Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Library Talk and Scavenger Hunt

Puzzle Time! Final round of the Scavenger Hunt
The Library Talk and Scavenger Hunt activities I had with grade 9 students last week was a good one. Both are regular activities by the library under its instructional program and the participation of a new batch of grade 9s made it different from the previous years. Students are the uncontrolled variables. Often, their context and experience make or break a learning encounter. This makes teaching really fun!

For the Library Talk, I simply provided students pointers on going about their research: what the task is; what information is needed to accomplish the task; how to go about seeking and locating for information to finish the task. There. The BIG 3 in the BIG 6 research process. These three pointers make up the crucial analytical steps of Information Literacy. I then re-introduced the library OPAC and basic online databases that the library subscribe to. I get a kick showing how cool the PDFs can get when you email it to yourself with annotations and citations.

The Scavenger Hunt on the one hand is a game where players use the basic search tools in the library. In the BIG 6 model, this is step 3: Location and Access. After the game, the CRe (Comparative Religion) teacher and I processed the experience. Students said:

- they were able to use the "websites" that the library has;
- they were able to locate information;
- they were able to see more of the library -- it is not just books;
- they got to save documents in World Book Online using My Research;
- they learned how to find books more efficiently;

The first term is about to end. While I am happy that this batch of grade 9 students have had three library visits with me, and that their respective teachers articulated the need to work with me to strengthen research skills, I hope to do more library encounters with them. We have only just begun.

Library Visitor from Domuschola International School

Judy Ann Emano, school librarian of Domuschula International School, visited us at the Beacon Academy last Friday, October 2, 2015. I gave her a tour of the school and we talked about what it is like to work in a school that implements the International Baccalaureate  program. We both agree that it is not a walk in the park.

Ms. Emano was fortunate to see me conduct my Library Talk, a session I provide students when they are tasked to do research work in the library. In the afternoon, she also sat in the Scavenger Hunt activity I had with the grade 9 students.

Ms. Emano sent us this email of her visit to the Academy:

The Beacon Academy library gives an exemplary service to the students, teachers, and parents keeping them engaged and intellectually stimulated, through the collaboration of teachers and the librarian.  I am honored to meet the people behind Beacon's continuous success.  I am grateful that the Beacon family warmly welcomed Domuschola International School to their campus and we also look forward having you in our school in the near future.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Blog Event for National Book Week 2015

Last September 26, 2015, I posted this call for volunteers in my FB page for Filipino Librarians to join a blog event for National Book Week 2015. Here is what I said:
Hi! I am gathering a group of librarians who can guest in my blog through posting an article about the book week theme for this year: The Filipino Reader in the Era of ASEAN Integration. The blog event will start on October 24, and will end on November 24.

It is simple to do. A sub-theme or question is assigned per week. Three librarians will write about the sub-theme or question of the week. Their articles/essays will be posted in my blog MWF. Participants are requested to post in their social media accounts the articles/essays via ‪#‎filipinolibrariansread‬ ‪#‎NBW2015‬ ‪#‎readinginASEANIntegration‬. 12 librarian volunteers are needed for the blog event.
The objective of the blog event is to drum up the NBW 2015 and campaign for books and reading. We are librarians but how many of us are bold and brazen enough to show the world our love for books and reading? Now is the time to actively and visibly advocate books and reading.
I was able to round up twenty two volunteers and invited librarians and friends. They are:

Roi Calilung, Darrel Marco, Ryan Joseph Balmaceda, Igor Cabbab, Michale John Tarronas, Martin Julius Perez, Elijah Dar Juan, MJ Tumamac, Rhea Apolinario, Willian San Andres, Audrey Anday, Candy May Schif, Cristina Villanueva, Jing Hernandez, LC Fernandez, Rochelle Silverio, Anne Grace Bansig, Iyra Buenrostro, Mia Diesta, Vine Degamo and Mennie Ruth Viray.

