Friday, March 30, 2012

Picture! Picture!: Blood and Flowers

Thank you, Penny Blubaugh!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Books to Movies Adaptation (Part 1)

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins’ dystopian novel for young adults opened in local theaters last 21 March to the delight of many fans. I tried my best to collect titles representative of the different genres though most of the books in the list carry the same themes found in the The Hunger Games. Dystopian literature is the trend in reading and in publishing but If you have your own list, share it with us!

Let’s create a ripple effect!

Let’s READ!

1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The identity of a mysteriously burned man affected three people who were picking up pieces of their lives at the end of World War II. A nurse, a sapper and a thief form constructs of the English Patient. By doing so, it enabled them to fill in the gaps of their own emptiness.

2. Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Three friends, cloned to be organ donors, grapple with the roles designed for them by science and society. If dystopian literature is your kind of reading material, include this book in your reading list this year!

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A lawyer defends a black man charged with rape. It’s a storyline that’s been used before but Harper Lee’s narrative style is a tactile experience.

4. The Reader by Bernard Schlink

Michael Berg, a young law student, witnesses the trial of his lover who took part in the burning of a church where 300 Jewish women died. A post-holocaust story that describes the painful process survivors go through years after the war.

5. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

A crime novel whose popularity was surpassed by its movie adaptation. The Godfather portrays Michael “Mikey” Corleone’s hesitance to accept the role bestowed upon him by his father as head of the family and its business, that is, running a criminal organization.

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

A fantasy novel set in graphic format, Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess team up to offer readers an escape from the mundane and non-magical world. Tristan Thorn entered the Wall as his father did seventeen years ago and he came out from the Wall a changed man.

7. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

An unauthorized biography of John Forbes Nash Jr., whose journey to professional success (Nobel Prize in Economics) was marred by his personal battle with schizophrenia.

8. Dracula by Bram Stoker

The seminal gothic novel that inspired artists to create versions of their own, Stoker’s Dracula captures the horror and mystery of the man from Transylvania in epistolary format.

Making it to the list are two Filipino novels --

9. Dekada ‘70 by Lualhati Bautista

A family drama set during the Martial Law years. Amanda Bartolome, a mother of five boys, experienced how her family went through changes in the face of social, political and ideological upheaval that shaped the decade.

10. Kangkong 1896 by Ceres Alabado

A historical fiction set in 1896 when Filipinos took up arms to fight for independence from Spain. Alabado narrates Plorante Acabo’s coming of age journey at the height of the revolution.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Librarian In the News: On the Digital Divide

And so the Manila Bulletin interview I had last February finally made it to print. Some friends sent a message via text congratulating me on the feature article. Many contacts in Facebook linked and shared the article on their wall.

Thank you very much.

I tried my best to answer all the questions as best as I could but going through the article several times over made me realize I have not answered some topics or issues sufficiently. For example, the question on digitization of books and how, if I were not a librarian, would I use the library. I did answer the question, but there's an implied thought to the question being this: Let’s pretend for a minute that you were involved in the world’s biggest book digitization effort. How do you personally use the library? How do you search for and access information in general? How do you read books?

This is what I would like to add: Book digitization is the trend, but using the library is still essential in this age of digitization because, libraries close in the gap of the digital divide. The digital divide is not on technology alone, but also on how these tools are used to make life better; to arrive at well informed opinions from the use of technology; and to comprehend the technological environment that surround us, deriving meaning and constructs of knowledge from it. For a country that is forever developing, functional libraries are crucial to develop thinking skills and self empowerment.

Google, Wikipedia, social networking sites are all cool stuff. I love technology and yes, I blog. But these tools, fancy and fast, as they seem to be can only be accessed by those who can afford to have an Internet connection at home or the budget to be called technologically advanced. The library has structures and systems that allow for an INFORMATION COMMONS. The library's use of technology to virtually upload this information commons online would mean going the extra mile for library patrons who do not have access to technology at home but can freely do so in the library nearest them.

I hold the same belief on ebooks and in developing an ebook collection. The existing marketing strategy for ebooks is very aggressive. I fear that by being so hot and gung-ho on ebooks and the acquisition of ereaders, the industry leaves behind a great number of people who also have the RIGHT TO READ and deserve ACCESS TO INFORMATION.

Again, I am not against ebooks. I do not own an iPad or a Kindle, but technology has taught me to be resourceful and ingenuous. I have a Kindle app and an Adobe Shockwave in my MacBook. I keep a directory of free ebook providers. I read electronically given the means I could afford to have.

