Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl

"Use Grammarly for proof reading because it's the new sexy!"




Now, for my review.

By Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Griffin
USA 2013

Fangirl is about Cather's adventures of her first year in college. Hers is not the wham-bam kind of adventure a freshman student in college experiences, but with Rowell's nuanced writing style, Cather's story is a wham-bam reading experience. You won't be reading about frat parties in this New Adult novel. Sex is kept at the minimum. And, almost all of Cather's family members and friends suffer from the normal neuroses.

Since this is my second Rainbow Rowell book, I declare that I favor this more than Eleanor and Park. OK. Eleanor and Park has its own charm, but Fangirl rubbed me the right way in all the right places. I felt the book was written for me.

What worked

Rowell started the novel with this sentence: There was a boy in her room.


One line and it speaks volumes. Who is this boy? How will this boy figure out in the novel? What has he to do with the protagonist who is definitely female. By reading between the lines, I knew right then and there that the female lead is an introvert.

Cather, super nerd and twin sister to Wren is walking on a borderline. She is not ready to change, but circumstances push her to do so. Life in university has proven to be a challenge. She must give up or finish off a fanfiction novel and start writing pieces that truly speak about who she really is. At home, her dad suffered a meltdown and it did not help that her sister is an alcoholic in denial. Through it all, it was the boy she found in her room that saved her from crashing and burning.

Levi, the boy in her room, is not your perfect male lead. He is described as nearly balding, lanky and has been dumped by his best friend turned girlfriend who happened to be Cather's roommate too. Complicated? Not so. It's just the way of the world. Cather finds all this as awkward though. She trudges on despite her discomfort and slowly grows into her own person.

A lot of the pain that Cather went through, she has kept in an internal, almost quiet manner until the appearance of her mother, estranged from her and her twin for years, to reconnect with her and Wren. That's when her real emotions surfaced. Rowell knows restraint. And I love her for using this as a plot strategy in the novel. She also made reading a book look so seductive and intimately alluring. Her use of fanfiction in the novel as a medium to hide one's self, likewise, as a platform for self discovery, is a clever literary technique.

What did not work

While Cath and Wren discovered who their true friends are, both ended up with two nice guys on campus. We know it's not always like that. But, I'm a mom and I want my daughter to end up with the nice guy in campus - the kind who won't shrink in front of my husband when daughter brings him home to meet the 'rents.

This is a small thing and can be overlooked given the genre of Fangirl. So, overall, I'm giving the book four and a half bookmarks!

On to my next Rowell novel: Attachments.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Call for Applications: KABANATA Young Adult Writer's Workshop

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) formally launches the KABANATA Young Adult Writer’s Workshop with a call for fellowship applications. Slated to begin in October 2014 in Quezon City, KABANATA aims to provide a venue and support system to writers who share in PBBY’s commitment to the promotion of a culture of reading among Filipino youth by providing this growing population with books that recognize their culture, aspirations, and sense of maturity.

For a period of at least six months, fellows accepted to KABANATA will meet monthly for learning sessions with industry experts, and progress discussions with their co-fellows. Upon novel completion, PBBY will help fellows with publication by inviting publishers to bid on the finished works. With this, KABANATA hopes to produce chapter books and young adult novels that will set the bar for similar endeavors to aspire to, and be the growth spurt of what will hopefully become a thriving, diverse, and quality Filipino literature inventory for kids and teens.

Applicants are asked to submit, among other requirements, a novel-in-progress represented by three chapters and a chapter outline. Novels-in-progress should be aimed towards children within the age of 9 to 16. Those interested may visit or to see the application guidelines, fellowship requirements, and complete workshop details. For further inquiries, contact KABANATA via or (02) 352-6765 local 119.

