Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Consultative Meeting on New Guidelines of CPD for Librarians

This assembly of professional organizations of librarians and the different sector they represent in Philippine Librarianship will happen tomorrow. My posting is late, but this would mean that the Board for Librarians (BFL) is busy and involved. Maybe to some, this is not what they're expecting from the BFL to do. Then again, it's a realistic initiative that will push for the profession to level up. 

Republic of the Philippines
Professional Regulation Commission

10 February 2014



The Board for Librarians - Continuing Professional Development Council (CPDC) invites you to a Consultative Meeting on the New Guidelines on Continuing Professional Development of Librarians on 27 February 2014, 1:00pm onwards, at the 4th Floor, UP College of Law Library, Malcolm Hall, Osmena Avenue, UP Diliman, Quezon City.  

The CPD Council will present new CPD guidelines on how potential CPD providers can accredited; how librarians can gain credit for self-directed learning and the rationale for the need for continuing professional education for librarians and other professionals. 

This meeting will enable you to understand the opportunities and challenges that our profession is currently facing. The venue is good for 50 persons only so please contact me at or at 09209616865 for reservation. Attendance to the consultative meeting is free of charge.

The council is looking forward to your presence. 

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

23 Mobile Things PH & SG: Thing # 6: Videos

I'm still learning from Thing #s 4 and 5 and here comes Thing # 6 -- videos!

I have accounts in YouTube and Instagram and have used its video apps both on laptop and mobile devices a few times. However, I think I should explore using videos to promote and market special events and collections in the library. Now that's a long term plan to put in a year's strategic plan for the library. The technology is just there but the content will take a while to build it.

For this week's Thing, my attention was directed towards

Tried annotating my video of a read aloud session. 
My work in the library entails guidance in using technology in instruction too. I'll recommend to my co-teachers and at the same time, I'll use it too to better understand the technology. The freeware/app can also be used by students who view and watch educational videos from YouTube. It's the annotation feature that I'm drawn to. 

As for updates on my use of Historypin, I have uploaded some photos of my travels. I've pinned some too. Then, I can create a Channel or a Tour. So far so good, I think.

International Book Giving Day 2014: Books Given Away

This is Sam. He is a grade 2 student at San Beda College Alabang. I gave him a copy of my book, My Daddy! My One and Only during International Book Giving Day 2014. He looked thrilled to get a free book!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Reviewer for the RAP (Reading Association of the Philippines) Journal

In the last quarter of 2013, I was invited to do a blind review for the RAP (Reading Association of the Philippines) Journal. Early this February, I was sent a copy of the entire issue. I'm posting the Editor's notes so that interested blog readers may check the journal since it regularly publishes current research and perspectives on Reading education and instruction.

Here now is a scanned copy of an abstract of one of the three research articles published in the RAP Journal's 2013 issue. The study on the Reading Habits, preferences, and contexts of school age children in a community library was done by Prof. Ana Margarita S. Salvador. Her paper has relevance to school librarians and public librarians in particular, as well as to literacy teachers and coaches.

The RAP Journal is available to members of RAP. The UP REGALE, College of Education keeps copies of past issues and current ones. The RAP Website has updates on their annual publications. Check the website for more information.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

WRAD 2014: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge Week 2

Week 2: February 17 - 23
Adult & Child
Answering the following questions with a child. The child can be a student or your own. Age does not matter. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us.
1. I think everyone in the world should read…
(repeat this format for the remaining questions)
2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…
5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...

This blog activity for WRAD 2014: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge was fun to do. I had my two kids, Nico (16 years old) and Zoe (13 years old), join me in the interview. Here's the transcript below. 

1. I think everyone in the world should read:  

Me: My books, especially Tales From the 7,000 Isles (De Las Casas and Gagatiga, ABC CLIO 2011)! Hahahaha! 

Zoe: Dictionary, the Bible and Harry Potter

Nico: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be:

Me: Harry Potter in British accent

Zoe:  Sandosenang Sapatos (OMF Hiyas) by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan

Nico: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss and Alamat ng Ampalaya (Adarna House) by Augie Rivera

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is: 

Me: I can't think of a favorite character right now, but when I read aloud I make sure I give my own rendition to the book's characters.

Zoe: Alexandra Trese by Budjette Tan.

Nico: A from Every Day by David Levithan
4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is:

Me: Gaiman and Rowling

Zoe: Roald Dahl

Nico: ...