But I am a librarian.

And one of my many roles is to narrow the gap between the haves and the have nots through effective and efficient library services and programs. It is not an easy job, I tell you.

I choose to do it.

And I will die trying.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Filipino School Librarian: Jude Gorospe

Mr. Jude Gorospe, head librarian of Miriam College's Library Media Center, High School Department, shares with us the paths he has taken as school librarian. As current president of the Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc (PASLI), Mr. Gorospe leads the organization to new and exciting directions! In this interview, he touches on issues that burden the growth and development of school librarianship in the Philippines.

Mr. Gorospe is a dog lover. He has two labradors, one golden retriever and one shih tzu.

What made you decide to become a librarian?

I am a late bloomer. I started working as a librarian only in 2008. I was a teacher for 17 years before shifting to the library field. My love for this work is like a whirlwind romance.

It started with getting burned out of teaching. I wanted to explore new challenges in school work. That’s when I thought of attending grad school in UP-SLIS in 2006. I immediately fell in love with my studies (must have probably caught the love bug from my professors then), could not stop myself from thinking, reflecting and reading about librarianship, especially school librarianship, until I passed the LLE (Librarians' Licensure Exam) in 2008. And, it did not stop there. Like a person in love, I always get excited and in awe every time I discover new and better ways of improving and innovating our LMC (Library Media Center) services and programs.

Describe your typical day in Miriam HS Lib. What is the greatest challenge of the job yet?

I might bore you to death. May I just share a thought that I have started to believe about school libraries: If you would like to check the quality of teaching and learning going on in the classroom, one good measure is to check their collections and programs in the library. It is most often a reflection of how updated, deep and vast the information is being shared among the teachers and students. And that has always been the challenge I place upon myself — to make sure that relevant, up-to-date, and exhaustive array of information is available for all our students, teachers, librarians, guidance counselors and administrators’ academic exchange.

As current president of PASLI, what direction is the org taking to uplift school librarianship in the country?

PASLI is envisioning to help establish a robust school library structure in the country through establishing network of people and resources, through empowering school librarians in our role as information specialists guiding our students toward effective use of information and technology for acquiring information and creating knowledge, through upgrading ourselves with skills and tools to effectively collaborate with subject teachers in curriculum development, its implementation and evaluation and through leveling the path for partnership with school administrators to stir more enthusiasm and interest for funding and better management of library resources and support programs.

What is the pressing issue of Philippine school libraries today and how are individual school librarians and orgs like PASLI responding to these issues?

In my few years of service in the field of school librarianship, I have discovered a lot of pressing issues, actually. There is the seemingly unstoppable practice of assigning unqualified personnel (like subject teachers) to manage the school library, ill-equipped to handle and develop LMC programs and unprepared to deliver effective library services to their patrons -- students and teachers. Related to that is the misconception that the school library is a warehouse of books where librarians just sit all day and oversee their circulation to borrowers. Still related to it is the issue of assigning not enough number of librarians to deliver all library programs and information services to their clientele.

More often than not, in our Philippine school context, only one librarian is assigned to respond to at least 500 info and research needs of students, collaborate with around 100 teachers, process acquisitions, catalog materials, oversee circulation, do indexing of journal articles, develop the vertical file and oversee its usage, maintain computers, conceptualize and execute book promotion activities, and a lot more. But nothing is more disheartening to see than school librarians resigning themselves into this structure, consequently delivering mediocre library services.

I think PASLI and other school librarianship organizations have a lot to give in terms of helping the schools rediscover the valuable position of school librarians, their skills and programs in curriculum development and education of the young. Researches have continuously revealed that academic achievement of students and quality library services are necessary partners. Once this is achieved, everything else that we, school librarians, list down in our desiderata will have greater chances to come true. And, this is where I am leading PASLI to go.

Last, what is your top ten favorite book?

For fiction, you might be surprised I am a fan of gothic writings of Anne Rice. Her narratives of vampires and witches’ stories, humanizing them in her tales, mesmerize me. Her alternative views on life and faith as revealed through her characters keep me in deep thought.

For non-fiction, I always keep a copy of “Living, loving and learning” by Leo Buscaglia. It always serves handy whenever a student needs a good read for bibliotherapy. I love that book because it never fails to inspire and touch the hearts of people, particularly the young teens that I serve.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Attempts at Poetry Writing

A long, long time ago, I dared write poetry.