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is a private, non-stock, non-profit organization committed to the development and promotion of children’s literature in the Philippines and is the lead agency in the annual celebration of National Children’s Book Day (NCBD), which falls on the third Tuesday of July. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

23 Mobile Things PH & SG: Recap of Things 7, 8, 9 and 10

Keeping up and catching up on lessons and activities on 23 Mobile Things PH & SG, here are my thoughts and insights on Things 7 - Communication, 8 - Calendar, 9 - QR Codes and 10 - Social Reading.

Thing 7 - Communication via Hangout

Participants were introduced to Hangout, a chat and video conferencing app. I joined the convo that Saturday using my mobile device. I was able to chat and do video conferencing with librarians from Manila and Singapore. I met Joan Wee and Yunyun Wirawati on video conferencing!

Hangout is another app librarians can use for off shore guests, meetings with other professionals that are geographically far apart, and instant messaging for internal communications between librarians in big learning communities. I think Hangout can also be used for an Ask-a-Librarian service.

Thing 8 - Calendar

I've always used my mobile's built in calendar but I still write down my schedule and activities for the week and the whole month. Seeing the list of To Do's helps me visualize tasks that need to be done but writing down specific activities for a week makes me remember the task better.

For Thing 8, I'll do an almanac of sort on a monthly basis, post this up in the library's newsletter using Flashissue and share this with my learning community. I'll tag #23mthingsphsg, of course!

Thing 9 - QR Codes

I've heard and seen QR Codes and I know what they are. But using them is something I need to explore more on.

Thing 10 - Social Reading

I mentored this Thing and the convo on Social Reading and there were wonderful discussions. One idea that cam about was the important role librarians bring to the fore in using Social Reading apps and in moderating book clubs. I recommend a blended approach or an integrated approach towards Social Reading to keep the balance of print and ebook use. The principle being that library users learn and apply a variety of learning modes when reading. A balanced reading program prompts readers to use their brains' capacities, left, right or round about.

Social Reading apps are cool. Reading can be fun despite its complexity. We learn through reading on a personal level, but when we reach out to other readers and join a reading collective, we are able to innovate and create, and reflect on our own thoughts. The individual experience of reading is elevated in the universal.

It's been an exciting ride learning from peers in 23 Mobile Things PH SG. Thirteen more things to go!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

From Me to We: On Social Reading

Social Reading can be defined as the sharing of reading experiences through electronic means. With ebooks and social media, social reading becomes an engaging discourse of a collective group of people who've read the same books or are reading books that others already have. Technology plays a big role in this shared experience of reading in the sense that readers from varied backgrounds and age group, separated geographically can come together and simply enjoy talking about books.

It doesn't sound entirely new since libraries have been running book clubs and activities that engage and connect readers to the book since when. But, as mentioned above, when technology comes in, the reading experience expands to a wider audience. Ideas are generated. Thoughtful discourse happens. Our brains are sharpened to think in micro and macro levels. We recognize that we're not alone. The "me" time that personal reading affords a reader becomes a "we".

As a concept, social reading is a delightful way of enjoying reading and loving books all over again with people who share the same passion as you.

As librarians, we can participate in the social reading experience by being READERS first. We must read. Period. Format is not a question. Second, we need to be capable of shifting our reading modalities to print and digital formats. Form follows function. This would imply that we need a working knowledge of reading purposes. When do we read deeply? When do we read for leisure and enjoyment? Why do we read at all? What reading devices do we use for deep reading and for light reading. When we're aware of this purpose of reading, comprehension is easier to reach no matter what kind of reading implements we encounter.

Last, librarians need to understand the implications of social reading and the use of technology in facilitating this engagement. It can help us improve our services and define programs that are contextually based on our users. You might wonder what these implications are. Join us then in 23 Mobile Things PH and SG as I'll mentor Thing #10 this coming weekend. There's an online convo being brewed. We'll let you know when it's ready to be served via the website, the Facebook page and Twitter (#23mthingsphsg).

