssey in the Philippines under U.S. colonial rule.

The son of a Filipino father and a North American (Brooklyn-born) mother, Norman Reyes describes a childhood that was divided between two worlds—a mestizo life shaped by the violent drama of historical events. His fast-paced book builds in tension as the assumed safety of Philippine society gives way to increasing alarm about the country's wartime vulnerability, and as his coming-of-age quest is resolved in the midst of World War II.


Reyes believes he got the literary bug from his paternal grandfather, Tagalog novelist and playwright Román Reyes. He worked as a radio journalist after graduating from high school in 1939, taking advantage of his fluency in Tagalog, Spanish, and English. After the war (during which he joined the underground movement and later was captured as a member of the Philippine army at Corregidor), he earned a B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and pursued a career in radio and television. Now retired from journalism and living south of Manila, he writes poetry and essays.