In the coming weeks you will be reading about what Filipino Librarians are reading, what reading means to them, who they think are their readers in the age of ASEAN Integration, and what role do books and libraries play in this economic convergence of South East Asian nations. The topics per week are:

Week 1 - October 24 - 31: Filipino Librarians and the Their Reading Habits
Do Filipino Librarians read? If yes, what are they reading? If not, why? Why are they reading? What is their preferred reading format? Whom do they speak with about books they have read? Where do Filipino Librarians get their books?

Five Filipino Librarians

Week 2 - November 1 - 7: Filipino Librarians and the Essentials of Reading Books
What is the perfect book?  What are the top ten best books you have read in your lifetime that have made an impact in your life? What are your recommended reads for other librarians? It can be books about librarianship or LIS, fiction or non-fiction.

Five Filipino Librarians

Week 3 - November 8 - 14: Filipino Librarians and Their Library Readers
Who are your readers in the library? Why do they read? What are they reading? How do they Read?

Six Filipino Librarians

Week 4 - November 15 - 24 - The Filipino Librarian on Books and Reading in the Era of ASEAN Integration
What role do books and libraries play in the era of ASEAN Integration?

Six Filipino Librarians

I will post the schedule of Filipino librarian guest bloggers and their articles soon!

Celebrate the Teacher With In! Happy World Teachers' Day! Part 2 of 2

The storytelling workshop I conducted during the A Day with Weavers of Magic wouldn't be a complete success if not for the participation of Michelle Agas, Miko Manalo and Jerson Capuyan. Once upon a time, I gave their class a mini-workshop on storytelling. Teacher Portia Padilla was their teacher then and I was a willing resource person. A few good years after, they graduated and are now professional teachers. All three led the breakout sessions to demo a storytelling style and technique of their own choosing.

Two librarian friends, Ann Grace Bansig and Darrel Marco, were storytellers too at the workshop. Both have education background since they took cognates in Reading in the UP REGALE program.

Teachers and librarians weave magic!

We were joined by teachers and librarians who volunteered to monitor and facilitate in the small group discussion and breakout sessions. Thank you very much to teachers MJ Tumamac, Amadeus Pagente and librarians Audrey Anday, Jing Hernandez and Mennie Ruth Viray. Your presence made the afternoon truly meaningful indeed.

I look back at this wonderful event where teachers and librarians come together to weave magic. On World Teachers' Day, I reflect and see more collaborative opportunities for librarians to work with teachers and for them to assume teaching roles.

Celebrate the Teacher With In! Happy World Teachers' Day! Part 1 of 2

L-R: Teacher Hazelle, Me, Miko, Jerson, Michelle and Teacher Portia
A week ago,  I was given the opportunity to train teachers and future teachers by conducting a storytelling workshop at the Benitez Hall, College of Education, UP Diliman. I was able to do this with the help of teacher friends from the UP Reading Education Area. Together with student led organizations, the said department and reading advocates sponsored the annual A Day with Weavers of Magic. This day of magic weaving is already a tradition in the UP "Eduk". What Lina Diaz de Rivera started back in the 90s lives on through the effort and zeal of teachers Portia Padilla, Hazelle Preclaro Ontengco and Maita Salvador. Their students and leaders of student organizations in the college lent valuable support and manpower.

During my workshop in the afternoon, I met teachers from different parts of the metro and nearby provinces. Students from the UP Reading Education Area were also in attendance. One of the teachers who attended the workshop, Mr. Norman Tabios, tagged and mentioned me in this Instagram post:

I had the pleasure to meet Zarah Gagatiga last Saturday during the seminar-workshop "A Day with Weavers of Magic" at UP Diliman College of Education.
I wish that our country have more teachers like her. Her love for teaching, reading, and writing is something that every teachers must emulate. Long live Ma'am Zarah Gagatiga!
Continue inspiring more teachers and students to love reading and learning. Mabuhay po kayo!
Mr. Tabios teaches at the Our Lady of Fatima University. In his return to the university, he immediately shared all the wonderful things he took away from the Weavers of Magic workshop. He shared the wonder of books, reading, writing, book making and storytelling to his students in the college level.

Thank you Mr. Tabios for the good wishes! Your response is truly heart warming. I am inspired to continue on!