I've identified websites on social reading in the 23 Mobile Things PH SG site, but here are more links about social reading and online book clubs:

ReadUps - create your own reading club where you can discuss books read and recommend some.
Copia - buy and share insights on books read.
Book Drum  - publish book reviews and get comments and feedback; interactive maps and music included in featured book reviews that won awards
Book Lamp - reader, meet your (book) match!
Open Bookmarks - the ins and outs of social reading

Happy reading and see you online!

Coming Soon: KABANATA

Help Us Build Libraries in Batangas

Help get books to children in the Philippines by voting for Sambat Trust in The Big Break 2014.

The good cause with the most votes receives £2,000; enough for Sambat Trust to build a new school library in the Philippines!

- Anyone,from anywhere in the world can vote
- All you need is a Facebook, Twitter or Google account
- Free to vote-just 5 secs of your time and a couple of clicks

Please make a difference. Click on the link. Vote Now.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Raya students interview Zarah Gagatiga about Sambat Trust UK

Here is the translation of my interview with two students from Raya School. Thanks to MJ Tumamac for translating the Filipino transcript to English.
Note: When this interview was conducted, only Trapiche Elementary School has submitted an annual report. As of March 18, 2014, the rest of the schools with Sambat Trust libraries have turned in their reports. 

Diego Montenejo and Pepe Domingo, who are students from the Raya School, sent me questions about the advocacy of Sambat Trust UK. They wanted to know what the charity does in Tanauan City, Batangas. Here is the transcript of the interview.

1. Who started Sambat Trust and why did he create it?

Mr. Anthony Mariano started Sambat Trust. He wanted to help Tanauan City, where his family is from, through providing scholarship programs and building libraries in public elementary schools. Mr. Mariano is Filipino-British and he grew up in London.

2. How big is Sambat Trust’s impact on the children’s lives?

Sambat Trust’s library projects are a source of inspiration for the children. If there is a library in their school, it motivates them to study hard.
3. What are your future plans for the children of Tanauan?

I want to have more libraries in Tanauan City and, hopefully, kids will read more often.

4. How many children visit your libraries?

According to the report from Trapiche Elementary School, all of their students go to the library for they have a schedule to visit the library. We don’t have reports, however, from the other four school libraries.

5. What kinds of books do you encourage the children to read?

Most of the books in Sambat Trust’s libraries are produced by local publishers. We also put foreign books but there are only a few. We usually purchase the books from Adarna House.

6. What books do the children usually read? Or what are their favorite books?

They love picture books and illustrated picture books. With no title in particular, but the children really like books with drawings.

7. Why do you do this advocacy?

Because I love to read and I have the ability to help in building libraries. As a Filipino, this is what I can do for our country. I also believe that education will liberate my fellow Filipinos from poverty. They should be taught how to read and think. And we do this through Sambat Trust’s scholarship program and school library projects.

8. What is your favorite part or aspect in your work?

I am happy every time we build libraries and when I know that there are kids who learn to read because they have access to our libraries. Besides the classroom, the library is also a place where children can think freely as they learn to read.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Storytelling Workshop in Tuguegarao, Cagayan

Right after the Adarna House sponsored workshop, I headed on to the terminal of Victory Liner. I was scheduled to be in Tuguegarao on March 13 - 14 for a two-day storytelling workshop with teachers, librarians and day care givers of Region 2.

Scenes by the road side on our way to Penablanca. After Day 2 of the workshop, I visited
 Callao Cave with friends from St. Louis University and Sowers of Love Human Development
True to form, Victory Liner did not disappoint. I arrived an hour early than the expected time of arrival in Tuguegarao. Despite the crowd in Kamias Terminal, Victory Liner management tried their best to service the great number of passengers this season. At 9.30 AM, the workshop started and the storytelling circle was on fire.

Ms. Gloria, a public school teacher tells a personal story using paper cut-outs.

 For two days, participants looked back to their memories and significant human experiences to allow them the natural and spontaneous way of storytelling; practiced voice modulation; moved their bodies to exercises that would allow them to relax during storytelling sessions; watched different storytelling styles which I demonstrated; prepared flashcards for their storytelling of a local folk story using their mother tongue.

