Children’s Book Based on Award-Winning Filipina Pediatrician Dr. Fe del Mundo Set to Release in February
Boston-based Tumblehome Books is releasing a biography children’s book based on the life of award-winning Filipino pediatrician Fe del Mundo titled “The Angel of Santo Tomas – The Story of Fe del Mundo” on Feb. 1.
The book is set around del Mundo’s life journey in becoming a doctor serving the Philippine and the United States, in World War II and beyond.
Written and illustrated by award-winning Oahu-based artist Tammy Yee, the book is a story about “bravery, dedication and a promise kept.”
Yee wrote on her website that her husband who is a Filipino-American pediatrician told her about del Mundo. “The more I learned about her, the more I wanted to write about her,” she wrote.
Del Mundo received her medical degree from University of the Philippines in Manila and passed the medical board exam in 1933. Three years later, she moved to Boston to further her studies in pediatrics paid for by then-President Manuel Quezon. That same year, she was the first woman pediatrician to be admitted to Harvard Medical School.
“My family [and I were] living in Boston [when my husband Dr. Ric Custodio told me about del Mundo], far from our home in Hawaii. I could only imagine that Fe felt excited, yet displaced, as we did to live in a big and unfamiliar city,” Yee explained.
“[She] was a woman of color who was a pediatrician, scientist, author, educator, and lifelong advocate for the welfare of children, who received multiple awards for her humanitarian work and for her dedication to “the poorest of the poor.” I wanted her story to inspire children.”
Yee also admitted that she struggled to find the narrative to tell del Mundo’s story in the children’s book. She found the answer in the pediatrician’s promise to her little sister.
Del Mundo had a younger sister who had a desire to become a doctor to aid the poor. When her sister died at a young age, she dedicated her life to fulfill her sister’s dream and helped children in the Philippines.
She moved back to the Philippines during World War II and joined the International Red Cross to care for the children detained at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
In 1957, del Mundo established her own hospital called The Children’s Medical Center. It was the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines and is now renamed as Fe del Mundo Medical Center in honor of her legacy.
She received multiple national and international awards namely: “Woman Doctor of World Renown” from the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, “Outstanding Public Service” from the Ramon Magsaysay Award and the “Most Outstanding Pediatrician and Humanitarian” from the International Congress of Pediatrics Award.
She passed away in 2011 at age 99 due to cardiac arrest.
Yee signifies del Mundo’s fulfilled promise “best exemplify her courage and selfless dedication.”
A Zoom Event is being held on Feb. 2 at 12 pm HST to celebrate the book’s release. To register, visit tumblehomebooks.org/upcoming-tumbleocity-programs/.
“The Angel of Santo Tomas – The Story of Fe del Mundo” Children’s Book will be available to order on tumblehomebooks.org.