Children’s book by late Dr. Dawn Mabalon honors a Filipino labor rights leader

SAN FRANCISCO — These children are depicting labor activists Filipino-American Larry Itliong and Mexican-American Cesar Chavez are their involvement in the historic Delano Grape Strike — which happened more than 50 years ago.

This was one example how the story of Itliong and his contributions to American labor rights continue to live on through new generations of Fil-Ams.

The other is through this children’s book: “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong”.

Illustrations of the book were made possible through actual photographs of Itliong, his travels and during the strike.

“I think it was really important in order to capture the essence, the truth of what was going on that we have real reference because it’s not about a fantastical make-believe world. We had to capture what was really going on at the time,” said illustrator Andre Sibayan.

The Filipino community also prides itself knowing the book was one of the last gifts from the late historian and co-author — Doctor Dawn Mabalon.

Friends, family, and colleagues of Mabalon say the book was her way of inspiring younger Fil-Ams.

According to the advocates behind journey for justice, more children books are planned for the future, featuring the first Filipina-American Olympic gold medalist, Victoria Manalo Draves, author Carlos Bulosan, and historian and community leader, Dr. Mabalon.

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