With Marilou, a librarian from Tabuk, Kalinga Apayao

Many thanks to Sowers of Love Human Development Inc. an organization in Tuguegarao that is committed to empower and form responsible and capable Cagayanons, and its young president, Coun. George Vega for making my stay in my father's hometown a memorable one. Sowers of Love is still a start up but the zest of its young members is its strength. This early, I pledge my support to Sowers of Love as they move their way towards their noble goal. Good luck and God bless!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Adarna House Workshop: All for the Love of Reading

The past three days had been an exciting journey with teachers, librarians and day care givers. I have had the pleasure of sharing with them activities, initiatives, strategies and techniques that promote books and reading. One goal of doing such workshops is for teachers, librarians and care givers to instill in children a genuine love for books and reading and develop a deep appreciation of culture and one's identity.

Last March 12, I conducted Adarna House's workshop for Love of Reading. There were eighty five teachers, librarians and school administrators who came together to interact and engage in different activities I designed. This led towards achieving the goal mentioned above. I combined activities with the traditional use of books  with digital formats emphasizing the importance of print in the growing child's reading experience and achieving a balance on the usage of digital books. We had book talks, book reviews, use of graphic organizers, LitCircles, storytelling and readers theatre.

Before I ended the workshop, I presented trends in e-reading and e-book publishing as well as fun ways to celebrate books and reading in the school community.

Surprisingly, only a few know about Wattpad, GoodReads and other ebook freebies online. When I asked how many of them have accounts on ereading apps and groups online, around five hands went up.

Librarians, we have the work cut out for us!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Panayam ng mga Mag-aaral ng Raya School tungkol sa Sambat Trust UK

Ang mga mag-aaral ng Raya School na sina Diego Montenejo at Pepe Domingo ay nagpadala ng mga tanong ukol sa adbokasiya ng Sambat Trust UK. Gusto nilang malaman kung ano ang mga ginagawa ng charity para sa mga taga Tanauan, Batangas. Narito ang transcript ng panayam.

1.Sino ang nagsimula ng Sambat Trust at bakit niya binuo ito?

Si G. Anthony Mariano ang nagsimula ng Sambat Trust. Gusto niyang makatulong sa mga kababayan niyang taga Tanauan sa pamamagitan ng scholarship program at pagpapatayo ng mga aklatan sa mga pampublikong paaralan. Filipino British is G. Mariano. Lumaki siya sa London. Ang kanyang mga magulang ay tubong Tanauan, Batangas.

2. Gaano kalaki ang epekto ninyo sa buhay ng mga bata?

Nakakapagbigay ng inspirasyon sa mga bata ang library project ng Sambat Trust. Pag may aklatan sila sa paaralan, nagiging masipag sila sa pag-aaral.

3. Ano ang plano ninyo sa hinaharap para sa mga bata?

Gusto kong magkaroon pa ng maraming aklatan sa Tanauan at sana, makapag basa pa ng mas madalas ang mga bata.

4. Gaano karaming bata ang pumupunta sa mga library ninyo?

Sa report ng Trapiche Elementary School, lahat ng mag-aaral nila ay nakakapunta sa aklatan dahil may schedule sila ng pag bisita sa aklatan. Subalit, wala pa kaming balita sa apat pang paaralan na binigyan namin ng aklatan.

5. Anong klaseng mga libro ang pinapabasa ninyo sa mga bata?

Mga aklat na limbag ng lokal na publishers ang nasa mga aklatan na project ng Sambat Trust. May foreign books rin pero, iilan lamang. Madalas ay sa Adarna House kami bumibili ng mga aklat.

6. Ano ang mga librong palaging binabasa o paborito ng mga bata?

Mga picture books at illustrated story books. Walang pinakasikat na aklat pero, gustong gusto nila ang mga aklat na may drawing.

