This YA Book Is About the Racism and Exploitation the Igorots Faced During the American Occupation

Wild Song

Book Photo / Anvil Publishing

Candy Gourlay relays a history untold in Wild Song, the companion novel to her 2018 novel, Bone Talk.

Wild Song delves deeper into the former’s world, this time in the eyes of Luki. As in the ways of her tribe, Luki is expected to become a wife and a mother, but she has a fiery heart burning in her that longs to be a warrior. When an American invites them to participate at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Luki jumps headfirst into adventure, but she soon learns that the West isn’t for dreamers like her as they’re displayed like cattle for show.


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Set in 1904, Gourlay’s recent endeavor sheds light on the racism and exploitation the Igorots faced during the American occupation. Despite its heavy-handed topic, the story sparks hope, striking a balance between the horrors of the past and the vibrant spirit of its young lead. In this Philippine edition, the author poses new guide questions for discussion to enrich the reader’s understanding of this important event in history.

Wild Song was first published in Great Britain under David Fickling Books. It has since received rave reviews from readers across the globe. “Vividly imagined,” wrote journalist Howie Severino for GMA News Online. “It would be the crazy stuff of fantasy if it weren’t based on the appealing true story of the Saint Louis World’s Fair.” The Times described it as a “shocking, refreshingly different, coming-of-age story.”


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Meanwhile, Emily Bearn of The Telegraph praised Gourlay for the “almost mesmeric quality” of her “sparse and feathery prose.”

Recognition for Wild Song doesn’t stop there. British magazine The New Statesman hailed the novel as the Best Children’s Book for Spring 2023, while The Bookseller named it as its Book of the Month for March 2023. It also landed in The Guardian in the same month, touted as one of the best new novels for children and teens.

Wild Song is published by Anvil Publishing and is available at select National Book Store branches for P275. It can also be ordered online through, Anvil Publishing’s Shopee and Lazada stores, and

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