The National Children's Book Day was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines yesterday, July 17, 2007. The usual ceremony of awarding the Salanga and Alcala prizes were, of course, the highlight of the day. New titles of books by eight publishing houses were presented to the interest and delight of the audience. There were more than twenty titles released and some will be launched in 2007, so people in the industry are happy about this continued, if not, rapid growth of children's book publishing today.
It was Butch Dalisay who graced the occasion. Sharing his reading experiences as a child, he attributed a well stocked library and a very good reading program to his life long love for books and reading.
He remembers with fondness, the Rizal Provincial Library, the public library that satiated his reading appetite. That library is still alive today and can be found in a relatively new building in Pasig City's local government area.
With books and reading, Mr. Dalisay saw a world that is bigger and grander than his own. This prompted him to know more, to learn more and to become more of the boy he used to be. He is continuously learning, even to this day when he has received all possible literary award in the country and overseas.
At the end of his speech, he encouraged schools and libraries for more reading contests other than talent and sports contest that seem to be all too popular to the growing Filipino child. For writers and publishers, stories that matter and help readers become better Filipinos. What exactly is "Filipino" means so much in this day and age. Indeed, this is a far greater challenge.