To all the teachers who have inspired us and are continuing to help us become better persons, happy World Teachers' Day!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

School Librarian as Collaborative Teaching Partner

It is the eve of World Teacher’s Day and I write this — a short piece on the teaching role of a school librarian.

As a school librarian, I am honored to work side by side with teachers for the past twenty years — and counting. My experience working with them has been, in general, meaningful and lifer affirming. Providing co-teachers with resources they need in the classroom and giving them access to an array of instructional materials and information for professional growth activities has been the core of my role as a school librarian. Organising the library as a learning hub and creating a digital learning environment for teachers and their students come in second. This is another exciting part of my job and one where I find a creative outlet using technology. The most challenging role so far, to me at least, is that of a team teacher or assistant teacher of research and writing.

Experience has taught me that, while teachers welcome the assistance given to them to access useful information and helping them create learning environments for their classes, working in collaboration with a school librarian for instructional and teaching purposes is something new. What is new can be risky. New things mean change. Change can be a source of discomfort and fear. For one, collaboration requires a different mind set. It is founded on trust and respect.

School librarians who are willing to venture into collaborative working teams with teachers should be well prepared to be trusted and respected and to do the same with their partners. These things are earned through hard work over time.

So how does a school librarian prepare for this?

1. Be sure that you know how to teach research and writing. Start by practicing what you preach. Research and write. Write research papers. Research is as simple as asking a question and finding answers to the question — more on this in future posts.

2. Understand the language of teachers. Converse with them. Know what matters to them. Good teachers will always talk about their students’ welfare and well-being. Make this a common ground. Aren’t you interested to make students readers for life?

3. Know how to teach. If your LIS education did not prepare you for this, LEARN it! Check MOOCs on teaching, educational technology, Information Literacy and the like. Read up on books on education. Join a professional learning network of eductors Build a personal learning network. These two are different and I will discuss each in a future post. Attend seminars and conferences where teaching library skills, IL skills, research and writing are topics of conversations.

4. Seek support from leadership. If you haven’t join in any faculty meetings, request that you be included. Too shy to do this? Then you will never be able to collaborate with teachers. Your school library won’t get maximum use by students. How can you build the collection and develop a reading community if you are removed from the discussion hubs of teachers and school leaders?

5. Strategise and plan. Numbers 1-4 can be written down in a three year development plan of the library. While you are planning and strategising in preparation for teaching collaborations via the school library’s services and programs with you as the conduit to teachers, promote reading and the use of the library’s resources, technology included.

When school leaders see an eager school librarian stepping up to the role of a team teacher, support is given. Trust and respect will be earned.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The 4th Annual Story Writing Workshop of Lampara Books

Aside from the book launching and book buying events I had last MIBF (Manila International Book Fair), I also facilitated a story writing workshop sponsored by my publisher, Lampara Books.

Lampara has been conducting the workshop since 2011. This is 4th writing workshop for its patrons and avid readers. I have been participating as its facilitator for three straight years now. In my first year, I only had a 40 minute talk on writing stories for kids. In the second year, I was given an hour and a half to do a mini-workshop. This year, I had two hours of input session and a workshop. As always, it was a pleasure to meet new friends, young and old.

I was even interviewed by young writers from Palanan Elementary School. Dave and Camille are six graders who attended the workshop. They are campus journalists for the school paper.

Joining me in the workshop as facilitator was Eugene Evasco, Palanca Hall of Fame Awardee.

I opened the workshop with a brief introduction on the trends and themes prevalent in Philippine Children's Literature today; the National Children's Book Awards; why the NCBA should be taken seriously; the first Kids' Choice Award; and implications of all these to writers of children's stories. To immerse the participants in children's books, I had them read it. They reviewed the books following the 10 Values of Children's Literature by Ruth Clarkson. There was sharing of output in small group and big group discussions.

When Eugene Evasco came up the stage, he provided an array of different exercises for writing stories. Many of his exercises were pre-writing activities; language techniques; strategies for character and plot development.

