Sunday, October 30, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Beast

After reading a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast early this year, I was skeptical to pick up Marian Churchland's Beast, her first original graphic novel. Not another retelling please, so I told myself. Surprise! It was far from the classic folktale, but it was strangely familiar.

Beast by Marian Churchland

I think that did the trick - the familiar is mixed with the new and the modern.

Collette, a young sculptor was commissioned by a mysterious benefactor to carve from stone, the most precious marble, an image of the man who asked her to do the project. Collette found herself drawn to his story of love and loss that happened centuries ago.

The story is indeed shrouded in mystery. I had to suspend my disbelief and consider its genre to be truly convinced that reason is not the reading stance I need to take to appreciate the material. It is in fact, very emo, as my fourteen year old son told me. He enjoyed the graphic novel so easily relating to the lost love and unrequited affections of the Beast to his object of desire. Who needs logic when one speaks of love lost transcending time and space? Like Collette, I struggled with reality blurring with the mysterious.

Thanks to its fantastic illustrations of black and white and sepia. It is elegantly done. The gothic feel of the material is present from start to finish.

Three and half bookmarks over five.

School Library Display: Graphic Novels and Art Books Corner

One way to get teens reading -- book displays!

Having set up two shelves of graphic novels and art books increased readership and book circulation. Will make this a regular fixture in the library.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to Back Graphic Novels Review

I am back to blogging. The flu hit me hard over the past week and, following my doctor's advice, I took time to rest. Gave me so much to think about -- my health, nutrition and growing old. Enough said, here's a series of graphic novels review I promised posted in the blog for Teen Read Week 2011.

Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, Faith Erin Hicks

Camp Fielding is the ideal camp for teens whose parents wish them to become perfect. It's where smart kids go and those who are underachievers turn up clever and academically superior. Jenna and Lucas, belonging to the later, were sent to Camp Fielding to be reformed. Turns out that teens in Camp Fielding transform due to an out of this world experiment.

The storytelling is exciting and fast paced. Definitely, the characters are average teens many young adult readers can relate to. The way they deal with the problem at hand is reflective of what any teenager would do. The development of the romance between Jenna and Lucas is expected. The illustrations, which are rendered in the style of cartoons with sharp lines and dark colors as background makes for a good companion to the adventure and gruesome climax and turn of events.

The downside, the camp director is the villain. The adults are apprentice to the evil and alien experiment done on the teens.

Three book marks over five.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
An autobiography of Raina Telgemeier about teeth, braces, dental drama and growing up. From middle grades to high school, Raina tells of her journey to self acceptance and self identity. Amazing how such a profound inner discovery could begin with a pair of broken teeth. The author-illustrator sure knows her young adult material that writing on a first hand experience could be so sincerely done! Great illustrations as well following the traditional comic book style of Archie.

I'm recommending the graphic novel for bibliotherapy. Four bookmarks out of five.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ebook Issues

It has come to this.

Developing a virtual and digital collection in a library is inevitable. The resurrected ebook sensation of 2010 swept the country with fear, doubt, anxiety and to tech savvy creatures and marketing mavens, excitement. It's a highway to big earnings for those who produce the technology but for librarians, it is another road towards change. And change must be managed before adopting and adapting the (not so new) ideas and paradigms. After all, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Be careful. Be cautious. Be humble.

The rise of the ereaders and ebooks poses many challenges and considerations to the libraian: budget, technology, collection development policy, technology, and behavior and needs of information consumers and creators. Like in any initiative or project, administrative support is necessary for the project to fly. Consider continuous professional growth as well. Having said these, a librarian must assess and study his/her environment and the requirements of installing ereaders and providing an ebook collection in the library.

Below are library blogs that discuss the management, limitations, advantages and benefits of ebooks.

School Libraries, RIP? The debate begins... Mark Steed writes, The more I think about it, the more I find myself questioning why we are still spending money on books and on the School library.

Ebook Management for SchoolKerrie Smith provides a scenario of how schools manage their ebook collection from an Australian experience.

The Librarian In Black vents out -- I care about digital content in libraries. And I am about to lose my cool in a big way. No more patience, no more waiting for advocacy groups to do their work, and certainly no more trusting vendors to negotiate good deals for us with the publishers. I am angry, I am informed, and I am ready to fight. Read the fill article on the Library ebook Revolution

Meredith Farkas on Information Wants To Be Free, enjoys using her Kindle but expresses some concerns for ereaders and ebooks use in the library.

If there's one thing we need to do to start taming our own ebook issues, it is that we have to know how others have begun and then, examining our own library context, see how we can do it. Call it a feasibility study. Ebooks are cool. Ereaders are great. But the wise know better.

