The Prize-Winning Story & Art Introducing Kids to Celebrated Artist, Araceli Limcaco Dans

When does passion become art and art becomes a quest to save your country?

Based on true events, Gabriela Dans Lee’s prize-winning story seamlessly braids art and history as the author recounts her grandmother’s contributions to the wartime efforts of Filipinos during World War II. Adrian Panadero’s luminous illustrations evoke a war-torn era in which Cely discovers that her destiny—as well as her family’s survival—lie in the very art that’s given her new eyes with which to see and reimagine the world around her.



Gabriela Dans Lee earned her M.A. in Literary Studies from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Her first collection of fiction, Instructions on How to Disappear: Stories, was published in 2016. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies in the Philippines, the United States, Australia, and Canada. She teaches children’s literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where she specializes in science fiction and fantasy. A story she wrote about her grandmother’s childhood experiences during World War II won the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize, and is the basis for this book.


Adrian C. Panadero is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer who feels passionately about Philippine culture and the preservation of our national heritage. In 2017, his first book, INTRAMUROS: The Walled City, was published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers. Based on his undergraduate thesis at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, the book offers young people the chance to cut and build their own paper model of Intramuros. In 2019, Adrian won the PBBY-Alcala Prize, an annual award for children’s book illustrators given by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People.


CELY’S CROCODILE: The Art and Story of Araceli Limcaco Dans is a picture book virtually launched during the Children’s Biennale of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on November 2020. A video to encourage kids to write their own family story may be viewed on Tahanan Books for Young Readers on YouTube.

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