Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Illustrator Interview: Rommel Joson

Rommel Joson, painter and illustrator, answers three interview questions on his new book, Isang Harding Papel (EPPC/Adarana House, 2014). Authored by Augie Rivera, the book was launched last November 27, 2014 at the Museo Pambata.

November 27 is Ninoy Aquino's birthday and National Day of Reading.

a. How did you conceptualize your art for Isang Harding Papel?

Paper was always going to be a dominant element in what I was going to do with Isang Harding Papel. So I thought of using collage techniques combined with painted elements to create the art. I used a lot of texture and welcomed happy accidents in the composition. Although I submitted a storyboard for Isang Harding Papel, I deviated from it a bit by just responding to the materials in front of me.

I also included some 2 "easter eggs" in the book. The number of the bus Jenny and Lola rode in is 1081 (referring to the Martial Law proclamation) and one of the kids in one of the spreads has a Voltes V t-shirt, which was supposedly banned during Martial Law times.

Illustrations of Isang Harding Papel. Photo source: http://rommelj.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/never-forget/

b. What collaborative strategies did you and Augie go through for Isang Hardin?
Beyond digesting Augie's text and the initial meeting with him and Adarna, there wasn't much actual collaboration. I gave an initial storyboard sketch, going so far as suggesting a spread without text. From that storyboard, I think Augie and Adarna made minor adjustments to the text.


c. If you are a martial law baby, what memories do you have of that period in Phil history? If not, what experience of loneliness and longing helped you in illustrating the book?

I was born in 1978. I was only 7 when People Power came around. I remember a time sitting with my grandfather by the sidewalk, and a person (don't remember if it was male or female) came up to us conducting a survey on possible election results. The survey person asked my grandfather who he was going to vote for in the coming election. My lolo said "KBL" - "Kay Buyida Lang". KBL of course referred to Marcos' party while biyuda referred to Cory Aquino. I think it was a running joke at the time.

Rommel Joson's art works: http://strangeskins.com/Sampaguita-Girl
 My lolo also gave me a Marcos Bagong Lipunan coin when I was little, which I lost, sad to say. I remember that the results of the snap election were being broadcasted on TV and I caught glimpses of that. I remember kids going to school flashing the Laban sign and wearing headbands with big foam letter Ls stuck on the front.

I have always been interested in that time in Philippine history. When I went to UP to study Fine Arts, I wanted to do a graphic novel about the desaparecidos. When the offer to do "Isang Harding Papel" came around, I felt this was my opportunity to do something set around that era. I also liked watching documentaries  and learning about the conspiracies and scandals of that time, like Oplan Sagitarrius or stories about the Rolex 12. So you could say that I'm fan of Philippine history.

My paintings and other personal work has always been tinged with loneliness and melancholia, so it wasn't difficult dipping into that emotion.

e. What is your message to aspiring illustrators?
Practice everyday, draw everything, read a lot, and be professional.


Watch this book trailer of Isang Harding Papel.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Filipino Librarians of the Month: The Deped Calamba Library Hub Librarians

L-R Elinor, Zarah and Myra
Last October, I was at the Deped Calamba Library Hub for a training session on reading activities among teachers of the Calamba public school system. This reading session came after my three day stint at the 6th Rizal Library International Conference. Organized by two librarians, Elinor Hemedes and Myra Ortega, the reading session went on smoothly to the delight of the participants.

I did not lecture nor presented theories that are way too big since they all came from a week long training session by the DepEd. We just read and talked about what we read about. The teachers felt relaxed. One of the participants said, "Bitin ang training, ma'am." (The training is too short).

But at the session's core are Elinor and Myra who work together in the Deped Library Hub system of Calamba, Laguna. Both afforded me an interview for the blog. Here are Elinor's answers to the interview questions.

1. Why did you decide to work in the DepEd library hub system?

I have decided to work in DepEd because I can't let this kind of opportunity pass. Also, I wanted to experience managing this unique kind of library system.

2. What are the challenges you face in managing the library hub? How do you overcome these challenges?

The main challenge that we face in managing the hub is increasing our borrowers, only few schools are patronizing our hub. To overcome this we seek support from our schools' division management team. We also plan our activities that will highlight the services of the hub. So far, we promoted the hub by organizing a training for the teacher librarians. We hope that through the training they were able to see the hub as a reading center. The hub books were also used during the storytelling contest for the reading month. Through this teachers were able to visit the hub and utilize our collection.

3. What are the success stories you have so far?

The pupils enjoy the library visit and participating in reading activities. The hub offers fun filled activities such as storytelling and word games. They were enthusiastic when they get to choose the books they want to read during their DEAR time. And lastly, successfully organizing a training for teacher librarians for the whole division of Calamba city, then receiving lots of positive feedback from the participants after [is an accomplishment].

