Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rizal and Bonifacio

The Rizal journal is available at the Ayala Museum. Bought it last year being Rizal's 150th birthday. The Bonifacio planner is a recent acquisition from UP Press. 2013 is Bonifacio's 150th year.

I find their life stories very romantic.

Books & Readings on Bullying and Agression

Russell Molina asked me what my thoughts are on bullying and how it can be prevented. I remember I gave him a lengthy reply. Now, I can only recall saying this to him: The family, being the smallest unit of society, can be the best place to start an anti-bullying campaign. Here's a collected set of books and online resources on bullying and how we can all do our part to make this world a peaceful and empathic place to live in.

a. Bullying and Violence: Youth with aggression by Kenneth McIntosh - presents a case on bullying and shows two sides of the bullying episode: the bully and the bullied; includes therapy and programs to handle bullying in the family, at home and in the community at large.

b. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture f Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons - While many reported cases of bullying in school involves boys, a form of aggression happens among girls as well. Simmons has a comprehensive discussion on the nature of aggression among children, especially, girls and presents the subtle signs that care takers of children, parents, teachers, counselors, and the like must look out for.

c. Cliques, Crushes and True Friends: Developing Healthy Relationship by Ashley Rae Harris - this resource is more of a companion to the issue in question.    It identifies personality types from the follower, the cling on, the loner, etc. It may help teachers identify such kids and though, there is a possible stereotyping as an effect, the author provides readers with tips to handle, relate and deal with such people cautioning them to treat people with compassion and empathy.

And now, online stuff to check -

How Not to Raise a Bully: The Roots of Empathy - takes off from bullying cases in US schools. There's much to relearn and to reflect on the topic.

Evidenced Based Anti-Bullying Programs - evidenced based anti-bullying programs from Pre-K to college level

Bullies Be Gone- the first social space and place of a child is the family. Bullying may happen in the home as well.

And while we're at the topic, perhaps we can also take a few minutes to read on another reality - that adults can bully and be bullied as well.

Staffroom Bullying  - identifies the human need for power as a motivation to bully

Stop Bullying Now - a paper that discuss cases where acts of bullying by teachers to students happened. Includes implications on how school leadership can design policies on anti-bullying

Movie Review: Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

Titktik: The Aswang Chronicles
GMA Films and Agosto Dos
Directed by Erik Matti

I saw the full trailer of GMA Films' Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles a month back when my family and I watched an APO Hiking music inspired movie. All four of us were impressed of the powerful visuals of Tiktik that we have the movie scheduled for a Halloween viewing. We did as planned and we were not disappointed.

For one, it's the kind of movie that did not make us think. I mean this in a good way.  For me and hubby, it was a perfect leisurely watch since we both work in places were thinking is the name of the game. For Nico and Zoe, exams had just ended, so goodbye thinking cap.

It was hard not to enjoy the movie. We  marveled at the visual texture the movie evoked since it made the setting, time and place characters too. There were scenes that grossed out our youngest (Zoe) but the campy tandem of Ramon Bautista and Joey Marquez made her forget the gory scenes. By itself, it is a good movie with a decent script since we shared our aswang stories to our kids' undivided attention and interest before retiring for home. I can't endorse it as an aswang movie for all families, but it will definitely rekindle old horror tales from long ago. The conversations that come after watching a movie is precious. This sharing of after thoughts rarely happens (in families) anymore.

Two days after watching Tiktik, my daughter asked me this, "Ma, talaga bang may aswang?" (Are aswangs real?)

I replied, "If you can think about it, what makes you say it is not real? The thing is, an aswang can be a metaphor or a symbol of evil. It can be the evil inside of you or in your environment. And like Makoy and Nestor in the movie, you just don't surrender to evil easily. You have to fight it to overcome it. Sometimes, it takes a while to fight it out with our aswangs and the aswangs that dwell around us."

She has not asked me since then. Happy Halloween!

Photo source:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reunion with the Filipino Librarian

Dr. Vernon Totanes PhD is back in town from his academic pursuits in the University of Toronto, Canada. One colleague asked if he's back for good. Let's wait for further announcement!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Graphic Novel Reviews: Hera The Goddess and her Glory & The Last Dragon

On top of my regular fiction reading, I've been feasting on graphic novels too. As a high school librarian servicing reading guidance to young adults, reading the literature available for them is part of the job. How fun!

Here are two reviews of graphic novels that may be of interest to the teenager in search of a good read this long term break.

Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory
By George O’Connor
First Second (an imprint of Roaring Brook)
ISBN: 978-1596437241

George O'Connor's the Olympians' series is a must read. The library has Zeus, the first book in the series, and my review of it can be read here. Having read the second one, Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory makes me look forward to reading the next, which is Poseidon. I wonder what new discoveries would I encounter from O' Connor's version of Poseidon's life story. This is O' Connor's strength as a storyteller. He is able to fuse together a new story from the old classics.

In Hera, O' Connor depicted her as the wife Zeus truly deserves. When she agreed to marry Zeus, she knew what she was getting into and so, she was prepared to attack,  counter and handle every philandering act her husband committed. In my eyes, she is no longer the mere jealous wife who acted on anger and resentment. She is the smart, sophisticated and wise woman worthy to be Olympus' queen.

Much of what Heracles is today in myth and legend, is to Hera's credit. She's a winner in more ways than one as she was able to bring out the best in Heracles despite her intense emotions of jealousy and anger. I liked the ending too because Hera is the only Greek goddess who can make Zeus doubtful and suspicious. The King of the Gods has an insecurity, after all.

Photo source:

The Last Dragon
By Jane Yolen and illustrations by Rebecca Guay
Published by Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1595827982

The dragons are back! After years of living safely from the terror of dragons, a seaside village comes face to face with the fire breathing demon of legends. Two unlikely heroes,  a daughter of a herbalist and a village truant saved the day by simply trusting on each others wits and wisdom. Tansy, the female lead character shines as the woman behind her man's success. Guay's illustrations are rich in color and detail. She used sepia, brown, red and orange as prevailing colors that evoke a legendary and fiery atmosphere to the whole story.

Yolen worked on the old formula of the happily every after. Dragons be gone. Dragons are back. People are terrified. A maiden pursues the truth. A flawed hero is put to the test. They fall in love. They slayed the dragon. The end. But. But. But.

Yolen's narration is true to form in the fantasy tradition. Her use of language fits beautifully to the genre. Her plot is tight and no loose ends dangle in the sides. She knows her young adult readers well enough by creating characters that complement each other. This romance story is not for fools and the foolish. In The Last Dragon, we find a smart and sensitive young woman paired with a challenged hero who rose to the occasion.

Photo source:

Four bookmarks out of five for these two graphic novels!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 3 of 3rd Lib Link: Copyright, IPR & Library Services for Children

Day 3 of the Library Link Conference focused on copyright, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), the National Book Development Board's Readership Survey and a response from Children's Literature advocate,  Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera.

The copyright and IPR session and panel discussion provided librarians with substantial information enough to keep them out of legal danger.  The Philippine Copyright Act is a mouthful. Indeed, it's a document that needs fleshing out and careful reading for the uninitiated (like me) as far as law and legal jargon are concerned. Thanks to Mr. Alvin Buenaventura, Atty. Mark Herrin, Ms. Debbie Tan and Ms. Ime Morales for a watered down presentation and sharing real life examples of plagiarism and exploitation. Seriously, librarians need this fundamental information since they are at the gateway of information access and are allies of writers, publishers and artists who all create and produce art and information in a variety of formats. The creation of provisions for information access in virtual and physical settings is a librarian's role and function. At the same time, the librarian safe guards the intellectual access to information making sure that its facility is fair for both creator and consumer.

In the school setting, librarians offering services and programs for children and teens can attack the issues on IPR and copyright through the conduct of read aloud and storytelling sessions. These activities help young children understand the idea that a book undergoes a process of creation and that, it is a product of the knowledge and the creativity of the author, illustrator and the publishing team.  For children to see an adult, a librarian for this matter, hold a book and read out loud the author's and illustrator's name, the publisher and the title of the book makes for a good example of the reading habit. This is just one of the many benefits of a read aloud and storytelling session. When done regularly, young children will be exposed to different perspectives and art forms. It is also a strategy to develop fundamental literacy skills that will aide young children in learning more complicated ones in the future.

At this juncture, I congratulate the librarians and staff of the Filipinas Heritage Library for staging an informative conference. My only suggestion is that, the next time they plan for another conference, it would be cool to see best practices, exemplars of library services and programs that worked. If not exemplary, at least, models and samples of library services and programs in special, private, public, school, academic and research libraries that librarians can immediately identify with. I picture in my mind a Library and Information Science Fair where participants can come together in plenary sessions, and break out in sessions of interest to them.

And more authors, illustrators and publishing people please. Maybe an author or illustrator or publisher to inspire librarians in their role as mediator between content, information and the end user.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 2 of the 3rd Library Link Conference

It was Web 2.0  on day 2 of the 3rd Library Link Conference. Leigh Reyes of Lowe Philippines gave a digested presentation on Information Overload and Social Media. I liked the videos she showed and the stats she presented. The focused group discussions which Lowe Philippines organizes piqued my interest as a feedback mechanism in gauging the success of library services and programs, especially, among teenagers. I took note of the books she recommended on the different ways of thinking, psychology and the Internet all seem valuable titles to add in the library's collection.

JV Rufino was next to promote Inquirer Mobile. Many librarians in the conference asked questions and availed of the promo that Mr. Rufino offered -- a tablet that can be purchased or paid off via salary deduction.

There was Zumba as energizer at the start of the PM session. Maria Ressa talked on Advocacy and Social Media cum book signing and Bebang Siy brushed on Library Services for Kids and Teens in the Digital Age.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Live Blogging: Day 1 The 3rd Library Link Conference

The 3rd Library Link Conference, Beyond Librarianship: Information as a Way of Life, commenced this morning with Atty. Antonio Santos as keynote speaker. Atty. Santos, being the director of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), shared services and programs of the NLP that are open to the public. From the facilitation of ISBN to Children's Library Services and services for the handicapped, many Filipinos can now access ideas and information from the NLP.

The second resource speaker, Myra Brown, Information Resource Center from the US Department of State showed samples and examples of the many activities that librarians can start up and continue to support the changes brought by the Digital Age. This afternoon, Leo Almonte of FILCOLS presented the history of libraries. How I wish that there's a specific talk on the development of Philippine libraries.

Open forum has just started and a common concern is the transition of physical library to a virtual one.

For the meantime, I'm thrilled on the conference kit's contents!

Teen Read Week: My Young Adult Reading List

Here's another query I got from Rochelle Silverio of the UP School of Library and Information Science over at Facebook --

Hi po! I just want to humbly ask on what are your top ten books-to-read for Filipino young adults (local and foreign titles)? I will include them in class. Thank you and hoping for a reply, Coffee Goddess!

She sent me this question a few months back. I deem it appropriate to post it this week for Teen Read Week. I remember sending her a slew of links from this blog on Young Adult (YA) reads I've reviewed over the years. I thought I really did not answer the question so, here goes my post on the matter.

First of all, YA Literature is a name given by American publishers to their line of books for teenagers (13-19 years old). I think this definition for our local YA books, few as they are, will do for now. In the late 80s and early 90s I read Judy Blume, Richard Peck, SE Hinton, Katherine Patterson and a host of romance series for teens like Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. The local materials I read as a teenager were adult fiction that I found available in my lola's sari-sari store and reading materials swapped from friends. I could not name a Filipino YA writer from my teenage years. Nick Joaquin and Paz Marquez Benitez did not write YA. But, I read their works in freshman college. Laro sa Baga, serialized in Liwayway was an adult material but I read it anyway.

Like Philippine Children's Lit, YA Lit is a young enterprise in the country. We do not have a solid body of work on Philippine YA Lit yet. Back in the 90's, the PBBY espoused the Pilar Perez Award to recognize manuscripts written for Filipino teenagers. While it produced note worthy reads, it did not live long. I surmise that the market was unaware of the reading potential among Filipino teenagers. Perhaps the timing to blaze a trail on a Philippine YA award was not ripe yet. Besides, there exist the economic challenge of publishing a YA novel or novella. During the Ang INK Forum last February, a clamor for chapter  books and YA novel surfaced. In the 2nd ReaderCon last August, participants, especially teachers were in search of books for their high school students. The need was narrowed down to novels and novellas in the vernacular.

So, what to do? In my own little way, responding to Ms. Silverio's query and gathering bibliographic data on YA Lit is a start.

My list begins with JK Rowling's Harry Potter series. These books grow with the reader.  Harry Potter is not perfect and his friends are flawed characters. But they all rise to the occasion to defeat Voldemort. JK Rowling made nerds and geeks look cool by saving the world not with magic wands  but with love and sacrifice.

And the rest are...

Candy Gourlay's Tall Story

John Green's Looking for Alaska

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

Richard Peck's Here Lies the Librarian

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

Laura Gallego-Garcis's The Legend of the Wandering King

Mary Ann Schaffer'sThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Cornelia Funke's Inkheart

Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Game

KUTING's Baget's Anthology

These are recent reads. As a teenager, I read these books. And here are some more - speculative fiction I love to reread! Dear me. This are just fiction books.

There's a long list of non-fiction reads as well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Youth Peace Summit by the CLP School

Just sharing the thank you letter from Teacher Tin Canon of the CLP School since I was a guest storyteller during the Peace Summit. Check out the pictures!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monster Sale!