Graphic Novel Review: Ghostopolis

I'm under the weather. Still nursing a flu but the virus does not stop me from blogging. Here's my brief review on Ghostopolis by Doug Tennapel.

What is your image of God?

For creatures in Ghostopolis, God, or rather Jesus, is twelve feet tall, black and dressed in aviator attire. He built Ghostopolis for the dead, ghouls and ghosts, mummies and zombies, spectres and wil-o-the-wisp, skeletons and spirits. Lost souls who wandered accidentally or by choice in Ghostopolis are led by Joe, aided by the Skeleton King, to the "light".

This is not what Ghostopolis is about, but partly so.

It begins with Garth, a young boy whose incurable disease rendered him hopeless. Frank Gallows, a ghost hunter who sends the dead and the like back to Ghostopolis accidentally brought him there. Thanks to Claire Voyant, Frank had a chance at love and redemption. Garth is the hero of the day defeating the evil Vaugner from his rule of Ghostopolis.

What worked
The storyline is interesting and the way Tennapel weaved the plot to a climax is engaging. It's a story of hope, love and faith so its feel good ending is just right. I like the idea of a place for the dead and "creatures of the night". My imagination prompted me to believe this. Yes, a suspension of disbelief! There must be a place for the dead and creatures of Halloween. And souls who need to see the light are guided towards it. Thus, the sub plot of Joe is inserted. Garth is the chosen one and evil is vanquished.

There is also enough humor to go around. The illustrations helped visually in explaining the back stories of each character.

What did not work
There are some loop holes along the way. For example, Garth seeing his son, old and gray before leaving Ghostopolis needed further seeding earlier on. What made him saw his son? Is this a gift or reward for him? An assurance that his disease will be cured? That he will live to grow up and raise a family? These are some questions left unanswered.

I did not get that part. Perhaps, I should reread the graphic novel. Three bookmarks over five.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When The Search is Sweet

Trawling the web these days, I have discovered some valuable search engines and websites for school librarians. I still love Google and my loyalty remains but searching for meaning in the big wide online world can derail and way lay even the most focused reader. So, I'm sharing what I found. I'm still exploring the online resources and search engines myself and it's been fun.

Sweet Search is a search engine for students. It claims that -- Every Web site in SweetSearch has been evaluated by our research experts. I've installed it my browser. It has categorized search engines for emergent learners, Social studies teachers and educators in general. Finding Dulcinea the Librarian of the Internet has web guides on a variety of subject areas, from art and entertainment to travel. It also has a neat web list of articles on world events.

And then there's School Library Advocacy that brings together news, articles, blogs and events on school library advocacy. Curated by Karen Bonano, School Library Advocacy has a lot to offer the school librarian who aims to know what's out there in the web.

With these Web 2.0 apps, one has to think smart to use the technology responsibly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Zeus King of the Gods

For the next seven days, I will be posting reviews of graphic novels I've read so far. This is in congruence to the celebration of Teen Read Week. This year's theme is Reading for the FUN of it: Picture It @ your library. In the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) website, you would find support materials, neat ideas and promotional resources in celebrating Teen Read Week in your library.

So here's the blog's first graphic novel review. One down, seven more to go!

The Olympians: Zeus King of the Gods by George O'Connor

I was in fifth grade when I read about the creation of the world according to the Greeks. It was a strange story. My context was too limited to fully appreciate Gaea's love for her children and Chronus' abominable hate for his off springs. Then came Edith Hamilton in freshman college. Everything changed from there. Visiting Greece is an item in my bucket list I wish to cross out soon. For the meantime, I just have to satisfy myself with reading and viewing anything Greek in books, travelogues and documentaries.

Recently, I came upon George O'Connor's graphic novel, The Olympians: Zeus King of the Gods. The cover design is fierce. The image of a young Zeus holding his thunder amidst Titans and Cylopses promises an exciting read.

And it was, indeed!

O'Connor's visual storytelling, mixing shadows, clouds and a lot of indigo at the start of the novel creates intrigue. Chronus is up to no good. Gaea has her own sneaky ways of dealing with things. No wonder, the Olympians are complicated creatures. The Titans, Cyclopses and monsters seem to represent the natural catastrophes that beset the natural order of the universe. His illustrations at the opening pages suggest more than the story between Gaea and Chronus but the very process in which the physical world changes and continues to evolve.

Then came Zeus who looks, walks and talks very much like any mortal. He looks every inch a man, yet powerful and cunning. With his siblings, they fought and defeated Chronus, the evil father who took control of time and space. I like this rendition. The early Olympians working together to claim their place in the universe is a fresh depiction of the soap operatic way they're presented in movies and TV shows.

I also enjoyed the part where Chronus spits out his off springs relegating each to a part of the world where the gods became master of that domain. Poseidon landing in the sea. Hades falling in the underworld. Demeter flying down to farm and field. Zeus catching Hera from the skies. It was attraction at first sight. But we who are familiar with the Greek myths know that Hera had a tough time taming the King of the Gods.