What's Up Our Christmas Book Tree?





Thursday, December 11, 2014

Extending the Use of the Reading Passport

And then, of course, the avid readers turned in their finished passports way ahead of the rest. To share their reading experiences to the rest of the community, I clipped the passports in a clothesline on the library bulletin board. Anyone is free to read the passports. As a rule, passports must be returned to the clothesline after reading them.



Here are more ways to share the books read and written about in the passports:

a. In a book discussion, readers can talk about their passports; its contents, answers to the questions, recommended reads and their insights on the books the have read.

b. Chose the recommended reads. Pull these books out of the shelf and display them in the library. Put these book displays near the circulation counter where students, teachers and staff can see them. Think of this strategy as on the cashier counter displays, the merchandise that people would buy on the last minute.

c. Take picture of the recommended books and post these in the school's social media account.

d. Have these recommended reads featured in the school paper as well. This way, parents and other members of the community are informed of books being read by students.

e. Compile the recommended reads into a list for use in readers' advisory, reading guidance and bibliotherapy programs and services.

I like planning and implementing activities like these. There is so much you can do with information generated from readers and the books they read. There are patterns in their use of information but there are little surprises along the way too. This makes my work a really enjoyable and meaningful job!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why #griffinsread

We are now on the third week of our reading passport activity. Overall, there are twenty students who availed of the reading passport and so far, three have finished theirs. Soon, I will be posting their passports in the bulletin board for everyone to read.

What I find beneficial in the passports is the opportunity to know my high school readers better: why they read, how they read and what book they feel good at recommending to other readers. This is data that would help me improve my collection development program and readers advisory services. I learn from my students too. Their book choices amazes me! What I identified as a senior book was read by a freshman. Never judge a reader by his or her grade level. I think this sensitivity and perception to the varying reading choices of teens prompts me to offer books that will open readers to broad perspectives and world views.

From the photos, you can say that these students who participate in the activity are indeed readers. The avid ones!

It remains a challenge to inspire the reluctant readers to visit the library, pick a book and read.

The Christmas Tree in the Library

And my dream has come true!

We have book Christmas Tree in the library!

To decorate the tree, I sent word to the school community how they can help. Here are three simple ways:

You can help decorate the tree by:

a. Writing on a cut out Christmas ball your best read for 2014 to put in the tree;
 
b. Making an origami star (I have a paper and pattern) to put in the tree;
 
c. Donating a Christmas tree decoration or trimming which you think is apt for a book Christmas Tree in the library.
 
I will be posting more photos of our book Christmas Tree.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Augie Rivera on Martial Law and Writing Historical Fiction for Kids

Noong Nobyembre 27, 2014 ay nag launch ang Adarna House at ang Edsa People Power Commission ng aklat pambata tungkol sa Martial Law, ang Isang Harding Papel. Ang aklat ay sinulat ni Augie Rivera at ginuhit ni Rommel Joson. Ito ay inilimbag ng Adarna House.

Narito ang aking interview kay Augie Rivera tungkol sa aklat. Sinagot rin niya ang mga tanong tungkol sa kanyang paglikha ng kwento at sa inspirasyon niya sa kwento ni Jenny.

Pangalawa mo ng Martial Law book ito. Bakit ka muling nagsulat ng aklat tungkol sa Martial Law para sa mga bata? 

Ang kuwentong ‘Isang Harding Papel’ ay base sa ilang mga tunay na pangyayari at karanasan. Matagal ko na itong naisulat at bahagi sana ng limang libro sa seryeng ‘Batang Historyador’ ngunit minabuti kong unahing ilabas ang kuwentong ‘FQS’ na ‘Si Jhun-jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Mililtar.’ Kaya naitago muna sa ‘baul’ ang kuwento.

Sa dami ng revisionist takes sa Martial Law at sa ating kasaysayan na naglipana ngayon sa social media, naisipan kong balikan ang kuwento. Nag-revise ako ng konti, at saka ko ito ipinasa sa Adarna House. Sila ang nakaisip na i-tie up ito sa EDSA People Power Commission dahil naghahanap daw sila ng ganoong tipo ng kuwento.

Ayun. Makalipas ang labing-apat na taon, sa wakas ay dumating din ang tamang panahon para mailathala ito bilang isang libro.

