Friday, March 27, 2009

Experiencing Magic

Prof. Portia Padilla of the UP Diliman, REGALE, sent me a paper on PBBY's 25 Best Loved Children's Book Characters. In the next few days, I will be posting her paper in parts. After which, as a colleague in the industry, I will give my response.

A Psycho-educational Look at the Best-Loved Filipino Children’s Book Characters


The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), after surveying hundreds of public school children all over the country (with the significant help of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation), came up with a list of 25 Best-Loved Children’s Book Characters. In view of the aforementioned, this paper focuses on the question: Why do Filipino children love these characters? To answer this question, this paper makes a content analysis of the stories using a psycho-educational framework. Findings show that Filipino children love these characters and their stories because they are magical. They are magical because they are 1) mirrors that hold up children’s reflections of themselves, and 2) are windows to places and things that children have, until then, only imagined in their games and dreams. As reflections of themselves, children identify with the characters because a) these somehow satisfy their needs; b) their stories are told in the children’s language; and c) they show the Filipino personality and character. As windows to other places and things, these characters and their stories provide their child readers different experiences of enchantment. These fantastic elements are present in the stories be they a) traditional tale, b) modern fantasy, or c) contemporary realistic fiction. This paper closes with the recommendation to have both children and adults read the stories – at home and in school – for the magic of the best-loved characters to live on.

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