Ahh! Lust*

Arms and legs entangle;
Lips lock in heat;
Mouths and tongues entwine;
Hands probe and seek.

I ride with your every wave.
I am soaked in the depths of your desire.
I take your every breath, your every sigh.
I drink the fire in your eyes.

* From the CANVAS exhibit of Michael Cacnio sculptures ca. 2006. A  joint project with the Kwentista ng mg Tsikiting (KUTING)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Author of the Month: Penny Blubaugh

Yesterday, I posted my review of Serendipity Market. The book's author, Ms. Penny Blubaugh is this blog's Author of the Month. She lends answers to questions I sent her through her website. It was so nice of Ms. Blubaugh to answer back. Visit her site and learn of the new book she wrote, Blood and Flowers. Here's hoping it's going to be available in Manila.

Where do you get the idea of merging old tales with new?

I've always loved fairy tales, especially the dark and scary ones. And I've always loved fairy tale retellings because the tales themselves, coming out of the oral tradition, are usually pretty bare bones. They leave a lot of room for interpretation, which makes them fun to play with. I think the Lizard's Tale was the first story that I did in this vein. I enjoyed looking at something as well-known as Cinderella from a new perspective -- and that poor Lizard! He never wanted to be a footman. Talk about being forced into a new persona!

How has writing Serendipity Market changed you as a person, librarian, writer?

It was a seminal book for me because it was *my first book*! The first time my name was on a cover. It was huge. It changed me from a writer who hoped to get published to a writer who was published. But when this happens it gives you a whole new set of things to worry about! At first you just want to get a book done. Then you want to get it published. Then you worry -- will it ever happen again? And then reviews start to come in. There's joy at the good ones, despair at the bad. It's a huge tangle of emotions. This all taught me that rejection cupcakes are always a valid option!

As a librarian the book opened doors for library programs with teens outside of my own space, and I love that.

Who has made the greatest impact on your writing life?

I think my whole MFA at Vermont College was life-altering. Several of my advisors, especially Chris Lynch, Chris Raschka and Ron Koertge were particularly amazing. Ron Koertge and I still chat on a regular basis and whenever I'm writing I hear him saying, "Take it out. You don't need it." Great for cutting out the unnecessary in any piece of writing.

Top 5 recommendations for teens.

I'm going to cheat. Here are 5 for girls, 5 for guys and 5 graphic novels. It's a fluid list -- it changes all the time because there are a whole lot of great books out there. So these are just some I've read or re-read and enjoyed.

Girls: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins; This Thing Called the Future by J. L. Powers; the Maggie Quinn From Hell series by Rosemary Clement-Moore; Star Crossed by Elizabeth Bunce; The Boneshaker by Kate Milford.

Guys: Inexcusable by Chris Lynch; The Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge; Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones; On the Devil's Court by Carl Deuker; Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford.

Graphic Novels: Smile by Raina Telgemeier: The Amazing Screw-On Head by Mike Mignola; Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies by Art Spiegelman; The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks; Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale. (Plus 1 more -- City of Spies by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan.)

Not necessarily the best of the best, not necessarily from the canon of YA lit, just some things I've enjoyed recently.

Thank you Ms. Blubaugh! Looking forward to reading Blood and Flowers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Serendipity Market

Once in a while I stumble upon a book that turns out to be a good read. Penny Blubaugh's Serendipity Market, her first novel for young adult readers, is one of those reads that gave me a warm, feel good feeling in the end. Its cover does not promise much- a row of tassels in varying colors. What is exciting about that? But instincts told me it's going to be a quiet and powerful book.

It begins with Mama Inez who woke up one morning feeling the earth in a state of imbalance. Something was wrong in the world and she needed to set things right. She prepared ten invitations and sent these out using her magic. Thanks to Tobie's breath, all invites, paper birds that flew great distances irregardless of time and space, reached its intended recipient.

"You're invited to the Serendipity Market at the end of the world. Saturday next. Bring your story, bring a talisman. Help us balance the world's spin." So it is said in the letter. Oh, what would I give to get such an invitation! All but one agreed to go to the end of the world where the Serendipity Market stands and under Mama Inez's tent, a storytelling feast!