It was an enriching afternoon! We had eighty participants and they filled the room with their interest and enthusiasm. Here's hoping we would have more writers to write for children.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Library Serye: Ang Umiibig ng Tunay ay Kayang Maghintay Ep 1 Part 3

"Let's call it a day." Sabi ni Miguel as sarili.

Inikot ni Miguel ang reading area para kolektahin ang mga aklat na hindi naibalik sa tamang kinalalagyan. Pinatay niya ang pihitan ng mga air conditioning system pati na ang mga ilaw. Maliban sa opisina ni Ms. G na nagtatrabaho pa, iniwan nyang bukas ang ilaw at ang pinaka malapit na aircon. Sumilip sya sa glass window ng opisina ng kanyang boss. Kumatok sa pinto at nagpaalam.

"Uuwi na po ako, Ms. Guzman. Naiayos ko na po ang mga book reservations para bukas." Bilin niya sa librarian.

"May parokyano ka pa sa counter. Yung suki natin." Sagot nito sa kanya.

Si Kate.

Dalidaling bumalik si Miguel sa circulation counter. Ayaw niyang itong paghintayin. Hindi pa man sya nakakapwesto sa counter ay nagsalita na si Kate.

"Hihiramin ko ang mga na ito." Sabi nito sa kanya na nakangiti.

Inisa-isa ni Miguel ang mga aklat na ipasok sa database. Kabisado na niya ang buong pangalan ni Kate, ang kurso nito at student ID. Hindi na sya nagtaka pa sa mga aklat na hinihiram nito. Psychology ni Carandang, Economics ni Sicat at Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog ni Egay Samar. Yung huli ay sigurado sya na para sa leisurely reading. Pinagpatongpatong niya ang mga aklat sa harap ni Kate.

"Lahat ba ng nagtatrabaho sa library tahimik?" Tanong ni Kate.

Napatingin lamang si Miguel kay Kate. Naghahanap siya ng tamang salita na isasagot sa kanyang tanong.

Confirmed. Sabi ni Kate sa sarili. Suplado nga. O baka naman bakla? Hindi e.

Pansin ni Miguel ang biglang pagiwas ni Kate. Lumayo siya ng ilang hakbang sa counter at nawala ang ngiti nito sa mga labi.

"Carla!" Sigaw ni Miguel.

"My name is Kate." Sambit nito.

"I know. I know you." Bawi ni Miguel. "Sophomore, BS Pol Sci. ID No 2014-3560."

Napatawa Si Kate ng malakas. Hindi nya alam kung bakit, pero ang cute at ang funny ng sitwaysson.

"Si Carla yung student assistant sa umaga. Maingay yun. Ako, tahimik lang talaga, ako." Habol pa ni Miguel.

"OK lang ang tahimik. Thank you." Sagot niya habang kinukuha ang mga aklat sa counter at isa-isang nilalagay sa book bag.

"Available na ang mga books na pina-reserve mo. Eto na."

"Wow! Salamat!"

"Paborito mo si Beverly Wico Siy."

Tumango siya habang nakatitig kay Miguel. Ngayon lang niya napansin ang mga mata ni Miguel ay kulay tsokolate. Makapal ang kilay at pilik at may katangusan ang ilong.

"Isang aklat pa lang niya ang nababasa ko. Ikaw, naka tatlo na."

"Nakakatuwang basahin Si Bebang e. Ramdam ko na totoo siyang magsulat."

"Ramdam ko rin yun."

"Sa palagay ko mahalaga yun."

"Yung nakakarandam?"

Natawa na naman Si Kate. At sa kung anong dahilan, alam ni Miguel na may nagawa siyang tama.

"Mahalaga yung katotohanan."

Napabuntong hininga si Miguel. "Kung hindi mo mamasamain, ako na ang magdadala ng mga aklat na hiniram mo. Mabibigat."

"I would appreciate that."

Pinatay ni Miguel ang computer at sabay sila ni Kate na lumabas ng aklatan.

