Pedro's Yo-Yos: How a Filipino Immigrant Came to America and Changed the World of Toys

By Rob Peñas
Illustrated by Carl Angel

Hardcover: $20.95


Discover the backstory of one of America's favorite toys, the yo-yo, in this colorful biography of businessman Pedro Flores.

It can spin and roll, leap and twirl. You can stretch it between your hands or swing it between your legs. The tricks you can do with one are nearly endless. No wonder the yo-yo is one of the most successful toys ever made! And its popularity began with a Filipino immigrant.

Pedro Flores was born in the Philippines in 1896, when Spain still ruled his country. After the US took over, Pedro traveled to California, received an education, and looked for ways to go into business for himself. Then he remembered a toy from his childhood called the yo-yo, which means "come back" in Tagalog. With a couple of blocks of wood and a little string, Pedro created his first model yo-yo and practiced tricks to show it off.

It was an instant hit! When children saw the yo-yo in action, they clamored to get one themselves. So Pedro always performed his tricks near movie theaters, outside candy shops--anywhere he knew children would see the toy. Soon he was hiring fellow Filipinos to advertise it for him, while he ran factories that manufactured more than a million yo-yos a week! Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices award, Pedro's Yo-Yos is the lively story of one immigrant's ups and downs as an entrepreneur and his determination to create a toy that would capture the imagination of children and adults all over the world.

About the Creators

Thumb_roberto_pen_as_copy Rob Peñas - Author

Rob Peñas is a second-generation Filipino-American whose parents immigrated to the United States in the 1960s. He grew up in a house filled with books and playing 16-inch softball. Pedro's Yo-Yos was a New Voices winner and marks his debut. Rob was inspired to write this book when he learned that the ever-popular yo-yo toy was credited to a Filipino. It was important to Rob that Pedro's story and achievement not be left in obscurity. He lives with his family in Kansas, where the prairie is not too far away.

Thumb_thumb Carl Angel

is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer whose work has been exhibited throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawai'i. A Filipino American who grew up in Honolulu, Carl lives in San Leandro, California. He is the illustrator of several books, including Willie Wins, Lakas and the Manilatown Fish, and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel.