a. During the NCBD, you both said that your parents allowed you to write (MJ) and draw (Dom) at home. How did this help you become a good writer and artist?
Xi Zuq (XZ): It gave me a lot of time to develop my skills in writing. In fact, when I was young, my family devoted most Sundays to writing poems, stories, drawing and other artistic activities. I remember that we used to make 'books' and gift them to relatives and friends.
My mother was my first critic. One time, I asked her to critic and edit a mystery novel I wrote about my lost library card. When she returned the manuscript, I cried because every page was full of red marks. It toughened me, however, to strive to be good at writing.
Dominic Agsaway (DA): The love of my parents gives me power. Love is the most powerful thing in the world and it can break any spell like feeling uninspired or being unproductive. I have this strength coming from the love they have on me. With that love, they taught me to appreciate God, others, our culture and the love for art.
b. What is the most surprising historical fact you learned about Andoy while working on this book?
XZ: I've read a lot of things about Andres B. as a Social Studies teacher, but only during the nights I wrote the story that I started to feel his humanness. I thought about the pain he could have experienced minutes before he died. I could only imagine the faces of loved ones racing through his mind - Ciriaco who died during the encounter between his men and Aguinaldo's, Oryang whom he loved so dearly, his son Andres who died as an infant, his parents who died when he was young, his siblings whose condition he had no idea with, his co-Katipuneros who resorted to factions, and Procopio whose death he witnessed.
DA: I was with this expression of "Whoah! Andoy used a gun!?" . That swept me off my feet. Even though it is a small detail on the illustration, I researched for the appropriate gun used in the late 1800's. The Itak-only battle was now put aside from my mind.
c. Do you think Andoy is underrated? Why?
XZ: For me, Andres B. was never underrated. But I understand the impression that most Filipinos know Jose R. more than him. One factor, I think, is Jose R. was relegated to a National Hero, which our cultural education highly focuses on. It has always been (at least since college) my agenda to reintroduce/'popularize' Andres B.
DA: I think he's still recognized lovingly side by side with the National Hero. The Filipino loves him and serves as inspiration to everyone. most Filipinos consider him as the Philippine symbol of bravery than any other heroes. I never heard any other heroes included on a kid's limerick stating "Andres Bonifacio, a-tapang a-tao, hindi a-atakbo." He has the air of a National Hero.
d. How can you help the younger generation be more aware and conscious of Filipino heroes' contribution to nationhood? Is your art enough to raise their level of awareness?
XZ: I am a teacher, and I think teaching is the best way. Writing for children, of course, is also a great avenue to raise awareness because it can be used to teach about their contributions in an entertaining and accessible manner.
DA: Kid-friendly stories and artworks can help kids recognize our heroes and make them aware of their contributions. Most kids nowadays enjoy humorous stories and creating a material that is fun but educational can bring them closer to the Fathers & Mothers of our country. Storytelling to kids is also a great way to reach out to them. The artworks I created are made with love for our culture and extending its arms to the kids with the best that it can.
e. What can you say about Dom, MJ? What can you say about MJ, Dom?
XZ: Domz is such an optimistic and positive person. He treats illustrating for children as a passion and an enjoyable thing to do. He also has a can-do attitude, and because of that I bully him to do some things for the promotion of our book. Haha. He is also an honest person. He shared me once that he faced challenges illustrating the book. He also told me about the persons special to him, especially his family.
DA: MJ is a remarkable young writer. I really thank him for coming up with a story that is culturally significant, educational and yet fun. MJ is very cooperative and is fun to work with. He's also a good friend who listens and gives really good advice. There's a great future for this youthful poet with blessings from God pouring on him. He is a great role model for everyone specially to those aspiring writers.
f. What is your favorite book for children?
XZ: There's a lot actually. But my first favorite book for children is Alamat ng Ampalaya by Augie Rivera and Kora Dandan-Albano. I got hold of a copy (the paper was newsprint then) when I was in Grade 1. It was also my first Filipino book for children.DA: Where the Wild Things Are is my favorite children's book. It inspires me in any sort of way. Everytime I read it, it never fails to take me to the world of the Wild Things and return back feeling good. That is one of the factors that a book is really good with its purpose if it will be able to do that to a person. I thank the late Maurice Sendak for creating a treasure that will keep everyone inspired.
Kuwento ni Xi Zuq
Guhit ni Dominic Agsaway
Inilimbag ng Adarna House (2013)
Tungkol sa Aklat
Blurb: Ngumiti si Andoy. Ito ang simula ng kuwento ni Andrew na nagsimula sa kanilang Heroes Park. Gusto lamang niya na iguhit ang estatwa ni Andres Bonifacio nang matuklasan niya ang ilang lihim sa buhay ng bayani.
Sa pagdiriwang ng ika-150 kaarawan ni Andres Bonifacio, inihahandog ng Adarna House ang Ngumiti si Andoy, isang aklat tungkol sa buhay ng bayani. Batay ang kuwento at guhit ng aklat sa mga nagwagi sa 2013 Philippine Board on Books for Young People-Salanga at Alcala Prize [pbby.org.ph]. Hanapin ang Ngumiti si Andoy sa Adarna House showroom at sa pinakamalapit ng book store sa inyo.
Tungkol sa Manunulat
Si Xi Zuq ay isang guro, manunulat at mambabasa mula sa Lungsod ng Heneral Santos. Kasapi siya ng Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING) at Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA). Bisitahin siya sa www.xizuqsnook.com.
Tungkol sa Illustrador
Si Dominic Agsaway ay isang ilustrador ng komiks at librong pambata. Siya ay miyembro ng Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan. Nagtapos siya sa Unibersidad de Santo Tomas (UST) at madalas rin tumambay sa parke habang naghihintay ng sundo. Maaari ninyo siyang ma-email sa HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" \t "_blank" email@example.com.
Goodreads Link: HYPERLINK "https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18805674-ngumiti-si-andoy" https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18805674-ngumiti-si-andoy
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