Library Serye: Ang Umiibig na Tunay ay Kayang Maghintay Ep 1 Part 2

Kinse minuto na lang, magsasara na ang aklatan. Babalik na sa dorm si Kate at muli siyang babalik sa aklatan. Bukas, kailangan mahiram na niya ang mga aklat na kailangan niyang basahin para sa Philo subject ngayong semestre. Kung bakit kase naubos ang oras niya sa paglilinis ng drawings niya sa laptop hindi naman siya enrolled sa art class. Naisip niya ang kanyang ama na umaasang magtatapos siya ng Political Science upang ituloy ito sa kursong law. Pwede ko pa naman yata makausap si Dad, isip niya habang nagliligpit ng mga gamit.

"Miguel, ang mga aklat na ito ay para kay Kate." Bigkas ni Ms. G. "May reservation siya sa OPAC at napaaga ang pagbalik ng dating nanghiram."

"Si Kate po? Kilala nyo siya?" Gulat na sabi ni Miguel.

"Miguel naman...pati ikaw kilala ko." Tumalikod si Ms. G na may ngiti sa mga labi.

Palapit na si Kate sa circulation counter at napatingin sa kanya ang student assistant. Kilala niya ito sa mukha lamang. Pero alam niyang Miguel ang kanyang pangalan. Ano pa ang silbi ng mga malalaki nilang IDs? May tuwang nararamdaman Si Kate sa tuwing magpapasalamat siya kay Miguel. Tatango lang ito sa kanya at babalik muli sa kanyang gawain. Gusto sana niyang magpakilala pero, nagaalinlangan siya. What's the point? Kung yung thank you ko nga, halos hindi niya sagutin ng welcome. Ireklamo ko kaya ito sa librarian? May pagkasuplado. Then again, what's the point? Isip niya sa sarili.

Library Serye: Ang Umiibig ng Tunay ay Kayang Maghintay Ep1 Part 1

Episode 1 Part 1: Ibinaba ni Kate ang kanyang bag sa baggage counter. Dala ang kanyang lumang laptop, notebook at ballpens, pumasok siya ng aklatan. Diretso siyang pumunta sa paborito niyang sulok ng aklatan kung saan may malambot na sofa, malamig na aircon at tanawing kaayaaya. Malapit ito sa bintana, tanaw ang mga puno at ang mini-park sa loob ng kanilang kolehiyo.
Dito sa maliit na sulok ng aklatan nakakamtan ni Kate ang katahimikan at ang oras para lumikha. Binuksan niya ang kanyang laptop at hinanap niya sa folder ang bago niyang art project. Kailangan pang pakinisin. Mayamaya, mag-aaral na siya at sa natitirang oras bago siya umuwi sa dorm, hihiramin niya ang bagong aklat ni Beverly Wico Siy.

Sampung minuto bago mag alas-kwatro ng hapon, pinalamig na ni Miguel ang reading room ng aklatan kung saan siya ang naka-assign na student assistant. Sa loob ng tatlong oras, siya ang bantay ng reading room na ito ng aklatan na may apat na palapag. Inihanda na rin niya ang mga bagong aklat nina Egay Samar, Beverly Wico Siy at Bob Ong. Bilin rin ni Ms. Guzman na ihanay sa estante ang mga gawa nina Merlinda Bobis, Nick Joaquin at iba pang mga manunulat na hindi binabasa ng mga mag-aaral nila sa kolehiyo. Ano kaya kung mag suggest ako kay Ms. G ng isang open mic at literary reading isang hapon?, tanong ni Miguel sa sarili. Isang paraan upang mahikayat ang mga mag-aaral na magbasa.

Habang abala si Miguel sa paghahanda ng aklatan para sa kanyang shift, alam niyang dumating na si Kate. May halimuyak ng rosas ang hudyat ng kanyang presensya. Isang bagay na hindi maunawaan ni Miguel kung saan galing at kung ano ang pinagmulan. Pero sigurado siya na sa loob ng tatlong oras, babantayan niya ang aklatan at si Kate. Hihintayin niya itong manghiram ng aklat bago umalis. Matipid na ngiti lamang ang kaya niyang isukli sa pasasalamat nito sa kanya. Bakit hindi ko makuhang magsalita sa harap niya, isip ni Miguel. Isinilid niya ang namumuong inis sa sarili at bumalik sa mga bilin na trabaho ni Ms. G.