7. Bakit ninyo ginagawa ang adbokasiyang ito? 

Mahilig aking magbasa at may kakayanan akong tumulong sa pagbuo ng aklatan. Bilang isang Filipino, ito na ang magagawa ko para sa bayan. Naniniwala rin ako na edukasyon ang makakapagbigay ng kalayaan mula sa kahirapan sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap. Dapat Silang turuan Kung paano magbasa at mag isip. Sa scholarship program at school library project namin ito magafawa.

8. Ano ang inyong paboritong bahagi o aspekto sa trabaho ninyo?

Masaya ako pag may nabubuo kaming aklatan at pag nalalaman  ko na may mga batang natututong magbasa dahil may aklatan silang pinuputahan. Bukod sa silid aralan, ang aklatan ay isang lugar kung saan makakapag isip ng malaya ang isang batang natututong magbasa.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wattpad: Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon

Book Spine Poetry January 2014: Judge's Review (2 of 4)

Ngayon ay dadakona ako sa ilang kalahok na nanalo:
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
Looking Back
The First Escape
Before We Were Free
A Hero of Our Time
Shaking the Foundation

Nagustuhanko ang tulang ito sapagka tbuo ang naratibo at nagtapos ito sa mga action word tulad ng jump at shaking nakapwanagpapakita ng paglampas sa mga harang sa pangarap tulad ng “fence” at pagbabantasa “foundation.” Nagustuhan ko rin ang pag-isolate ng makata sa salitang jump dahil ipinakita nito kung gaano kahalagaang action na iyon sa buong tula. Palagay ko, ang persona ay isang nilalang nan angangako ng matindinguri ng pakikilahok sa isang bagay nanapakahalaga sa kanyang panahon. 

At naramdaman ko sa pagsasalita ng persona kung gaano karaming pag-asaang itinataya nito sa kanyang sarili at sa mga tulad niya. Bilib ako sa tangan na ideyalismo ng akdang ito.
Dear Bully
You say more than you think
When No One Understands
The idea of evil
On Truth and Untruth
This I believe

Relevant angpaksa.Napapanahon at napakalinaw ng mensahe. Para sa akin, matapang ang persona dahil diniretso niya ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa bully. Ipinakita rin dito na may alam siya sa utak ng mga bully (na palagay ko ay hindi alam ng karamihan sa mga aktuwal na bully, sa tunay na buhay) at sa kanilang mga sinasabi sa kanilang mga biktima. Isa itong tunggalian ng nilalang na malalim ang pag-unawa at ng isang nilalang na bully lamang at wala nang iba.
In the Country of Men
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
Atlas Shrugged
…and a hard rain fell
Natuwa ak odahil may alusyon ito kay Atlas, isasa mga diyos sa mitolohiyang Griyego. Mukhangwell read ang estudyanteng sumulat nito. Napakatingkad din ng imahen na lumabas sa tula. 
Gaano nga ba kaliit ang tao sa iskema ng isang uniberso? Nagustuhan ko rin kung paanong nag pokus sa tao ang unang taludtod at sa abalang mundo nito na siyang nangyayari ngayon. Ang ikalawang taludtod ay paglalarawan sa information era naginagalawan nating lahat. Akala natin, tayo at ang ating talino ang sentro ng uniberso. Ay, maling-mali. Nariyansi Atlas para ipakita kung gaano tayo kaliit, gaano ka-insignificant. Siyang may hawak ng daigdig! Magkibit balikat lamang siya’y puwede nang masira ng ulan ang iyong araw.

