Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Rivera Looks Back and Writes Ahead

Augie Rivera, scriptwriter and Palanca award winner has a new story for young readers available online. Elias and His Tress, an adaptation from the French folklore, The Man Who Planted Tress by Jean Giono can be read via the CANVAS website. CANVAS is a non-stock, non-profit organization committed to promoting Philippine art, culture and environment. Thus, the story is accompanied with lucid illustrations by the promising young painter,Romeo Forbes.

What strikes me as awesome in Rivera's adaptation is the interplay of genres. He has successfully blended historical fiction with folklore. More so, he has enriched the story of Elias and His Trees with the unique colors of Philippine family life and culture. Rivera's ability to dabble with culture and history comes into full circle with Elias and His Trees. Having written fifteen stories for children that highlight the distinctive Filipino spirit and identity that is both contemporary and fresh, Rivera has achieved this trademark that is truly his own.

It took him three to four months to finish the story. But it had been four years since he last released a book. This time around, he is one of the few Filipino Children's Literauture Writer to have an ebook.

Elias and His Trees is a calming read. It is one of those stories that would quiet you down, prompting the reader to reflect. Rivera claims that his influence while writing was Hayao Miyazaki. The narrative is fluid and the characters are convincingly real.The opening lines of the story are an immediate invitation to reading it. Every Filipino, young and old alike, can relate to the mystery attributed to moles. How the story ended up as an eco-fable that sings the importance of one's cultural heritage and environmental awareness is something the reader is out to discover.

Read the story and let it touch you. The story has something for all of us, Filipinos. When you do, I further suggest that you share it with a child- your son, daughter, nieces, nephews, students, neighbor, even the child in you. Let Rivera take you back to history and allow him, the writer, to show a glimpse of our future in our own context.

After all, we are what we were.

June 13, 2005 is the soft launching and painting exhibit of Elias and His Trees at the Glorietta 4, 6:00 pm. The book is in paperback and hardcover, with an accompanying audio CD recording in English and Filipino. Music by Paolo Santos.

Other books by Augie Rivera - Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya, Xilef, Alamat ng Sibuyas, Burnay : Ang Batang Palayok and Batang Historyador Series
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