Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The KUCB Newsroom provides newscasts Monday through Thursday at noon and 5 PM on KUCB Radio. You can find many of our local news stories here.

Unalaska Library launches Filipino Story Time

The Unalaska Public Library held its first-ever Filipino Story Time in early February. The goal is to help Filipino children living on the island connect more with their roots.

Russell Laforteza, who grew up in the Philippines, led the story time. He read a Tagalog children's book to over a dozen kids in a circle, narrating the story about a girl's trip to the supermarket.

Laforteza speaks two Filipino dialects, Ilocano and Tagalog. As a teenager, he moved to California, became a teacher and later moved to Unalaska to live closer to his parents.

“With the first-ever Filipino Story Time, I want Filipino Americans to not forget where they came from,” he said.

Laforteza said he's passionate about preserving culture and diversity. He believes that having story time in Filipino languages will help young children feel proud of their roots and promote unity.

“I want to be more inclusive in a community that is very diverse — very rich in cultural history, heritage and diversity," said Laforteza. "Your cultural identity is what gives you unique[ness] in a country that is very diverse and especially in Unalaska.”

More than half of the population in Unalaska speaks languages other than English at home, and about a third of the population identifies as Filipino, according to the U.S. Census.

Laforteza translates all the Filipino stories and songs into English during story time. He wants kids to feel included and accepted, even if they don't speak Filipino languages yet.

Laforteza ended the story time with a Tagalog version of the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," which helped him learn Tagalog when he was a child himself.

The next Filipino Story Time is scheduled for March 1. For more information head to

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
Related Content