I'm giving the graphic novel four bookmarks over five. The illustrations are well thought of. It bridged my imagination to constructs of the real and the physical world. The narration and storytelling are done with enough drama, emotion, promises of wonderful stories left untold. I want to get a copy of the other titles in the series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Twittering Librarian

I have installed a Twitter app in the blog last year to widen the reach of my posts. While participating in an online workshop, I was given readings on the use of Web 2.0 tools for library services and programs. I thought of sharing this image on Getting to Know Twitter via the Bit Rebels.

Apart from this, tips and tools for using and integrating Web 2.0 in teaching is aplenty. Cybrary Man's Educational Websites has tons of educational hashtags to use. I still have to explore and use them myself. Emerging Edtech identifies the many ways to use Twitter in education.

I have a Twitter account, but I still yet to use the Web 2.0 app in my work. It's pretty exciting given the many ways it can be applied in the library. But, as always, ICT integration should be done in context. Oh! The many things and many ways of learning online!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The 1st Mae Astrid Tobias Writing Workshop

KUTING (Kwnetista ng mga Tsikiting) has been very busy the past weeks mentoring young children to become good writers. Here's the good news from fellow KUTING, Ime Morales.

The family of the late children's book writer Mae Astrid Tobias, in cooperation with KUTING, sponsored the 1st Mae Astrid Tobias Writing Workshop for Children. Chosen students from the UP Integrated School participated and were mentored by KUTING members Augie Rivera, MJ Tumamac, Joem Antonio, Sierra Mae Paraan, Liwliwa Malabed, Dang Bagas, Ime Morales, and Kuting president Lalaine Aquino. Astrid was a former president of KUTING and a graduate of UPIS.

Select photos from the workshop --

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Posts on Information Literacy

A recent forum in an online workshop where I'm currently enrolled prompted me to go back to this blog's archives and cull out posts I've written about Information Literacy (IL).

This four-part post on IL is a paper I presented on a local seminar on IL by the Philippine Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science (PATLS) way back in 2006.

Information Literacy at the School Level

The Impetus for Information Literacy

Research on IL

IL in Philippine School Libraries

What follows are IL posts on actual library practice I've done through the years. Wow. It's a walk down memory lane, I tell you.

IL and the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

IL for Grade 2 Pupils


IL Lesson Plan for Grade 6

Back in 2006, The Rizal Library at the Ateneo de Manila University hosted an IL Conference. Updates are linked here

With the Regional IASL Conference scheduled in April 2012 in Bacolod, IL is once again a topic for presentation and discussion. This should be exciting!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Order for Tales From the 7,000 Isles

Tales From the 7,000 Isles Filipino Folk Stories is already published!

It's available in the US and orders for the book can be made online. Visit ABC-CLIO's website for more information. In Manila, Scholastic Book Fairs Philippines shall be the official distributor. If you know a Scholastic Book agent, you may place advance orders from him/her.

I have been in touch with my friend and co-author, Dianne de Las Casas, brainstorming and planning for a possible launching of the book in Manila sometime next year. For the meantime, keep checking out the blog and my FB page for info on pre-launch activities and book parties.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Day Steve Jobs Died

My first encounter with an Apple computer was at the Curriculum Library of the "old" International School of Manila. This was around the early 80's. It was a cute looking monster. And expensive. So my mom told me. It's a MacIntosh, she said. It has a mouse.

A decade and some after, I was lent one and used the cute little monster for my word processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheet work in the library. I got to use the mouse. I loved the icons and the ease with which I could transfer files via drop and click.

After another decade, I got my first MacBook. For the next five years, it became an indispensable attachment. I wrote my first book in that Macbook; made my first podcast; constructed my first video and carried the sexy beast in all of my workshops, seminars, forums and talks. When I carelessly soaked the sexy beast in iced tea, I cried buckets. I blamed myself big time.

It took me months to buy a new one. It will take me months to buy accessories. One thing is for sure though, once a Mac user, always a Mac user. Steve Jobs' brilliant little gadget made me look tech savvy. It made me think smart. Using a Mac eliminated geeky-ness. It made things easy and less complicated. For this, I will always be thankful for Steve Jobs even though an Apple costs a fortune. It's worth it.

So when the overwhelming expression of grief inundated Twitter and Facebook on the day he died, it was proof that the man has reached the status of legend.

We ordinary people do not know what goes on behind those walls at Apple, but we who use its technology certainly know the benefits of owning a MacBook, an Ipod, an iPad, an iPhone. And the fantastic thing about it is that Steve Jobs, knew what to do with the time he's been given upon his return to Apple. Cancer did not stop him from pushing the limits of imagination and creativity. More than the gadget, it his drive and enigmatic personal life that is making him larger than life.

