Sunday, December 30, 2012

SLIA: First Monthly Post 2012

The blog in review of 2012: first post per month and the first sentence of the post. I posted a video in January, a poster in July and a photo in December so, no first sentences.

January - Libraries and Transliteracy

February - Break the Stereotype

Two posts from librarian friends made it to the blog last month in response to the Challenge of the Year: Break the StereotypePeachy Limpin and Ann Rosette Crelencia shared a piece of their mind on the topic.

March - World Read Aloud Day 2012

I read aloud to my kids when they were younger.

April - Libraries and Librarians Making an Impact

This is a carry over from my interview in the Mania Bulletin last 24 March 2012.

May - Tandem Telling: Juan Tamad and the Rice Pot

The Regional Conference on School Librarianship: Directions for the Future of School Libraries in Bacolod was, indeed, a memorable conference. 

June- Bibliotherapy @ the SAS Gurong Kaakbay Conference

It's Day 3 of the SAS Gurong Kaakbay Pilipinas Conference at the Science Education Complex, ADMU.

July - NCBD 2012 Poster

August - Call for Entries: Salanga Prize 2013

The 29th NCBD and the 2md Best Reads NCBA have been recently concluded. 

September - My Life as a Librarian

Finally. I am now able to answer the set of questions sent by Mr. Egipto of St. Louis University.

October - Librarians Role in Children's Library Services

I just came home from the National Library of the Philippines. 

November - Jose Aruego and Albert Gamos Tributes

Last September, the UP College of Education Reading Department, otherwise known as REGALE, conducted the annual MILES, Manhit Institute of Language Education Seminar series, in honor of Jose Aruego and Albert Gamos, two dearly departed Filipino illustrators for children. The tribute is in part of the Weavers of Magic forum of MILES.

December - Christmas Reading Table

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Reviews in Review 2012

I promised to do more book reviews in 2012 for this blog. Apart from reviews, I'm including book recommendations in the list. As a year-ender the links list would, more or less, show how I fared.

The Best of Chico, Delamar and Gino Top Ten - Book 2

Graphic Novels Review

Teen Read Week


Filipino Friday

Serendipity Market

The Best of Chico and Delamar Top Ten - Book 1

Books to Movies Adaptation

It looks like I need to do more book reviews for 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: Unholy Night

It is December 28 today, the feast of the Holy Innocents. For Catholics like myself, we remember this day as the death of babies and children in Bethlehem at the time Jesus Christ was born. The order for execution came from Herod, the old and ailing king of Jerusalem, who hoped to terminate the "king" who will supplant him and his dynasty from ruling Jerusalem. In catechism, I learned that an angel saved Joseph, Mary and Jesus from the slaughter by helping them flee from Bethlehem to Egypt. This is the biblical version. Modern day fiction has another.

In Seth Gahame-Smith's Unholy Night, the Holy Family was aided by Balthazar, a cunning thief who escaped his own execution, to leave Bethlehem. Together with Melchyor and Gaspar, the trio defended the Holy Family from Herod's men and out to the desert. Balthazar, Melchyor and Gaspar are names associated with the three wise men who gave gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts to the baby Jesus. In Grahame-Smith's fiction, the three men are wise indeed, but not in a scholarly manner to which the Bible described them to be. They are thieves and criminals out to save their own skin from Herod's fatal punishment. This the conceit to which the book was built upon. Blasphemous? I say it's a work of genius.

What worked

I've often asked who were the Wise men, the Magi. At the feast of the Epiphany, our parish priest would make us all believe that they were scholars from the East who understood the meaning of the messiah's coming. In my own imagination, I see the wise men as sages, astronomers, philosophers who knew something else was going and average people have no knowledge of this. They remain mysterious, if not, mystical men of history. Grahame-Smith filled in this gap and defined the Wise men as great sinners who found redemption not from guilt, but from acts of justice, remorse, forgiveness and love.

I like it that Joseph and Mary were depicted as real people subjected to weakness but strong in faith. This is the strength which assaulted Balthazar internally. Grahame-Smith provides his hero a rich back story to bring out this internal struggle. Using the child Jesus as a metaphor of hope and blind belief, Balthazar came to forgive himself in the end. As for Melchyor and Gaspar, their redemption came, thirty three years after.

Pontius Pilate and the Roman Army were given a moment to shine as well. Pilate is yet another enigmatic character I hope some fictionist would unravel. Herod was characterized as the ultimate monster king. His evil deeds are enough to set the backdrop of a world in constant chaos. Thus, Jesus' coming to this world, quiet and with no fanfare, remain a puzzle I of the Catholic faith so continuously try to solve.

