Children’s books based on animated series on Filipino values now out

Two years after crash-landing on Earth where he found his “pa-mil-ya” and community, the blue alien cat Heneral Tuna is back to tell his story of how he learned Filipino values, this time in books and various Philippine languages.

The National Commission on Culture and the Arts teamed up with Filipino independent publisher Aklat Alamid to adapt the Heneral Tuna animated series into a children’s picture book series. Heneral Tuna was produced by the NCCA together with Rocketsheep Studio, an award-winning independent animation studio behind hit animated films Hayop Ka! and Saving Sally

Heneral Tuna premiered in 2021 online through the FDCP Channel and Kumu. In the seven-episode mini-series, the lead character learns what it was like to be part of a family and community, learning Filipino values through its people, food, history, even religion and natural disasters. Where citizens of Planet Mingming, his home planet, would let each other suffer rather than lend a hand, Heneral Tuna learns that caring for oneself and for other people can make a community stronger. 

Aklat Alamid is a publisher of children’s and young adult books written in different languages of the Philippines. Established in 2017 and based in General Santos City, Aklat Alamid is also driven by its advocacy of creating, promoting and nurturing children’s literature in regional languages through partnerships, book fairs and events.

For the Heneral Tuna: Ang Discovery, Aklat Alamid adapts a story from each of the animated series’ seven episodes into Filipino and Cebuano. The books are geared towards younger learners, primarily grade school students. The picture book series was launched on 13 November in Cebu City, during NCCA’s Filipino values festival, Bálay Pinoy, that includes school caravans in the Visayas and Mindanao. Filipinos young and young-at-heart can soon purchase a copy through Aklat Alamid’s online stores (Pumplepie Books and Lazada) and partner indie bookstores in Metro Manila, Baguio, La Union, Naga City, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos City.   

Coinciding with the release of the picture book series was the NCCA’s partnership with the Knowledge Channel Foundation to air Heneral Tuna episodes, beginning 6 November, through the Knowledge Channel, available on local free TV, cable channels and online.