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Lolo's Sari-sari Store

Illustrated by Christine Almeda

About The Book

A little girl holds lessons learned in her grandfather’s sari-sari store close while adjusting to a new home in this sweet picture book about the joy of community, connection, and Filipino culture.

For one girl, summers used to mean helping Lolo run his sari-sari store, which was always brimming with goods for the neighborhood: shampoo packets for Ate Jane, rice and eggs for Tonton, and a sympathetic ear for anyone who needed it. “Sari-sari means a good variety—just look around and you’ll see. What help can you give your community?” Lolo would say, as he filled his shelves with what people would need.

Now that she’s far from the Philippines, she misses Lolo and the friendly faces that surrounded his sari-sari store. But when she remembers her grandfather’s words, her heart keeps Lolo close, and she starts to see opportunities for connection and community in her new home.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Stephy Wong

Sophia N. Lee grew up in the Philippines. She wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things and more through writing. She is the author of Soaring SaturdaysWhat Things Mean, which won a Scholastic Asian Book Award’s grand prize; Holding On; and Lolo’s Sari-sari Store. Learn more about her at

About The Illustrator

Photograph (c) Michael Vitales

Christine Almeda is a Filipino American freelance illustrator and lover of sunshine from New Jersey. Lolo’s Sari-sari Store is her first picture book. Christine believes that, through the power of creativity and storytelling, art can make life more beautiful. Visit her at or @EyChristine.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 1, 2023)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534494473
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

* “A lovely story fusing past and present, family lost and found, in memory and sensory experiences. An essential book for the shelves.”

– School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW, August 2023

"Almeda’s digital illustrations, bathed in golden light with dazzling contrasts, lend a warm feeling to Lee’s sensate descriptions in a book about what makes a heart 'feel full.'"

– Publishers Weekly, 10/9/2023

"Readers will take to heart Lolo’s lessons about the importance of kindness. A gentle tale brimming with love and warmth."

– Kirkus Reviews, 6/15/2023

Awards and Honors

  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Sophia N. Lee