Dear School Librarian In Action: Mga Kuwentong Pambata na Taglay ang Saya at May Kakayanang Mapagbago ang Ating Lipunan

Noong Lunes, Setyembre 21, 2015, pinadalhan ako ni Augie Ebreo ng ganitong tanong:
Mga programa at hanay ng kwentong Pilipinong pambanta na kayang maghasik ng kulturang Pilipino ayon sa panlasa ng kasalukuyang panahon at paano po ilalapat ito ng may diin subalit may saya na kayang magpakilos ng pagbabago ng ating lipunan?
Bago pa man ako nagbigay kay Augie ng sagot, tinanong ko muna kung para saan ang pangangalangan niya ng mga aklat pambata na may kakayanang makapagbago ng ating lipunan. Gagawa pala siya ng isang storytelling program kung saan ang mga bata at kabataan ang mag-aaral ng kuwento upang ipalabas ito sa isang puppet show. Subalit, may iba pang pakay si Augie. Ito ay ang pagnanais niya na "makapaglahad ng kwentong umuugnay sa kasalukuyang takbo ng mga pangyayari ng kasalukuyang panahon. May kapangyarihan po kasi ang kwento na magbuo at magwasak o magporma ng ugali ng isang tao. Mga kwentong radikal pero mahinahaon pa rin ang dating sa mga bata na di magtutulak sa marahas na kaisipan".

Narito ang sagot ko sa kanya.

Active non-violence ba ang stand na gusto mong iparating? Kase, limitado ang printed book at fiction pero, pwede ka gumamit ng biographies nina Gandhi, Edith Stein at Martin Luther King. Gawan mo ito ng script o short play, musical o puppet show. Pwede mo rin gamitin ang Modern Day Heroes ng The Bookmark.

Baka makatulong rin sa iyo ang folklore. Mamimili ka lang talaga ng kuwento na may concept at theme ng Justice, Peace at Integrity. Halimbawa, ang Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears ni Veena Aardema. Isang African Folk Tale ito. Yung Alamat ng Ampalaya (Adarna House) ni Augie Rivera, social justice ang tema ng alamat. Ang parusa sa magnanakaw na Ampalaya ay ang nakuha niyang lahat ng lasa, kulay at ganda kaya siya ay naging mapait. Yung Alamat ng Lamok (Anvil), ni Christine Bellen, kuwento ng paglilinis. Kailangan linisin natin ang sarili, ang kapaligiran at ang bayan para matalo natin ang salot ng lipunan. Ang mensahe ng kuwento ay kalinisan at katapangan. Dapat may tapang tayong maglinis muna ng sarili para maalagaan natin ang kapaligiran at hindi tayo masakop ng mga maduduming higante.
Pwede rin ang The Greediest of Rajahs and the Whitest of Clouds (Adarna House) ni Honoel Ibardolaza. Tungkol sa isang sakim at corrupt na rajah. Makamit niya ang parusa dahil sa kanyang kasakiman. Basahin mo rin ang Pilandok series, lalo na yung tungkol kay Datu Usman (Adarna House). Ang mensahe nito ay napapanahon. Kailangang maging kritikal sa pag-iisip upang hindi maloko ng mga sakim na pinuno. Ang kuwento ni Ingolok (Cacho Publishing), ni Rene Villanueva, tungkol sa mga aliens na kain lang ng kain hangang sa kapaligiran na nila ang kinakain nila. Naubos ang kanilang planeta.

Napukaw ni Augie Ebreo ang aking atensyon na mag-isip at maghanap pa ng mga aklat pambata na may tema ng pagbabago para sa ating lipunan. Abangan ang ikalawang post, sapagkat, may susunod pa!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AKLATAN 2015 Workshop

The 36th MIBF Moments and Highlights

Photo with Luis Gatmaitan MD has become an MIBF tradition.
We came. We bought books. We had fun!