Snow falling on cedars
In between the sheets
Of the dawn of freedom

Nagustuhanko ang ipinipintang imahen ng tulang ito, ang pag-ulan ng niyebe salugar na may mga puno ng cedar, isang madaling araw ng kalayaan. May ritmo ang pagkakasunod-sunod ng mga salitang unclean, unholy, undead dahil sa paulit-ulit natunog ng prefix na “un” at maiiklingsalitang karugtong nito: clean, holy, dead. Nakakagulat din kung paanong tinapo sangserye ng “un”. Unclean, negative. Marumi,
nakakadiri. Unholy, negative. Hindi banal, pariwara, walangkuwenta, bastos. At undead. Undead, negative. Kumbaga, zombification ng mga patay na nilalang.
Maaaringangtula ay nagpipinta ng larawan ng isang katatapos lamang na digma. Lahat ng digma ay nagluluwal ng mga unclean, unholy at undead na pagkatao. Dahil sa imahen sa mga taludtod, parang gusto kong sabayan ang persona sapag-aabang ng mgasusunod na pangyayari sa umagang ito.

Maligayangbatisalahat ng nanalosa Book Spine Poetry Contest at samga nag-organisanitolalonakay Gng. Zarah C. Gagatiga. Nawa’ymagpatuloykayonglumikha at tumula. Mabuhayangkabataangmakata!

Kamias, Quezon City

Pebrero 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodreads in SLIA: Book Review of Trinity the History of the First Atomic Bomb

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic BombTrinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the philosophical underpinnings behind the creation of the 1st atomic bomb. The black and white illustration adds to the book's historical appeal or look. The cover intrigues me as it shows Oppenheimer as a conflicted man. I got my answer at the end of the novel.

The novel is well researched and shows the tension of that particularly period in a good mix of objective narration and vivid drawings.

View all my reviews

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Storytelling & Writing Workshop at DLSZ's Reading Camp

Once again, I was invited by librarian friends from De La Salle Zobel to do a storytelling and writing workshop with grade five students of the Enrique Zobel Elementary School and nine more neighbor schools in Calatagan, Batangas. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet eager learners who appear to be first timers in attending a writing workshop and a reading camp at that.

I started out with stories that afforded them engagement and participation. At first they were unsure if this was allowed. But after encouraging them to join me in the chanting and repetitive lines in the story, they were enjoying it. From there I jumped off to the idea that stories are everywhere. I followed this up by telling a story using Kamishibai, The Mother Cat. This is a true story that happened in New York in 1996. The kids' eyes were filled with wonder. The adults enjoyed the session too.

I then did a read aloud of my published story books. Of course, I did not forget to tell them that I was able to produce such books through team work and collaboration. I then moved to discuss how each of my story book came to be. So, it was like a story with in a story presentation.

This was followed by a writing workshop. I first showed the kids a photo of a tomato growing in the garden. I made them read the questions. I asked for volunteers to answer the questions. The kids, at this point, were no longer shy at all but they needed prodding to be able to articulate their thoughts. I got the impression that speaking out is something they are not used to. What I emphasize in all my writing workshops with kids is the concept that all major skills in communication arts come into play in creating a story. I hope that they learned this despite the little time given to us.

For an hour, they tried writing their own stories while some kids followed my picture prompts. Amazingly, five students finished their stories and they read these out loud for others to hear.

Working and interacting with kids now that I am a published writer is something I look forward to doing more often in the future!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

World Book Day 2014

Pinoy Illustrator Interview: Liza Flores

Liza Flores, illustrator and former President of Ang INK, answers questions about her creative process and the challenge of illustrating Dear Nanay, our book which was published by Lampara Books (2014).

a. What attracted you to use paper when illustrating a book for children?

I have always loved paper! As far as I can remember, whenever I'm at National Bookstore, or any store that has paper, I'd be looking at the store's paper selection (whole sheets, cut sheets, gift wrappers, notebooks), even if I had no real use for it. In a trip to the US, I bought Manila paper, just because their Manila paper had a nice thickness, and was in a nice yellowish-crafty color. 

I think the idea of using paper was planted in my head when I got a set of Japanese bookmarks when I was around 10 years old. 

Then I discovered I was pretty good with scissors. 
b. How different is this medium to, say, water color or digital media as far as rendition is concerned?