Grahame-Smith's violence and gruesome narrative did not offend me, in fact, I found it entertaining. Perhaps I was still angry at something or someone to have enjoyed it. It was therapy reading the book. There are some events in life like death and injustice that need to be experienced to see truth and peace. Like the journey to the desert and into Egypt, such an experience is not an easy one to take. This is where we need, not just guts and toughness, but a lot of courage. A lot of faith.

What did not work

The inclusion of magic seemed off, like the warlock from the west. The angels appearing in a dream were fine by me. The warlock came out of nowhere. Grahame-Smith tried to cross genre, but I found this piece misplaced in the novel. It would have worked for me, if Herod was assisted by one of his own priests to glamor up himself and do a trickery on Pilate's army.

Over all, it was a good read. I like Grahame-Smith's bending of history. Here in Unholy Night, he new enough of religion and faith to respect Joseph, Mary and Jesus. I think I am ready to read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Bibliographic data:
Grahame-Smith, Seth. Unholy Night. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crafts at Christmas: Origami Star Wreath

The holidays can be stressful.

What with all the rush to buy gifts for him and her and the seemingly endless slew of Christmas parties at the start of December, I needed something to distress me from it all. So, in between the busyness, I managed to do some crafts. Using the Origami pack I got from the PBBY Christmas party, I whipped up a star wreath for Christmas. The pattern for the star was taken from Zoe's old origami book. Bibliography to follow as I'm blogging off site at the moment.

First, I cut out a circle from an old paper plate. This functions as the base for the star wreath. Using used ribbons, red and green, from gifts received the past year, I tied the red one around the paper plate. The green one, I used to tie a bow. To keep the red ribbon in place, I glued the edges.Then, I glued on the origami stars around the paper plate.

Now here's a step by step how-to for the origami star.

Step 1- Origami paper: make a triangular crease.
Step 2 - Using the crease as guide, fold the left and right side to the center.  Paper looks like a cone.
Step 3 - Fold the top left and right sides to the center . Again, using the crease made  in step 1 as guide. It looks like a kite now.
Step 4 - Fold the kite in its center. Now it's a triangle. Make three of these.
Step 5  - Glue the two triangles together.
Step 6 - Glue the third triangle on top of the two triangles  to form a star.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Greeting 2012

Here's wishing all readers of my blog child like qualities: wonder, play, imagination, endless hope, boundless dreams and good memories to comfort and see you through challenging days ahead! Have a safe and healthy 2013, every one!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review: The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino's The Morning Rush Top Ten

I did not expect that The Morning Rush Top Ten Book 2 would be released before the start of 2013. It was only last January 2012 when Book 1 was published and now, Rushers and non-Rushers are reading the book!

What worked

It has more categories, therefore, more entries. More fun to read! It embodies pop culture that's very Pinoy. As a librarian, I see the book's relevance as a corner stone for the Filipino of this era. While social media is pop culture's sounding board, changing so rapidly every minute, the printed copy preserves this current pop culture for future generations to look back and for older ones to look back to. Book 2 may speak of the now, this age and time, but The Morning Rush is making history by compiling what matters to this generation of Filipinos, who they are and what they're about.

I like the cartoons and the free stickers. As for the entries, these are well selected. It's witty and smart; funny and touching; and are a few good ones that gives you that smack leaving you perplexed or affected long after you've read the book from cover to cover. Take for example these entries: While some good things never last, most don't even start (Twak, p. 77); The hardest part of letting go is realizing that the other person already has (JRhyan, p. 87). OUCH.

There are plenty of Top Ten entries I recalled having listened to like the Beki Problems and Q&A in the Ms. BaranGay Contest. It made my morning commute exciting. What with the heavy traffic and the crowd between 6.30 AM till 7AM! On air, The Morning Rush Top Ten is still my choice of entertainment since the trio offers not just the laughs but insights too. C, D and G engage in intelligent conversation and they are never rude to their listeners and fans. With two books in a row, it sealed their fate as the top DJs in Philippine FM radio.

What did not work

I just wish there were more informative top ten entries like the rare Filipino words we don't get to hear any more. But, of course, this would suggest that a Book 3 is a big possibility!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Official Press Release: 2013 Salanga Prize Winners

Here's an update and official press release from PBBY on the 2013 Salanga Prize
Teacher Wins 2013 PBBY-Salanga Prize

            The Philippine Board on Books for Young People declared Michael Jude C. Tumamac as the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Tumamac’s winning story, “Ngumiti si Andoy,” is a story inspired by the life of  Andres Bonifacio. Michael is a teacher and a proud member of Kuwentista ng mga Tskiting (KUTING) and Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA).

