Book Signing at Barnes & Noble Chandler, AZ

A book signing for “The Legend of Tessie Agana: Beloved Child Star of the Philippines: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother” by author Mylene Agana Jao Richardson took on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at the Barnes & Noble Chandler, AZ.

The former movie star Tessie Agana signed books and posed for photos as Richardson introduced the book. After a legendary movie career in the Philippines, Agana moved to Northwest Indiana where she lived for 60 years.

Richardson’s mother and grandmother – Tessie Agana and Linda Estrella, respectively – were the Philippines’ iconic mother/daughter film star duo of the 1950s, starring in 40 films collectively and winning the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

“It was a meaningful way to kick off Filipino American History Month. Mama Tessie Agana and I loved seeing all the smiling faces and new fans.”

Author, Mylene Agana Jao Richardson

Tessie was affectionately deemed “The Nation’s Little Sweetheart” and known as the “Shirley Temple of the Philippines.” With unsparing truth, Richardson offers the first intimate portrait of her mother, whose early fame and exposure to the public eye led to dark shadows that impacted her entire life.

As the author learns more about her famous mother, she experiences her own voyage of self-discovery which provides invaluable insight into her life.

“The process of writing this book was an eye-opener in every way, and my mother and I have rebuilt a more fulfilling relationship,” Richardson said. “We have learned to embrace the past and celebrate the present. This story, I believe, can only be told from the lens of a family member revealing details with love, respect, and honor.”

Mylene Richardson grew up in Valparaiso and attended Andrean High School. She is a first-time author who in 2009 developed a passionate desire to write a book as a way for her sons to learn about their grandmother and great-grandmother. This effort turned into years of interviews with family members and friends, and it provided a unique glimpse into the lives of these important women.

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Mylene Richardson

Mylene Richardson

Mylene Agana Jao Richardson was born in Manila, Philippines, and is the sixth of nine children (six boys and three girls) from Tessie Agana Jao and Dr. Rodolfo Jao. Although she grew up in Indiana, her trips back to the Philippines are her most memorable family vacations. Mylene currently lives in Arizona, with her husband Andy, and their two sons, Chapman and Harris.


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