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is:

Me: I like hearing the words. It's like giving life to inanimate objects. The words come alive when one reads aloud.

Zoe: I feel the person reading aloud to me is being kind. I like reading aloud myself because I can express my self. I like listening to myself when I read aloud.

Nico: There is a bond between the person reading aloud and the listener during read aloud sessions. Creating this bond is special.

This blog activity for the 2nd week of WRAD 2014: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge inspires me to keep talking about books my "teens" have read and guiding them on further to make well informed reading choices. More reading aloud insights next week!  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

23 Mobile Things PH & SG: #s 4 & 5: Maps & Checking In Photos+Maps+Apps

Here's an update on stuff I do at 23 Mobile Things PH & SG:

I've added a badge of Historypin in the blog as I've set up an account. I plan to create a channel of my travels as workshop facilitator, resource speaker and author to different schools and communities. I also intend to create tours of international conferences I've been to and will be going to in the future. I am still in the process of learning this app on photo archiving.

What would make Historypin different from Flickr and other photo apps out there? Technology is fascinating, but the librarian in me could not help but look for order in chaos. I'm trying to be poetic here. I just find the wealth of apps and Web 2.0 freebies overwhelming at times. There must be a way to put things in order and to categorize these apps and freebies into useful mechanism that will aid in content development and construction of knowledge.

Another app I've downloaded (in my iPhone) is Readar from LibraryThing. I think I'll be able to share my experiences with these apps as I go along, using and exploring its functionality in daily life applications.

Technology is pretty cool and yes, in this day and age, it's not just a tool but an environment that needs to be managed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Teaching Research to Teens: The Research Process

My second infographic using

This second infographic on the research process focus on the skills that students need to apply as they move from one step to the next. I have included questions on each step to guide the student in the journey. I chose the Big 6 Model in research to amplify the concept of research as a process.

Teaching Research to Teens: The Extended Essay (EE) Journey

My first infographic via 

I will be using this for my session on research/EE with grade 11 students this week. I'll blog more on the utility and experience of using and the infographic itself some other time when I'm less busy. But drop a comment if you have thoughts about the infographic.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Spine Poetry Winners for January 2014

This month's Book Spine Poetry winners were judged by Beverly Siy and Ronald Verzo, award winning author and poet of the Readers' Choice Awards. Here are their top three choices:

1st Place
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
Looking Back
The First Escape
Before We Were Free
A Hero of Our Time
Shaking the Foundation

2nd Place
In a Country of Men
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
Atlas Shrugged
…and a hard rain fell

3rd Place
Dear Bully
You Say More Than You Think
When No One Understands
On Truth and Untruth
This I Believe

I will be posting the comments of the judges in the blog in the next few days.

Friday, February 14, 2014

International Book Giving Day 2014

Who will get these books?

Filipino Librarians: Profs. Igor Cabbab & Iyra Buenrostro

It's Valentine's Day and the blog is so lucky to have this interview on one of the few "hot" but "wholesome" couples in Philippine Librarianship today. Outgoing Dean of UP SLIS Dean Igor Cabbab, and better half, Prof. Iyra Buenrostro answer three relevant questions on Philippine LIS education. The fourth question is very common and recalls to memory of high school slam book moments. But the last is definitely the most revealing of their dynamics as a couple.

Indeed, to quote a line from Fixer Upper (Frozen, 2013) love is a force that's powerful and strange!

a. What is the most pressing issue in LIS education today and why do you think it is so?

She said:
Curricular offerings that will meet the current demands of the industry. Though, there are already initiatives to align and standardize the courses offered in different library schools, and I think it's a good start. In relation to the curricular offerings, is of course, the need to have and offer graduate and post-graduate degrees in LIS. The UP SLIS (ILS then) has been offering LS subjects in the graduate level since 1952 and MLS in 1962, but until now we still don't have a PhD program in LIS. Obviously, we need to do something about it.

He said:
Current hiring / staff movement requirements based on global and local standards dictate that qualifications related to higher level administrative positions in LIS-related institutions (libraries, information centers, library schools, etc.) include the possession of post-baccalaureate degrees (MLIS and PhDs). MLIS is not a problem at the moment. PhD is a problem. In order for LIS Higher Education institutions to be able to address the offering of PhD in LIS they should have the faculty complement to back the degree offering. Sadly, only a few have PhDs in LIS / LS / Information in the country. This puts pressure on the academic personnel, it means that they should pursue the degrees first themselves.

b. How are LIS students different and the same from five years ago or from when you started teaching? 

She said:
I started teaching in 2006, I was only 22 then. I think that's one of the big differences. They respect me more now (I hope) because I'm older. Haha! But seriously, kids (yeah kids) nowadays, are more dependent (on technology, etc.) yet trying to be (or appear) independent. I also think that they are more creative and matapang.

He said:
Pasaway pa rin mga students kahit anong dekada. XD One difference I noticed is that they are more technology-savvy. So instead of asking them to drop their pens and listen to me first, I now have to ask them to close their laptops and focus on the professor in front.

c. What is the teaching tool or gadget you can't live without?

She said:
I have two (Aside from my Gift of Gab. LOL). My laptop and white board marker.

He said:
My laptop, my flash drive, my dropbox, my facebook account and a couple of government-issued, quickly fading, lowest bidder white board markers.

d. Define love. 

She said:
Ask my husband.

He said:
a. Two vowels, two consonants, two fools...
b. It means nothing to a tennis player...
c. Evol spelled backwards....
d. Back massages after a tiring day...
e. Still buying that Hello Kitty stuffed toy for Mami one day in 2010 even if it meant not having money for gas and lunch the next day. XD

About us

Prof. Iyra S. Buenrostro (BLIS 2005, cl; MLIS 2010, specialization in Archival Studies) is a full time faculty member of the UP School of Library and Information Studies since 2006 and she teaches courses on Library and Information Science, Records Management and Archives Administration. Before joining the academe, she was an Assistant Metadata Specialist in a Manila-based outsourcing firm that delivers digital archives services to different companies in the Middle East. At present, she is always invited by different professional library associations, schools and universities, and private organizations to talk about basic records management, core functions of archiving and archival training and education in the Philippines.

(Fashion peg: Zooey Deschanel and Anne Curtis. Has a lot of shoes and bags. Current obsessions: watches and lipsticks.)

Prof. Johann Frederick A. Cabbab (BLS 1994; MLS 1999, specialization in Information Systems and Literature for Children and Young Adults) is a full time faculty member and outgoing Dean of the UP School of Library and Information Studies. He was managing editor, writer and graphic artist for several children and young adult publications prior to rejoining the academe in 2007. He is actively involved in records digitization programs, most recent of which are for the University.

(Wants to get bigger, as in Brock Lesnar big. Skilltoy and weapon enthusiast: yoyo, spintop, diabolo, poi, firepoi, nunchucks, firechucks, balisong. Loves photography and russian m42 lenses.)

They blog at and wreck havoc on Facebook most of the time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spread the Book Love this Valentine's Day

Our Bulletin Board Display for February

Tell us what books would make for a good reading pair. 

There are books that go well together. When, after reading one, you'd like to follow it up with another that's probably written by the same author; the same genre; or something entirely different.
For example: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms; Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Hawking's The Brief History of Time;  Yang'sAmerican Born Chinese and Giaman's The Graveyard Book.

Tell us! Intrigue us! 

Make us want to read those books!

Also, tomorrow is International Book Reading Day and I'll be giving away some books. 

The 11th Romeo Forbes Children's Story Writing Competition

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Music for a Cause: Songs for ERDA Tech Scholars

Mrs. Alma Rivera-Yu, a former co-teacher in Xavier School sent me her son's letter regarding a campaign for ERDA Tech. Niccolo, a grade 10 student in Hong Kong Academy, is in the process of completing his Personal Project (PP). In an IB school that runs the Middle Years Program, the PP is a required project that will help form skills essential for the next program in the IB Continuum, the Diploma Program. As for Niccolo, he works on what he loves which is music and pushes for a service component to help scholars of ERDA Tech continue their studies.

Here is Niccolo's letter, posted with permission from his parents, and information on how you can help him raise funds for ERDA Tech scholars.

Dear Tita Zarah,            

            I extend a warm greeting to youI am currently a 10th grade student in Hong Kong Academy. During this period in our academic year, we are assigned to create a personal project. The personal project is a “student’s piece of work that is the product of the student’s own initiative and creativity” (International Baccalaureate). As I reflected on what my personal project would be, I wanted to incorporate both my interests and service learning together so I can enjoy the process and at the same time have the satisfaction of helping others in a significant manner.  Through your help and support, the success of my personal project can go a long way, particularly in lending a helping hand towards individuals who most need it.

