Friday, November 24, 2006

National Book Week 2006

Today is the launching of the the 2006 National Book Week. Libraries all over the Philippines have organized activities to celebrate the occassion. Librarians have filled up their leaves and asked permission to attend seminars, lectures and forum for continuous education. For more of these, the calendar of activities of the NBW may be viewed via the UPLSAA website.

What makes this celebration a notable one for me is its theme, "Bata, Bata...Halina't Magbasa". It seems that, after a long while, Filipino Librarians have finally recognized children, books, reading and the role that libraries and librarians play to develop and nurture it.

I may not be in the forefront of the NBW this year, unlike in years past, but I sure would be doing my own little way to promote it. Tomorrow, November 25, 2006 will be my seminar-workshop at Powerbooks. I will be sharing with my collegaues in the profession trends in school library management as well as, current theories why developing libraries for children is a must in this day and age. My seminar begins at 1.00 pm. This is an activity of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People. And though it is not included in the NBW calendar, we, in the Board are happy to have activities in congruence to NBW.

Apart from this, I will also be busy tomorrow morning for the KUTING General Assembly. We will be welcoming new members to the organization. Honestly, I still shudder at the thought of being KUTING officer. Perhaps there is something in the stars that made me KUTING President this year. As a librarian who writes for children, I never dreamed of becoming its president. Then again, maybe, it has a purpose. For after all, KUTING does not only aim to help writers of children grow in their craft but promotes Philippine Children's Literature too.

I hope the second objective justifies my presence in KUTING.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Meeting Emong Borlongan

I missed the launching of Becky Bravo's book, The Rocking Horse, last month. The book's illustrations were paintings done by Elmer Borlongan. When I learned that SAS was planning a training-team building session at the Bolipata Farm in Zambales, I was excited to go. Not only did I have the chance to bond with other SAS trainors and facilitators, I got to meet Elmer Borlongan as well!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Salanga Award

I have written in this blog many times on the Salanga Award given by the PBBY. This year, I was again, judge in the contest. And what good entries we have this year! This week, Ani Almario, PBBY Secretariat, will send a press release of the winners. But before I let you in on the experience of judging this year, allow me to say some things about the award.

Just to establish recall and context, the Salanga is given by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY)for the best story written for children annualy. It was named after Alfredo Salanga, one of PBBY's founding members and advocate of Philippine Children's Literature. Very soon, the Alcala Prize, after comic book creator, Larry Alcala, will be opened for illustrators to draw the story that won first prize.

It can be said that the Salanga is the Philippines' counterpart to America's Newbery, the Alcala to the Caldecott. While the Newbery and the Caldecott awards are determined by librarians (yes, Virginia, they have a strong voice when it comes to recommending and recognizing quality literature for children), the Salanga and the Alcala prizes are handed over by advocates of children's literature in the Philippines - non other than, the PBBY.

The PPBBY is composed of sectoral representatives from the field of education, writing, publishing, illustrating, book selling and review, storytelling, research and media.

This year, there are three honorable mention and a first prize winner. Take note that entries for this year consists of issues once considered "taboo" for children to read. This is a good sign that Philippine children's literature is continuously on the move. Homosexuality is one example of a theme that would not be entered in such a contest five or ten years ago. This year, we have around two or three stories on homosexuality to talk about. Death surprised us this year via an entry that confronts the issue straight on. Children are not spared of poverty and disease, thus, a handful of stories dealing on coping mechanisms and getting sick and thriftiness found their way in the judges' top ten.

But of course, there were entries that speak of traditional and tried formats of stories for children. When can our writers, particularly those who are starting out in this promising side of the industry, realize that literature for kids can also entertain. Many still perceive children's literature to be a vehicle to teach a moral. All stories have morals, even the bad ones. Now, how the concept and theme was written and presented for kids to understand and enjoy spells the difference.

The craft of writing for children is for another post.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Creating Classroom Libraries

Below is the PowerPoint presentation of my workshop session for the Petron Programang Kaakbay Conference. Delivered on October 28, 2006, I shared with public school teachers the importance and rationale of setting classroom libraries. They were also provided basic tips to organize and develop basic classrrom library collection for their students.

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