Honorable mention  went to  Mark Anthony Angeles for his story, “Si Andoy, Batang Tondo,” and April Jade Biglaen for her story, “Ang Supremo at ang Kuweba.

Tumamac shall receive Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos and a medal. Prizes will be awarded during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day in July 2013. 

For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail

Movie Review: The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

Of course. I did not miss Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I watched it with my family last weekend and weeks before, I reread The Hobbit to refresh my mind. Now I feel I need to read The Silmarillon to complete the Tolkien experience. It looks daunting, but I will try. So here goes my review.

 What worked

I am impressed at the way the script was written. There were events and elements of conflict bigger than the dwarves' quest inserted in the original storyline. Take for example the inclusion of the scene of the White Council. It was not in the book, but, putting it in the movie gave me a bigger picture of the One Ring saga.

The heirs of Durin were bent at taking back Erebor. In the background, a familiar evil is on the rise. Bilbo's founding of the ring was merely a beginning to the end of Middle-earth's Third Age. I appreciate this effort of Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens because, it bridged The Hobbit to LOTR besides, it justified Gandalf's constant disappearances from the compamy. Now I see the connection between Bilbo and Frodo beyond the family relationship. What the older Baggins began, the younger one ended. It is going full circle, achieving closure and completing a story. This is a recurring cycle in the books which the movies deftly and appropriately handled. Tolkien knew his history and his myth. Jackson and Boyens took these tradition to movie making and respected the grand material of Tolkien.

Perhaps, to some movie goers, using this format appeared boring and tried. But I take Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR as stories brimming with life lessons and not mere entertainment. Jackson interpreted these life lessons through his art, which is movie making.

I particularly liked the conversation between Gandalf and Galadriel when the council meeting was over. Cheesy, as some movie goers and reviewers called it. To me, it amplified one of the many themes of the book. We fight evil by doing small deeds one day at a time. This is more difficult to do, really. How can you choose to be good or to do good every day in a world that is swimming in an ocean of corruption and selfishness? Before battling others, one battles with the self. And this happened to Bilbo during his attempted escape from the dwarves leading him to Gollum's lair. Indeed, the yearning to go in an adventure is an opportunity. But why leave a comfort zone? I've often asked myself of Bilbo's motivation of going on a quest. When Bilbo told Thorin that his purpose is to help them bring back their home, he's become the unlikely hero so charmingly portrayed by Martin Freeman. He is perfect for the role. Unlike Elijah Wood's insecure but determined Frodo, Martin Freeman's Bilbo is smart and witty. He fumbles too but his empathy oozes out and this makes his rendition such an endearing character.

As for Thorin Oakenshield, darn it, I didn't expect a dwarf to look fierce and sexy at the same time. Richard Armitage's portrayal of the exiled prince is a fantastic mix of loss, bitterness and pride. Not the perfect, unblemished hero but a leader who rises to the occasion when all hope is deemed as lost.

What did not work

I really have nothing else to say negative of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey. The production value is several notches higher than LOTR. It's just too bad that I have to wait for 2013 till the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug. I'm excited to hear Benedict Cumberbatch's voice for the fiery dragon of Erebor.

At least, the wait for the DVD or VCD of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey is only three or four months long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Salanga Prize Winner 2013

L-R MJ Tumamac, Anthony Mariano, Zarah Gagatiga and Cindy Bajema 
News from the PBBY Secretary General on the Salanga Prize 2013 --

Grand Prize Winner is Michael Jude C. Tumamac
Honorable Mention goes to Mark Anthony Angeles and April Jade I. Biglaen

I have no news yet on their winning stories, but it's definitely about Andres Bonifacio. Will post updates in the coming months.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

PBBY Christmas Party 2012

PBBY peeps and friends @ Nina Yuson's residence

Loving this origami set I got from the exchange gift!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pompom Bookmarks and Book Covers

The green monochrome pompom is Zoe's. Mine is the multicolored pompom bookmark.

  Always on the look out for library and reading promotion ideas, I stumbled upon a DIY pompom bookmark in Pinterest. Following the link ans instructions, I tried it at home. Success!

It's very easy to make the pompom bookmark. It only takes ten minutes. Trimming off the edges need careful snips to achieve a fluffy round pompom. I'll come up with ten pompom bookmarks. When school opens in January 2013, the bookmarks will be our tokens for early book returners and borrowers. Let's see if the teens like the give-aways.