Sa pamamagitan ng kuwento, umaasa akong mapupukaw ang interes ng batang mambabasa, mag-uusisa, at gugustuhing malaman ang iba pang mga kuwento ng pakikipagsapalaran, pangarap at pagkamulat ng mga batang gaya ni Jenny sa madilim na kabanatang ito ng ating kasaysayan. Malimit nating sabihin: ‘Ang mga kabataan ngayon, walang alam sa kasaysayan. Walang sense of history.’ Madalas din natin silang sabihan: ‘never forget.’ Pero, paano nila malilimutan ang isang bagay na hindi naman nila naranasan? Ang kasaysayan ay hindi lang pagmememorya ng mahahalagang petsa, pangyayari, at buhay ng mga bayani. Bilang mga ‘Martial Law babies’ na tumanda na, at karamiha’y mga magulang na rin, tungkulin natin na ipaalam sa mga bata ang kasaysayan. Ikuwento natin sa kanila ang kasaysayan. Ipakita. Iparamdam. Sana, ang mga aral ng nagdaan ay makatulong upang mabuo ang mas maalab nilang pagmamahal sa bayan at pagmamahal sa kasaysayan.

Rommel Joson and Augie Rivera at the book launch
May personal ka bang karanasan tungkol sa Martial Law na nasasalamin as aklat? Ano ito? 

Lumaki ako noong panahon ng Martial Law. Kaya’t na-excite akong isulat ang kuwento. Isa siyang magandang pagkakataon para magbalik-tanaw sa aking kabataan, at gamitin ang ilang mga detalye at karanasan para pandagdag sa texture at nuances ng kuwento. Noong panahong iyon, masugid kong sinubaybayan ang iba’t ibang mecha o robot anime sa telebisyon. Mekanda tuwing Lunes. Daimos tuwing Martes. Mazinger Z tuwing Miyerkules. Grendaizer tuwing Huwebes. At Voltes V tuwing Biyernes. Pagkagaling sa eskuwela, nakatutok na ako sa telebisyon. Lilipad ako kasama ang mga robot, kakalabanin namin ang mga Boazanian beast fighters, at ipagtatanggol ang buong bayan… bago mag-curfew o maghapunan!

Nang biglang i-ban ni Marcos ang Voltes V sa telebisyon dahil sobrang bayolente raw at naglalaman diumano ng mga subersibong mensahe, kabilang ako sa mga batang nagalit at naghimagsik ang damdamin. May dineprive sa ‘yo eh. May biglang inalis. May biglang inagaw. At hindi mo naiintindihan kung bakit. In a way, kahit bata ka, naramdaman mo na may nangyaring repression.

Marahil, collective angst din ‘yon ng isang henerasyon. Pero kung may mga batang nagluksa sa biglaang pagkawala ni Voltes V na itinuring nilang bayani at kaibigan, may mga batang iba naman ang biglang nawala sa buhay nila. Iba naman ang kanilang pinagdaanan— namuhay at lumaki sila nang malayo sa piling ng kanilang tatay, nanay, ate o kuya, na ipinakulong dahil sumalungat sa mga isinusulong ng Bagong Lipunan.

Mas sentimental ang treatment mo ng Martial Law experiences ng bidang bata sa Hardin kumpara ng Kay Junjun. May kinalaman ba ang gender dahil babae ang bida? 

Sa palagay ko, pareho lang na malungkot o sentimental ang ‘Jhun-jhun’ at ‘Hardin’ dahil hindi talaga maiiwasan. Parehong naganap ang kuwento sa maligalig, malungkot at madilim na kabanata ng ating kasaysayan. Pero ilan lamang ito sa mas marami pang kuwento ng mga batang nagkamulat at dumanas din ng parehong hirap at pasakit na pinagdaanan ng matatanda noong panahong ‘yon.

Babae ang bida dahil may pinagbasehan ako sa kuwento— ang mga tunay na karanasan ni Jenny Cortes (na pinsan-in-law ko; pinsan ni Mike) noong bata pa siya at dumadalaw sa kaniyang nanay na isang political detainee.

 Pinili ko ang imahe/metaphor ng bulaklak para sa kuwento dahil nainspire ako sa mga wooden sculptures ni Jenny sa kaniyang unang exhibit na ‘Wall Flowers’. At dahil ang bulaklak din ay simbolo ng pag-usbong ng buhay at pag-asa.

Ano ang hindi pa naisusulat ni Augie Rivera? 

Marami pa. Mas marami pang kuwento. Mas marami pa sanang programang pambata sa telebisyon. Isang musical. Isang coming of age na pelikula. Marami pa.

The book launch was held in Museo Pambata. Kuya Bodjie read aloud the story, Isang Harding Papel

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Singing Librarian: OPM Christmas Medley

Sharing with you the mp3 of a Filipino Christmas Medley that my husband and I made. This is for our Family Day Christmas celebration with the Magis Deo Community. The mp3 is "homemade" and amatuer-ish, but, we made this with all sincerity. My husband did the arrangement and mash ups of the songs. We used GarageBand to record the song and for web access, I used SoundCloud. Of course, blogging about it in SLIA is for posterity's sake!

#griffinsread: How We Met and Other Stories

Book selfie: A grade 10 student sent this entry for the BA Lib's #griffinsread photo contest