            While coming up with an idea or theme on what my personal project was going to revolve around, I thought that music was most suitable. Music has always been a passion of mine. I thought that creating a music album with my five original compositions seemed like a fulfilling concept.  However, considering the purpose and impact my project would have towards others, I thought that a music album in itself would be rather shallow and irrelevant. Adding a service learning aspect would give my product more meaning as this would benefit others who need help the most. As I traveled back to the Philippines to search for a charitable organization I could work with, I stumbled upon a perfect opportunity.

            ERDA (Educational Research and Development Assistance) Tech is an institution that provides technical and vocational secondary education to students that are financially less privileged. The students are taught various technical skills that will allow them to be employable once they graduate. This allows them and their families to help fight the cycle of poverty. However, the students of ERDA Tech fully rely on scholarships. Students receive their education through ERDA Foundation’s efforts of bringing in sponsors to help raise funds for the school. Knowing this, I thought that fusing ERDA and my music album together as one project would result to an astounding idea.

            Selling my music album was the idea I came up with. I decided that all the funds that I generate out of selling my music album will be for the benefit of the students of ERDA Tech. This would provide them a better opportunity to finish their schooling and possibly lead to a better future. I wish that you would support this personal project of mine by purchasing my music album and possibly promote this to other people as well. With your strong support, we can help these children end their hardships and achieve endless possibilities.
Thank you very much.

Yours Sincerely,

Niccolo Yu
Grade 10
Hong Kong Academy

Note: The “Order Form” is attached herein and I look forward to your positive reply.  Kindly send in your order form to the following email and

SLIA's Reply on Recommended Books for Bibliotherapy

Here's my reply to Ann Grace Bansig's query.
My recommendations for bibliotherapy: 
Choose stories that kids can mirror themselves as characters in the story. What qualities or values then do you wish to emphasize? Hope? Endurance? Cooperation? Resourcefulness? Decide on this early on. Once you have decided, it would be easy to choose stories.
If I were to tell stories, I would use the fable of grasshopper and ant, but ant would end up helping grasshopper. I would also use Joseph's Overcoat to drive on creativity and imagination. 
You can also share personal stories pod survival and tenacity. Do not forget to use pre, during and post reading questions or activities!
          Good luck!

Monday, February 10, 2014

WRAD 2014: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge Week 1

WRAD Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge: Week 1: February 10 - 16
What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?
Your first mission is to answer this question. We are using this prompt to bring awareness to the impact reading aloud and the act of being read to has on readers of all ages. Consider it an opportunity to connect with others through the shared experience of hearing stories read aloud. 
More prompts: How you plan to celebrate WRAD on March 5? Who will you celebrate with? Where will you be? If you have celebrated WRAD in the past, what activities brought you and those you celebrated with the most joy? 
Growing up in the mid-70s, reading aloud was my alternative to watching TV because my parents controlled my viewing hours. There was Sesame Street and Electric Company to see in the morning while old Filipino movies and Japanese anime were my TV fodder in the late afternoon. This media experience did not drive me away from books. My mother read aloud to me. I loved the way the words slide out of her mouth and into my ears as she read from a book. The pictures in the books did not move when my mom read aloud to me, but the pictures I conjure in my head as she read aloud came alive. Those images were mine.

The words were strung together by the author. The pictures were illustrated by an artists. And yet, I have my own version of words and pictures put together. That is the power of the spoken word. Reading aloud enabled me to dream; to imagine; and to create. I did not know it then, but this is probably the reason why I became a school librarian. That love affair with books sealed my fate. Thanks a lot, Mom!

In the past WRAD celebrations, I had videos of book talks posted in the blog. I once did a read aloud of Lizard's Song. It is a joy to do this: talk about books and read aloud even if only it is done in this blog. This year, I'll celebrate WRAD 2014 by completing this blogging challenge.

I've done the first post for Week 1. On to the next!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

World Read Aloud Day: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge

I am joining in this blog challenge initiated by Matthew Winner for World Read ALoud Day 2014 (WRAD 2014). The theme for WRAD 2014 is Raising Our Voices. As librarian and literacy advocate, I will use this blog as platform to raise the voice for books, reading and literacy.