Another new thing we're doing at the library is the use of book stands that show off the covers of books when displayed. The spine only shows the book title. For media induced clients, just reading the title won't work. Book covers are visual stimuli.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading Aloud and Storytelling

When I got the invite to judge in the Inquirer Read Along Contest, I knew I had to break a personal belief and a promise. And once more, I was confronted with an issue many teachers and Filipino storytellers grapple with -- reading aloud and storytelling.

I will not discuss what it is and what it is not. Rather, I'll post links of videos on reading aloud and storytelling as well as videos of Mr. Jay Menes' read aloud session. Now here's a link to Just Stories an online place where storytellers gather just to tell stories. No fanfare. Stories are the stars of the show and the teller is the willing medium who keeps them alive.

My read aloud video of Lizard's Song, by George Shannon and illustrations by Jose Aruego and Arianne Dewey.

Story Knifing Sampler

Jay Menes reading aloud to preschoolers during Read Aloud Day 2011. He read aloud an Adarna book classic, When Color Comes to Town

Since storytelling is an art form and reading aloud is reeking of educative values, as well as literacy development merits, the two can be combined. The result is a hybrid technique known as book-based storytelling. Is this right? Is this wrong? Is there a proper way of delivery? There really are no answers to the questions. Art is subjective but an artist need to constantly practice his or her craft to grow and continuously develop. One needs to be a reflective artist too to see areas of improvement in choice of stories, in technique and purpose. Why tell stories? Why reading aloud? What stories to tell for Filipino children to enjoy and learn from? What cultural legacies can surface in the process of telling or reading aloud?

Sometimes, contests hamper this growth and development as it focus on the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd prize winners and not at stories shared and the audience who listened to the stories read or told.

I did enjoy my time at the Inquirer Read Along last month and I send them my congratulations for a meaningful and well thought out advocacy and CRS activity. But, I'm hoping to see and hear news of more storytelling and read aloud festivals instead of contests.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading Alerts!

I like pulling out titles from the shelves and gathering them up in a list. This is one way to promote the library's collection, bridge information gaps and enrich concepts taken up in class. Here's a reading list I recommended to a Humanities and Filipino classes in school. I used the teachers' unit plans (lesson plans) as basis for selection.

I then emailed the list to teachers so they can post it in their classroom. As a follow through, I set up a special reading table for the books recommended in the list.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sights & Sounds of Christmas: Reason for Un-SCROOGE-ing

Zoe's first "commercial" Christmas card
The Magis Deo Christmas cards may be bought at the Magis Deo Office in CEFAM, Ateneo Campus Loyola Heights, Quezon City. For inquiries call 09215149257.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sights and Sounds of Christmas: At the Ayala Triangle

The spectacle of lights at the Ayala Triangle is a brief wonderment of lights dancing along Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

What do Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny have in common? They're all guardians. Guardians of children from all over the world. It's a conceit too big to make it believable. The magical visuals and metaphors used in the story helped me suspend my disbelief.

What worked

Thanks to high tech CGI animation, the film's ambition to make magic worked wonders. What appeared real to me: the golden strands of the Sandman weaving dreams on top of sleeping heads of children; Jack Frost producing ice and icicles on everything he touches and breathes on; the Boogeyman's sinister shadow that casts doubt and fear; the black mares with gleaming eyes depicted as nightmares that snuff out dreams of gold. DreamWorks did its homework so, as far as animation is concerned, they got the prize in the bag.

 I've nothing much to say about the script as I find the sub-plots cluttered and a few bits misplaced. For example, the elves and the yetis. They're all adorable but too much of them were used as comic relief. Perhaps, this was an attempt to lighten a story that's too philosophical for kids in the preschool age?

The movie is really meant for adults, like me, who've had their share of lemons thrown at them by life. Childhood is magical and wonderful. Growing up breaks the magic and wonderment. Children are trusting and honest. Grown ups operate on deceit to get what they want and are more fearful of their evil, if not, imperfect selves showing out for others to see. Such contradictions were made palpable through the use of childhood folk lore and images that we're familiar with - Jack Frost, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, the Sandman. Each represent a virtue or an aspect of childhood: play, wonder, memories, hope and dreams. Stuff that children believe in. Stuff that adults find once again in the children they care for and love.

What did not work

Apart from the cluttered script, the movie left me with a big lacuna on the Man on the Moon. I'd be looking up on William Joyce's novel from which the movie was based on. And this is actually a good thing, thinking about it.

Rise of the Guardians is a feel good movie. I'm glad I'm a parent and that I work with children and teens. If not, I'd have chucked the movie out the window as an attempt to water down Gaiman's conceit in American Gods.

Photo sources:

Monday, December 3, 2012

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