What worked

The very idea that stories need to be told to put the world back in order glued me to the book instantly. As a storyteller, I have seen and experienced the magic of storytelling to heal and to bring communities together. I know what you're talking about, Ms. Penny Blubaugh! Stories are essential for living. Storytelling affirms this relevance of stories. The stories told at the end of the world, in the Serendipity Market, under Mama Inez's tent were devoid of any form of media or technology. At center stage, there stood the storyteller with his or her story. The crowd listened. There's response. There's connection. Storyteller and listeners were given the opportunity to celebrate milestones, to revel in the nobility of sacrifices great or small, to ruminate on the complexities of being human, and to savor the little triumphs of everyday.

Storytelling in Serendipity Market was not a contest or a competition. It should never be in the first place.

The stories of the eleven storytellers were taken from the old folk literature, retold in new perspectives; its motifs and themes were seen from fresh eyes; and the voices from which the telling came from were firm and strong. Blubaugh knows her folk literature alright, but it is her craft and characterization that worked wonders. She has a sensitive ear for language and she puts this to good use. All eleven storytellers had a voice uniquely their own. My personal favorites are Lizard Man from a retelling of Cinderella; Prince Zola (who would have thought?) from the newer version of The Princess and the Pea; and Vachel, the merman.

In the end, Mama Inez puts together the talismans from each teller in a jar forming the image of a person. Nothing fancy, these talismans, just bits and pieces of objects that represented each story, each teller. Each of them brought home a ring as token of the time spent under the tent telling stories.

What did not work

Nine stories make for a good number but I wish the tenth teller made it to the market as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hubert Fucio's 2nd Alcala Prize

Congratulations to Hubert Fucio for winning the 2012 Alcala Prize!

Below is a sample of his art work for Russell Molina's Anong Gupit Natin Ngayon (2012 Salanga Prize). This is Fucio's and Molina's second win who both won the Alcala and the Salanga prizes respectively in 2003 for Sandosenang Kuya (A Dozen Brothers).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Developing an Ebook Collection via 3rd Party Solution

Don Rokusek of Follet DESTINY discuss the management of digital content for school libraries. I find the podcast a helpful content for school librarians who are considering and studying possibilities of putting ebooks in the library collection.

Listen to internet radio with EduTalk on Blog Talk Radio

Infographic: Youth and Digital Media

Saturday, March 10, 2012

TeenLife: Community Service for Teens

Here is a recent online discover: TeenLife

TeenLife is a website for teens, parents, educators and allied professionals working with/for teens. The website is pretty impressive. It has contents on Summer Programs, College Life, Gap Year, Volunteer Activities and Career/Vocational Guidance. You may wish to sign in as member and get freebies, like newsletters.

For March/April 2012 issue, TeenLife has a neat write up on community services teens could do. This article is connected to "Senioritis", an affliction common among high school students. They slack and turn truants by the last term. The article suggests strategies to hold students up and finish the school year with good, if not decent, marks. Field trips and changes in seating arrangement are included in the tips, but there are more creative ways a teacher can do.

If you are parent of a teen, visit TeenLife's website. Happy reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

PASLI Forum: The K-12 Curriculum and the School Library

This is the kind of initiative that elicits results, if not, discussion points that would stir Philippine school librarians into proactive thought and action. Hopefully.

Good job, Jude Gorospe and PASLI for carving a time and venue to talk about school libraries and K-12 Curriculum.

The Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc. (PASLI) wishes
to invite school administrators, school librarians and teachers in
charge of school libraries to the half-day forum on the theme: "The
Kto12 Curriculum and the School Library" on May 18, 2012 from 7:00am
to 12:00pm at Miriam College High School in Katipunan Road, Loyola
Heights, Quezon City.

Registration fee of Php500.00 covers forum kit, handouts, am snack,
lunch and access to the 2 sessions. Reservation is required to join
the forum. Only the first 100 reservations will be accommodated.


Session 1: The Kto12 Curriculum Framework
by: Dr. Paraluman Giron, DepEd consultant for Kto12 Curriculum and
former director of DepEd Region 4A.

Session 2: The Role of the Information Specialist in the Kto12
by: Dr. Edizon A. Fermin, Miriam College High School Principal. He
has worked with national committees in preparation for Kto12

Sunday, March 4, 2012

World Read Aloud Day: March 7, 2012

I read aloud to my kids when they were younger. Though both have interests other than reading, they still read books and with continuous reading guidance, the appetite for the printed format won't wane.

On March 7, 2012, being World Read Aloud Day, read aloud to a child or to groups of children including your own!
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