Thanks again Steve! You left us with Apple. That's cool. You also showed us how to live life to the fullest. That's awesome!

Photo sources:
Apple logo with SJ's silhouette -
The tribute logo created by 19-year-old Jonathan Mak Long swept the Web this week. He told Yahoo! about his inspiration: "With Jobs gone, Apple is literally missing a piece."

Steve Jobs on the cover of Time -

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here's looking at you, Steve!

Offer a prayer. A minute of silence. A toast or two.

Notes on the 19th Children's Month Opening Ceremonies @ NLP

I have to admit that when I got the invitation from the National Library of the Philippines to do a lecture on storytelling for Children's Month, I was pleasantly surprised. I did not know that Children's Month is celebrated in the Philippines. Here is a press release sent to me by Ms. Dolores Carangui on Children's Month.

National Children’s Month has been celebrated every October since 1993, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 267 issued by then President Fidel Valdez Ramos. The Proclamation was issued in line with Article II, Section 13, of the Constitution that
emphasizes the importance of the role of the child in the Filipino family and in nation-building. The Constitution further affirms the vital role of the youth and declares that the state shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being and inculcate in them patriotism and nationalism.

The annual observance of National Children’s Month is led by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), a government agency mandated to promote the welfare and development of children in the country.

The initiatives undertaken all year which escalate during the annual celebration of National Children’s Month are meant to fulfill the CWC’s mission to ensure protection of children against all forms of abuse and exploitation, defend children’s rights, and ensure that they are given priority attention on all levels both by government and civil society.

This year’s theme is: “Local Council for the Protection of Childen para sa Bright Child : Pakilusin, Palakasin, Pagtulungan Natin!

When Dir. Antonio Santos delivered his opening remarks, he was so proud to inform everyone that the NLP is spearheading its celebration this year. He was happy to share the literacy development initiatives of the NLP and the many organizations involved in this. It would but seem fitting that such organizations collaborate to empower the child. Dir. Santos made mention of the National Children's Book Day celebration by the PBBY every July and how, the NLP extends this in the regions.

It was definitely good news to my ears when he told guests and friends present in the opening ceremonies last Monday 3 October, of NLP's trip to Davao and the public library there. They launched literacy activities there last July in conjunction with National Children's Book Day. The National Commission for Library and Information Science has launched once more the search for the best public library with a strong children's library services. Such wonderful news indeed!

I would surely keep myself posted on these literacy initiatives. Congratulations and more power to the NLP!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Learning Disabilities

October 7 – 8, 2011
College of Education Training Center

Learning disability (LD) is a condition where a person (across ages) has difficulty in learning academic tasks in spite of an average or better mental ability. Persons with LD have deficits that slow down higher cognitive processes and result in specific learning problems in particular academic areas. The LD persons can be helped to develop to their maximum potential using specific teaching methods and strategies under conditions of the zone of proximal development.

Understanding and working with persons with LD are still at infancy in the Philippine Educational system. There is a need to help teachers from elementary, secondary and even tertiary levels in understanding LD and learning strategies to help them fulfill their potential.

General Objective
To deepen teachers, guidance counsellors, parents and tutors’ understanding of learning disabilities, how these impede academic performance and to develop teaching strategies in helping these learners

Specific Objectives
At the end of the two day seminar-workshop, the participants shall have:

• understood different kinds of learners, their abilities and learning styles;
• identified impediments to learning;
• learned strategies in teaching different kinds of learners; and
• developed appropriate materials to assist in their learning

Speakers include Dr. Letticia Penano-Ho, Clinical Psychologist; Dr. Randy Pe Benito, Neurologist; Prof. Portia Padilla, Reading Specialist; Celani Trajano and Michelle Agas, Reading Clinicians.

For inquiries call Sarah Labrador @ 7242038 or send SMS to 09398178594.

It's World Teacher's Day

For the teachers who taught me that I can find my own voice, this one is for you!

Happy Teacher's Day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Author: Samantha Penney,

Monday, October 3, 2011

19th Children's Month @ the National Library of the Philippines

Photos from the Opening Ceremonies of the 19th Children's Month at the National Library of the Philippines. More details in the next blog posts.

The ribbon that opened to the exhibit of an ideal children's library/reading center set-up.

The program for this morning's activities. I cut the ribbon alongside CLAPI (Children's Literature Association of the Philippines) President, Ms. Emi Villanueva.

Trap banners that highlight the event and celebration of the 19th Children's Month.

The strategy used by NLP to drum up the event's theme is storytelling as a means to strengthen and empower the child.

Congratulations to Dir. Antonio Santos and librarians and staff of the NLP!
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