When I use paint or colored pencils, I have to have a very clean and detailed drawing of the whole book before I can color. (1) I start by making small thumbnail studies. (2) Then, I draw all the pages again, but this time bigger, a little bigger than the book's size. I use regular bond paper and a pencil when I do this. (3) With A light box, I trace my drawings on to the actual paper board I'll be using. (4) Finally, I color my line drawings.

With paper cutouts, I can jump from rough thumbnail studies straight to cutting. I don't draw on the paper I cut. I just imagine the shapes I need, like a circle for a head of a character, then I cut. Almost any object can be simplified into simple, basic shapes. So I would cut one piece or element at a time, move things around to see what works, and build each character, scene, and page as I go along. Then, I glue the parts when I'm happy with what I have.

c. What was your approach to Dear Nanay? The story is pretty sad, but you made it appear light and cheerful.
I remember Beth Parrocha saying that whenever she got a sad story, the more she wants to make the illustrations happy. That's how I felt after reading the manuscript. 

Also, how the story was written was already easy to understand. So I figured there was room for the illustrations to be less literal. I could illustrate sending a letter via snail mail, or via email, but why not via paper airplanes? 

d. Is being an artist/illustrator your first choice of career? If not, what made you become one? If it is, what keeps you in it?

I couldn't decide what course to take when I was applying for college. I knew I liked art, and maybe something communication-related, but that was it. So I ended up choosing Visual Communication (Fine Arts), not really knowing what I'd be when I graduate. 

It never occurred to me that being an illustrator was a career until I saw INK's exhibit whan I was in college. In fact, it's funny that it never occurred to me that real people made the drawings in my favorite books. And when I saw the illustrations of Robert Alejandro, Mel Silvestre, Joanne de Leon, Beth Parrocha, I thought, hey, I'd like to do that too!

I enjoy the process of making a book. I like imagining the story and making it "real". I learn something new every time: about the materials I use, about what I am capable of, about how to tell a story better. Then, there's the happy bonus of seeing my work printed, and being enjoyed by the one reading it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

World Read Aloud Day 2014: Zoe's Book Talk

I am re-posting this today, World Read Aloud Day, to celebrate not only the power of words in reading them aloud but also for the empowered child when he/she reads aloud.

When my daughter was 10 years old, she had difficulty reading. Her love for learning pushed her to go beyond her difficulties. Here is a recorded video which she took using my iPod back in 2010. She book talked an I Spy book and walked the listener through the end. English is her second language, thus the numerous grammar mistakes in her telling. Proof that she is learning a language foreign to her.

MARCHing On to the Next School Library Project

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Spine Poetry January 2014: Judge's Review (1 of 4)

Last February, I invited Beverly "Bebang" Siy and Ronald "Poy" Verzo to judge entries in the Book Spine Poetry Contest that we're running in the library. The poems were entries for the month of January but judging transpired in February, National Arts Month. Serendipitous? Probably.
I will be posting their reviews in several parts.  Here is the first part of Bebang's review.

Ngayong National Arts Month, kakaibang patimpalak sa tula ang aking nilahukan bilang isang hurado. Pinamagatan itong Book Spine Poetry Contest na nilahukan ng mga estudyante ng Grades 9-12 ng Beacon Academy at inorganisa ng kanilang librarian na si Bb. Zarah C. Gagatiga.

Lahat ng kalahok ay kailangang makagawa ng isang tula gamit ang iba’t ibang pamagat ng aklat, na nakalimbag sa spine ng aklat. Ang isang spine ay katumbas ng isang taludtod. 
Dito ay hindi ako nagbago ng criteria sa ginawa kong paghusga sa mga kalahok. Ang ginawa ko ay katulad din ng paghusga ko sa karaniwang patimpalak sa tula. 

