Heartwarming children’s book, “My Extra-Special Aunty,” celebrates Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers


2nd May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Award-winning filmmaker Joanna Bowers and a team of talented collaborators are thrilled to announce the launch of “My Extra-Special Aunty,” a touching children’s tale that sheds light on the remarkable migrant domestic workers, affectionately known as ‘aunties,’ who play an indispensable role in the lives of many Hong Kong families. Narrated from a child’s perspective, the story aims to foster healthy relationships among young readers and their families, making it Hong Kong’s first children’s book illustrated by migrant domestic workers.

“My Extra-Special Aunty” is not just an enchanting tale; it is a local story that captures the essence of Hong Kong families, presented in both English and Traditional Chinese. The book seeks to cultivate empathy, kindness, and respect among children, their families, and their beloved aunties.

Written by Joanna Bowers, with exquisite illustrations by domestic worker artists Cristina Cayat and Noemi Caballero Manguerra, “My Extra-Special Aunty” also celebrates cultural diversity and the immense talent thriving within the migrant domestic worker community. With representation from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, and beyond, these artists bring their unique perspectives together to create a visually stunning masterpiece.

Author Joanna Bowers, known for her acclaimed 2017 documentary “The Helper,” which chronicles the stories of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers, was the driving force behind “My Extra-Special Aunty.” According to Joanna, “I wanted to capture the special bond that exists between Hong Kong families and their beloved aunties. By sharing this enchanting story, we hope to inspire children and families to foster meaningful connections that transcend boundaries.”

The talented illustrators of the book, Cristina Cayat and Noemi Caballero Manguerra, are also founding members of Guhit Kulay, a migrant domestic worker artist collective in Hong Kong. Cristina expressed her pride as a domestic worker artist, stating, “I am proud to contribute my artwork to ‘My Extra-Special Aunty.’ Coming from the northern part of the Philippines, I wanted to bring my culture into this book by using traditional design and clothing. I believe it’s the perfect tool to start a conversation, inspiring young readers to appreciate different cultures and understand their Aunties better.”

Noemi, who currently resides overseas, echoed these sentiments, saying, “My role was to develop the character illustrations in the book, using watercolour techniques, which is my particular specialty. I believe that through the power of art, we can bridge gaps and build understanding. I’m honored to be part of this project that showcases the incredible talent and diversity of migrant domestic workers.”

The team behind the book united in 2018 at a charity event organized by Enrich HK. Their shared admiration for migrant domestic workers and storytelling led them on a collaborative journey. Through various artistic techniques such as poetry, hand illustrations, painting, and textiles, they delved into the intricate emotions of attachment between domestic workers and the families they serve. The goal was to help families comprehend their Aunties’ aspirations and unwavering dedication to providing a better life for their families back home.

In addition to its artistic significance, “My Extra-Special Aunty” is a charity project. All proceeds from sales and events will go towards supporting local charities, Enrich HK and PathFinders Hong Kong, which are dedicated to assisting migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. By purchasing this book, young readers have the opportunity to make a positive impact.

My Extra-Special Aunty is now available for purchase and can be found at The Lion Rock Press and Bookazine. For more information, visit www.myextraspecialaunty.com.

All are also welcome to celebrate the launch of My Extra-Special Aunty at a Family Fun Day and Book Launch at Asia Society Hong Kong on 11 May, 2024. Children and aunties can immerse themselves in the story together through animated book readings and fun creative activities that are guaranteed to create extra-special memories. Tickets are available at www.myextraspecialaunty.com