I have lifted this post on WRAD 2014 Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge from Matthew Winner, The Busy Librarian.
The World Read Aloud Day "Raising Our Voices" Blogging Challenge begins February 10 and runs through March 9. If you choose to take the challenge, each week you will be asked to write a post in response to a prompt or question (outlined below), for a total of 4 posts counting down to World Read Aloud Day. 
Each of the prompts addresses the WRAD theme "Raising Our Voices." Raising Our Voices encapsulates that simple yet effective way we show the world's children we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world. 
WRAD Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge: Weekly Outline 
Week 1: February 10 - 16
What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?
Your first mission is to answer this question. We are using this prompt to bring awareness to the impact reading aloud and the act of being read to has on readers of all ages. Consider it an opportunity to connect with others through the shared experience of hearing stories read aloud.
After answering the prompt, share a short description of how you plan to celebrate WRAD on March 5. Who will you celebrate with? Where will you be? If you have celebrated WRAD in the past, what activities brought you and those you celebrated with the most joy? If you haven't finalized plans, of if this will be your first WRAD celebration, use this space to share your brainstorming process, and direct your readers to for activities and recommendations.
Week 2: February 17 - 23
Adult & Child
Answering the following questions with a child. The child can be a student or your own. Age does not matter. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us.
1. I think everyone in the world should read…
(repeat this format for the remaining questions)
2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…
3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…
4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…
5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is... 
Week 3: February 24 - March 2
A Snapshot of My Reading Life
Post a photo that gives readers a glimpse into your reading life. This could be your favorite place to read, your bookshelf, your library, your classroom, a book from childhood that you still re-read today, your favorite person to read with. Anything that brings joy to your reading life will work!
Below the photo share a short narrative explaining why this picture is meaningful to you. 
Week 4: March 3 - 9
Raising Our Voices
It's time to read aloud! Select a favorite text, or a personal story that you love to share out loud, and make a video. If you don't have a webcam, are having technical difficulties, or prefer not to be on camera, you can also translate this challenge into a written post. Share what you will be reading on World Read Aloud Day, and why you chose this particular piece to read aloud.

If you choose to take up the WRAD Raising Our Voices blogging challenge, make sure to tweet your weekly posts to @litworldsays and use the hashtag #WRAD14 so that we can retweet your wonderful read aloud stories! Happy blogging!

Book Spine Poetry December 2013: Judge's Review (2 of 2)

Here is the second part of Rhandee Garlitos' review on the poems that made it to the finals in the library's Book Spine Poetry Contest. Part one can be read here.

Therefore, these three best entries captured not only the essence of being a poem built on a stack of found titles.  I see this exercise somewhat done before by the American writer Annie Dillard, making something out of newspaper and magazine articles, creating poems from an obsolete almanac in the 1920s, putting together lines by obliterating the unnecessary weeds and hedges.

The third place winner captivates me with its premise – that there could be fun in poetry despite its serious messages.  Its humor is natural and appealing to the young with its premise on the oldest subject in the world, the monkey on every normal student’s back – Maths (When no one understands / Maths 1001 / Academic anxiety / A Game of Groans)

A few more editing touches, and if the last line was used instead as a title, it would be a very potent haiku on the subject, like this:

A Game of Groans

When no one understands
Maths 1001 —
Academic anxiety

The second prize winner had the strength of a strong message.  It speaks of the need for restraint in order to achieve atonement, and it cuts both ways, too.  It could be like a gentle advice to go easy as one passes by an offended elemental, or a stern warning to be careful not to disrespect the boundaries set by a higher being, sort of like the traditional Filipino superstition of “Tabi, tabi po”.  Although it suffers slightly from the natural lack of a preposition (If whispers call for / atonement), it impresses me with its brevity.  A few more tweaks and fine-tuning and this would have gotten my two thumbs-up.

Walk softly, Rachel, 
if whispers call 
by the river.

If properly edited, this would read like

By the river
walk slowly, Rachel,
if whispers call (for)

The first prize winner stands out above others simply because its author (or I would prefer to call “recreator”) knew how to piece together a four-line poetry that is cohesive in thought and message.

In the country of men,
Things fall apart.
Funny how things change
As I lay dying.

The first two lines join together seamlessly and conjure the image of disarray brought in by what would have been expected as a warranted chaos.  To me it speaks of a world where men destroy each other in quest for power and command of fear above others, and the world collapses because of their whims.  It also speaks of how someone who lays victim to this chaos speaks of it with a casual, almost cold, demeanor.  Then again, it may be a stoic response by someone finally gasping his last ounce of breath.  It is for this reason that its imagery, along with a powerful message, causes this poem to stand out above all others and deserve a much needed applause for its precision and careful marriage of irony and imagery.