That is what book fairs are all about. There were good discounts on books in the Anvil and National Bookstore booths. For my library purchases, I had 20% off from Adarna House and Anvil Publishing. Even my books at the Lampara House booth were at a discounted price. Apart from this, the MIBF was a time to touch base with friends in the industry.

Augie Rivera's Alamat ng Ampalaya turns 20 this year and its bitter taste is as strong as ever. He also has a Martial Law story book, Isang Harding Papel, sold during the fair. Your library must definitely acquire it! Mailin Paterno and Ompong Remigio are both back from a long hiatus. Paterno's Mang Andoy's Signs is creating quite a stir from writer friends, earning good reviews from peers and friends in Philippine Children's Literature. Remigio's Bruhaha-Bruhihi is still a best seller after all these years. Meeting her in person was for me, a moment indeed! She was bold and large! As bold and as large as the stories she has written. I have told Bruhaha-Bruhihi many times in read aloud sessions and storytelling time and once, I put up a shadow puppet play of the book to preschoolers. Her stories are a lot of fun!

Bagay na bagay itong planner na ito sa akin!
I also managed to snag Tahanan's Chorva Planner. Rhandee Garlitos' finger prints are all over! These are perfect Christmas give-aways to friends and colleagues at work. How could you go wrong with your plans for the week with the opening Araw-arawin ang Ariba!? And you end your week with this: Rarampa na lola moh! Gay lingo may be an invention to hide meaning at the same time, assert gay pride, but its witty and humorous play on language makes it accessible to everyone.

My books, excluding the 12 stories in the STARS Kinder package
My comic book and graphic novel purchases included Russel Molina's and Ian Sta. Maria's Sixty Six and Piko, an anthology by enthusiastic and prolific comic book creators in the country today headed by Manix Abrera. Sixty Six is amazing! When is part two coming out?! Speaking of sequels, I am excited to read the next adventures of Momoy Lulumboy and Janus Silang. Soon. Very soon!

Lastly, I had my moment as an author in the MIBF when two of our books, My Daddy! My One and Only (Jomike Tejido, illustrator) and Dear Nanay (Liza Flores, illustrator) were sold out! The sales team of Lampara had to collect copies from nearby branches of Precious Pages Bookstore outside SMX to replenish. On Saturday, I was signing for Tale of Two Dreams (Bernadette Solina Wolf, illustrator) and Big Sister, our new book with Ruben "Totet" De Jesus as illustrator. It was a great experience collaborating with these talented artists of Ang INK!

This inspires me to write! More!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My "Big" Sisters

On September 18, 2015, our new book, Big Sister (Lampara Books, 2015) will be launched at the 36th Manila International Book Fair along with twenty four titles of new children's books, The venue for the launch is at the stage area where the Lampara Books' booth is close by. Ruben "Totet" De Jesus is the illustrator whom I have entrusted to render the visual narrative of my story.

Working with Totet was a lot of fun! When he showed me the studies, I knew he would give "Ate" an attitude and character that matched my implied descriptions. It took us a year and a few months to finish the book, but the time spent was worth it. Totet dedicated the book to his sisters. Since I am sister-less, I dedicated the book to my sisters in friendship.

Tarie Sabido, PBBY President, is my sister in the Philippine Children's Book industry. We always take selfies when we see each other, which is not very often. But when we do, apart from selfies, we weave dreams for the industry.

Dianne De Las Casas, my co-author for Tales From the 7,000 Ilses: Filipino Folk Stories, is my "big" sister. She showed me how to turn dreams into reality. I miss her so much since she lives in New Orleans, LA, USA. I still dream of visiting her in the states one day.

And of course, there's Mona Dy, who sadly I do not have a selfie or photo on file. But, our friendship just about describes the photo above: good food, art and culture, a common love for coffee, books and conversations. We spent a weekend in Baguio last November, 2014 and I sure look forward to seeing her soon.

So, I ask you, dear reader, who is your big sister and what makes her special? Send me an answer and you get a free copy of our new book. 
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