Trick or Read! Scholastic Book Fairs celebrates TEN terrific years of providing ACCESS to books to children. As our way of saying "Thank You" to our school partners for helping us achieve our goal, we are inviting you to a MONSTER SALE, a Customer Appreciation Warehouse Sale Event on Oct. 22-30, 2012 (except Sunday) from 9 am to 6 pm. Enjoy the GINORMOUS discounts on teacher resources, best-seller titles, picture books and gift items. Find books as low as P49.00! Kindly forward the invitation to your family and friends. For details, please call 900-1537. See you!
Mon, October 22, 9am – Tue, October 30, 6pm GMT+08:00
No. 70 C. Raymundo Avenue, Barangay Rosario, Pasig City

Teen Read Week 2012: It Came From the Library

It's Teen Read Week from 14-20 October 2012 and the theme this year is It Came From the Library. To drum up the event, I asked for quick reviews of books and reading materials from the school community. The book or reading material must be something that enchanted, shocked, surprised, thrilled, angered and disturbed them. Of course, the books and reading materials must come from the library's collection.

One student from grade 12 immediately replied. Below is her book review of John Green's Looking for Alaska. Apparently, John Green is the spokesperson for this years Teen Read Week.

As a student who loves to read, I am constantly searching for interesting books that tempt you to read them all in one sitting yet leave you wishing it had never ended. It is not common to find books like these, but, as I learned, the Beacon Academy library is the perfect place to look.

 When Ms. Gagatiga handed me the novel, Looking For Alaska, I was not prepared for the thought evoking and pleasantly shocking adventure reading this book could be. The novel speaks of inner turmoil and the raging emotions that all teenagers face as well as the fragility of life itself. I would recommend teenagers read this book as I believe it has great insight into the minds and lives of the young and misunderstood. 
What stood out to me the most was one of the last words uttered by Simón Bolívar, “Damn it. How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?!” This quote was a main focus in the book and was very thought provoking. If you ever decide to read the novel you should definitely ask yourself, “what is the labyrinth and how do we escape it?” because you may not even realize you are trapped and in need of liberation. Hopefully this book will help you understand yourself, your life, and relationships as it has helped me. 
And because it's Teen Read Week, I'll be posting more reviews of Young Adult Literature in the coming days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dear SLIA: Graphic Novels in the Library

Way back in May of this year, Ms. Luvie De Leon an alumna of Far Eastern University, sent me a question over at Facebook: Ok lang po ba ang graphics na books sa GS library like Nancy Drew,Hardy Boys, etc.

This was my reply to her.

Yes. Pero, i-review mo ang collection development policy ninyo. Baka may statement roon na hindi kayo dapat mag-acquire ng graphic novels at comics. Isa pa, kailangan nag consult ka sa principal, academic coordinator at mga teachers bago mag pasya na bumili ng graphic novels. Pwede ka rin gumawa muna ng reading interest survey ng mga students. Alamin kung ano ang gusto nilang babasahin at format ng babasahin.

Kung positive ang response ng principal, coordinator, teachers at students sa graphic novels, mag-allot ka ng budget. Kung ok sa students, pero negative sa mga principal, coordinator at teachers, gumawa ka muna ng proposal kung saan naka-spell out ang dahilan bakit nais mong bumuo ng graphic novel collection.

Hindi rin basta-basta ang pagbuo or pagbili ng graphic novels para sa library. Hindi ibig sabihin na uso, gagawin na rin ng library. Pinag-iisipan ito at kasama dapat sa collection development program ang pagbuo mo ng graphic novel collection para sa library. Dadaan pa rin sa masusing pagpili ang pagbuo ng graphic novel collection.

More on library collection development in future posts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Librarians' Role in Children's Library Services

I just came home from the National Library of the Philippines. Day 1 of the 1st National Children's Librarians Conference commenced today. I arrived at the NLP thirty minutes before my scheduled talk. It was good to see friends from the profession. There were new faces as well and I'm glad to meet a younger set of participants. I had the opportunity to book talk the six NCBA Best Reads of 2012. Thank you so much, NLP!

A few minutes before my talk, I grabbed a bite of lunch and sat with Lou Miranda of Colegio San Agustin, Binan. Feedback was that participants were eager to listen and learn more about library services and the K-12 Curriculum. I did not announce in the conference that I am schedule to do a workshop on library skills instruction in the K-12 Program on 13 November 2012. Details to be announced so visit the blog often.

Below is a PowerPoint presentation (.pdf) of my lecture.

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