Rhandee Garlítos (aka Raymund Magno Garlítos) is an award-winning poet and children’s book author in English and Filipino.  He has received four times the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards (the Philippines’ premier literary contest); the Salanga Prize given by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People or PBBY; and the Gintong Aklat Award for his body of work.  He has published 12 children’s books, with his most recent being “Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki (The Fierce and Fabulous Boy in Pink)”, “Lauan, The Seed that Wanted to Fly” and “The Cat and the Bat and Other Fables.”  He edits and writes for the monthly travel magazine Cruising #Going Places, where he also edits its literary section.  He is currently based in Quezon City where he lives with his daughter, a sizable number of cats, and a house full of books.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

SLIA's Dear Librarian: Books for Bibliotherapy

Last month, librarian friend, Ann Grace Bansig left for Samar to do storytelling with kids who survived typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. She sent me this eamil:
I will be leaving for Guian, Samar next week. This will be a bibliotherapy experience for me.

If you're not too busy, can you please recommend stories for the children affected by Yolanda?
I will post my book recommendations to her next week.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tag Team Interview: Dianne De Las Casas and Eliana De Las Casas (2 of 2)

Taking off from yesterday's post where Dianne De Las Casas talked about her new book and her being a mom to Eliana De Las Casas, here now is Eliana's interview. She shares with us her beginnings as a young chef and a successful author; her cooking inspirations being Filipino, Cajun, Honduran and Cuban; and her new cookbook, Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit. 

Go to Kid Chef Eliana's webistemore news about her shinning career as chef and author. 

a. When did you discover your love for cooking and "fine" dining?

I started cooking when I was 4 years old. I really started to get serious in cooking at 8 years old. I started a food blog and created cooking tutorials for kids. On my blog, I talked about all of the restaurants I dined at and places I traveled to.

b. What are your influences in cooking and food preparation?

My family heritage influences my cooking because I'm Filipino, Cajun, Honduran, and Cuban. I'm also influenced by cooking shows, cooking magazines, and cookbooks. Usually, I like to cook whatever I'm in the mood for, whether it's Asian, Italian, Latin, Cajun, etc. I also like to cook foods that use fresh ingredients that are in-season. 

Eliana with her sister Soleil and her "lola" Josie
c. What is the most difficult/challenging dish you've prepared or cooked so far?

My most difficult dish that I've cooked would have to be soufflé. I made it not long ago it uses humble ingredients like the egg. You're probably thinking it couldn't be that hard if the ingredients are simple. It's the folding in of the ingredients and the baking the soufflé that's complicated. It's all about technique. You can't overwork the merengue yet you want to mix it pretty well. And, you have to make sure the soufflé rises in the oven and doesn't fall when you take it out. If you are successful, you are considered an amazing chef. It's every chef's dream to create a perfect soufflé. Obviously, mine fell but, I'll try again. Still, it tasted delicious. 

d. How do you balance school, writing and your endeavors as a chef? Any tips you wish to share to young aspiring chefs out there?

I always put school first. I work hard and get straight A's. After school, I do my homework and then cook dinner. I'm constantly writing new recipes every week. A lot of those recipes end up in my cookbooks. Many times, on the weekends, I have book events and cooking demos.

For young aspiring chefs, I think they should follow their dreams. Never stop doing what you love. You also need to believe on yourself. If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.

e. If I were to visit you in Harvey, New Orleans, what dish or menu would you prepare for me?

If you were to visit me, I would probably cook you a little bit of everything. I would serve a little Filipino, Cajun, Honduran, and Cuban. I'm really great at jambalaya and corn and crab bisque. I might just make some homemade ice cream, too! Mmmm!

f. You have a book, a radio show, and guested on TV shows at the ripe old age of 13, so what is the next step for Kid Chef Eliana?

I actually have three cookbooks now. My third cookbook, Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit, just came out. I would like to have a line of spices. I've already created 4 different seasoning blends. I want to create a line of cookware and chef wear for kids. The cookware would be smaller, lighter, and have cool colors and designs. It would be easy for kids to handle. The cookware would also be labeled with the name of the pot, pan, etc. Plus, I would like to have a TV show. I am already pitching a TV show, working with a Hollywood production company.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tag Team Interview: Dianne De Las Casas & Eliana De Las Casas (1 of 2)

For this month's author interview, the blog is honored to have international storyteller and author Dianne De Las Casas and Kid Chef Eliana De Las Casas. Regular readers of the blog know who Dianne De Las Casas is as I have featured her in the blog several times over. To know more about her, visit her website and you'll discover her many talents. Apart from being a storyteller, author and literacy advocate, Dianne is one great mom. Over the past years, she has been supporting Eliana's career as young chef and author. 

