Tammy Yee, Illustration and Design

The Angel of Santo Tomas - The Story of Fe del Mundo

Written and Illustrated by Tammy Yee
Tumblehome Books
Hardcover: 36 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1943431748

Fe del Mundo's sister dreamt of becoming a doctor—a big dream for a girl in the Philippines in the early 1900s. When her sister dies, young Fe vows to take her place, a promise she carries with her the rest of her life. In 1936 she travels to study at Harvard Medical School and trains at Boston Children's Hospital. When WWII begins in the Pacific, Fe faces a choice: remain in Boston, where she is safe, or return to the Philippines, where she is needed most. Fe follows her vision and returns home to care for the American and British children forced into the internment camp at Santo Tomas.

The story of the courageous Dr. Fe del Mundo, recipient of the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for distinguished women "whose life exemplifies outstanding service to humanity," and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, will inspire children to pursue science and medicine in the service of humanity.



A lovely and inspiring biography of a benevolent, innovative female Asian doctor.
This picture-book biography celebrates not only del Mundo's many accomplishments in medicine, but also her compassion and humanitarianism. The full-color digital illustrations depict details of Filipino culture, like architecture and clothing, while also beautifully capturing del Mundo's gentleness and her emotions. A timeline in the backmatter provides more information about her accomplishments and life.
- Kirkus Reviews

Tammy Yee's The Angel of Santo Tomas is a beautiful and encouraging story. The illustrations are rich in detail and authentic, with the characters wearing traditional Filipino dress as the book opens. This story of courage proves that anything is possible with love and determination...Fe del Mundo should be a role model for children and adults to make our world a better place to live in.
- Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Inspiring and thoughtfully presented, The Angel of Santo Tomas will encourage today's youth to follow their own dreams.
~Greg Pattridge, Always in the Middle...

Written and illustrated by award-winning Oahu-based artist Tammy Yee, the book is a story about "bravery, dedication and a promise kept."
~The Filipino Chronicle

A small press gem from Tumblehouse.
~Rosanne Parry, Diversity in MG Lit #34 March 2022, From the Mixed-Up Files...

Behind the Scenes: Creating "The Angel of Santo Tomas - The Story of Fe del Mundo"

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
What inspired you to write The Angel of Santo Tomas?
My husband, a Filipino-American pediatrician, told me about Dr. Fe del Mundo and how she was the first woman and first Asian to study at Harvard Medical School. My family was living in Boston at the time, far from our home in Hawaii, and I could only imagine that Fe felt as excited, yet displaced, as we did to live in a big and unfamiliar city. The more I learned about her, the more I wanted to write about her. Here 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.

What was most challenging about creating this book?
I struggled to find a narrative thread to tell her story. What drove her to dedicate her life to helping others? Her own words gave me the answer: "She kept a little notebook where she wrote that she wanted to take up medicine. When she died, I decided to take her place." The story took the shape of a promise—a promise to fulfill her sister's dream. I asked myself, what event would best exemplify her courage and selfless dedication?

In 1941, as WWII began in the Pacific, Fe faced a choice. She could remain in Boston, where she could safely continue her studies, or return to the Philippines, where she was needed most. Fe kept her promise and returned to the Philippines to care for the American and British children who were forced into an internment camp at the University of Santo Tomas. Her story resonates today, at a time where migrant children face uncertain futures in detainment. Fe could not bear children suffering. She spoke up and did something. She kept her promise to her sister, and to children in need.

Rough sketches:
© 2019 Tammy Yee
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