In this interview, she shares her wonderful experience as coach, talent builder and adviser to her daughter Eliana. Dianne has a new picture book, Cinderellaphant, and she talks about it briefly in this interview. 

a. When did you see or learn of Eliana's potential as a chef?

Eliana began cooking when she was 4 years old. She always loved being in the kitchen, stirring and mixing things up when she was little girl. Every Christmas and birthday, she would ask for tools related to the kitchen. When she was a result, I suggested that she start a food blog. Since then, her skill and professionalism has grown immensely.

b. How did you develop and encourage that potential? 

I supported Eliana by encouraging her to start a food blog. As a family, we all talked her different kitchen skills. I'm more of the gourmet; Eliana's dad specializes in pizza, bread, and ice cream; her Filipina nana does comfort food; her Cajun pawpaw excels at outdoor cooking; her abuela and her older sister, Soleil, love to bake; her uncle Gary taught her how to fish and crab; and her aunt Pam gardens and raises chickens. All of these influences have helped shape and Eliana into the chef she is becoming.

c. What road blocks did you, Eliana and your family encounter along the way as Eliana pushes and accomplishes her dreams? How did you, individually and collectively as a family, overcome these road blocks?

As you know, I have my own career as a children's book author. Balancing both Eliana's rising star and sustaining my career has been quite a challenge. Fortunately, we can do events together and balance the schedule that way.

d. How does being a successful author contribute to being a "mom" to Eliana?

My experience as an author has definitely helped me guide her in her own book and cooking career. It makes it easier for me to relate to her when it comes to her writing recipes, blogging, and writing her cookbooks. We often brainstorm together and plan her career together.

e. What do you love doing together apart from cooking and writing books, of course?

We love going to the movies and shopping. We both enjoy throwing parties, playing board games, and reading the same books, so that we can discuss them together. In addition, our favorite activity that we love to do together is traveling! Eliana and I derive so much inspiration from our travels for my books as well as her recipes.

f. Any new books, storytelling gigs and projects to promote? Please give a message to your fans in the Philippines. I know they miss you and are awaiting your next visit.

My newest picture book is Cinderellaphant. It's a remix of the "classic furry tail" with a pachyderm princess, a fairy godmouse, two step hippos, and a royal roan looking for his "sole mate." 

I have another book with Libraries Unlimited called Handmade Tales 2: More Stories to Make and Take with draw and tell, fold and tell, string stories, and more. It continues the tradition started in my very popular book, Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take.

I miss all of the teachers in the Philippines and keep in touch with many of them through social media and email. Thank you so much for the work that you do, and for continuing to use my books and the information from my workshops in your teachings. Mahal kita!

I would love to return to the Philippines and bring Kid Chef Eliana with me! Now that would be a great story!

Eliana's interview will appear in the blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Update on the 2014 Reading Challenge

One of the four teachers participating in the 2014 Reading Challenge has turned in her book review. 

The Elegance of the Hedgehogby Muriel Barbery 
I had heard about this book quite a bit in the past, so I was quite happy to have pulled it out of my book "can" before the long weekend.  
I have to admit, it took me a while to warm up to this story of a young girl and a concierge who live in a luxurious apartment building in Paris. I initially found both protagonists pretentious and perfect dictionary examples of reverse snobs.  
There was a bit of decent philosophical discussion happening in between their stories, which will make for fun pondering if you're into TOK. But otherwise, I only only began to enjoy this book when their mysterious Japanese neighbour arrives and you see another side to both women.  
The chapters are as light as a freshly baked croissant and are easily read over a plane ride or before visiting your dreams at night. It's also the kind of story that makes for fun discussions with others who've read it as well. 
As for me, I still have to read Bag of Bones by Stephen King as recommended by a grade 12 student. I'm in between two books now (on top of writing projects and library advocacy duties, I push myself to read fiction) so, I'll finish both then move on to Bag of Bones. To fulfill my promise, here's what the library is giving away for students who recommended books and for teachers who wrote a book review.

Dear Nanay

My new book, Dear Nanay (Lampara Books, 2014) is now available in bookstores

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...