Sapagkat ang proseso lamang ng paglikha ng tula ang naiiba rito. Ang Book Spine Poetry ay isang halimbawa ng Found Poetry. Ito ‘yong uri ng tula na binubuo ng mga salita o pariralang basta na lamang natagpuan. Malabo ba? Ganito, halimbawa ay ang tula na gawa sa ilang headline ng ilang diyaryo. O kaya ay ang  tula na gawa sa unang pariralang matatagpuan sa unang pahina ng unang sampung libro na madadampot sa isang aklatan. Ibig sabihin, pre-selected ang (mga) salita na siyang titindig bilang isang taludtod. Walang babaguhin ang sinumang nais gumawa ng tula mula sa mga natagpuan niyang salita o parirala. Ang maaari lamang baguhin (depende na sa makata) ay ang pagkakasunod-sunod ng taludtod at/o ang mga bantas na nakapaloob sa mga ito.

Kumbaga, hindi kailangang likhain mula sa bula ang isang taludtod. Sa patimpalak na ito ng Beacon Academy, nariyan ang mga spine ng aklat, nariyan ang salita o parirala sa bawat spine na siyang bubuo sa taludtod. Kailangang piliin ang mga ito at ayusin ang pagkakasunod-sunod para makalikha ng isang tula.

At dahil tula pa rin ito, inaasahang matatagpuan pa rin dito ang mga elemento ng nasabing anyong pampanitikan.

Narito ang ilan sa palagay ko na dapat taglayin ng isang tula (in no particular order po!):

1. Mapaglarong gamit ng wika
-ito ang dahilan kung bakit nagiging manunulat ang isang karaniwang tao. Nagbabago ang simpleng salita dahil sa mapaglarong gamit niya rito. Nagbabago ito ng anyo, ng kulay, ng hugis, ng amoy, ng lasa, ng tunog dahil sa masining na paggamit ng isang manunulat. 
Sa kaso ng mga spine bilang taludtod, maaaring nagbabago ang kahulugan ng orihinal na pamagat sa spine dahil sa mapaglaro at masining na pagkakasunod-sunod ng bawat spine. Nalalaro niya ang mga salita, at ang kahulugan at tunog nito batay sa pagkakasunod-sunod ng spine.

2. Talinghaga
Ito raw ay pinagsanib na dalawang salita: nakataling hiwaga. Walang eksaktong salin sa Ingles ang salitang talinghaga. Ayon sa UP Diksiyonaryong  Filipino, ito ay mapagbuong simulain ng isang akda, lalo na kaugnay ng malikhaing pangangasiwa sa tayutay at retorika. 
Ito ‘yong bagay sa loob ng tula na kapag naaninag  mo, ikaw ay mapapa-“aaa… iyon pala!” Maaaring maipahayag  ang talinghaga sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng tayutay tulad ng simile, metaphor, irony, personification at marami pa. Maaari din namang ang talinghaga ay ang bagay na siyang hindi ipinapahayag sa isang tula. 

3. Mapaglarong gamit ng taludtod
Dahil sa patimpalak na ito, pre-selected ang (mga) salita sa isang spine o taludtod, ang kailangang bantayan ay kung paanong nagagamit ang pagkakaputol ng mga salita at diwa ng bawat spine. Nakakapagdagdag ba ito sa mensaheng nais iparating ng tula? Nakakapagdagdag ba ito para lalong maging interesting ang talinghaga sa tula? Dahil ba sa huling salita ng piniling spine ay nadagdagan ang pananabik para basahin ang susunod na spine? Ika nga ay, page turner ba ang huling salita ng bawat spine?

4. Persona
Ang persona ay ang mata na pinagmumulan ng isang tula. Kaninong mata ang nakakakita ng karanasan na nasa tula? Sa isang bata ba? Sa isang teenager o sa isang matanda? Sa isang mayaman ba, mahirap o middle class? Sa isang tao ba noong unang panahon o ngayong modernong panahon? Paalala: hindi kailangang tao ang may ari ng mga mata na ito. Maaaring maging mata ito ng isang yelo o kaya ng isang penguin.  Puwede ring mata ng isang buong bansa na naghihikahos. O kaya ng isang bansang gustong manakop ng ibang bansa. Kahit anong persona ay posible, walang hanggan ang posibilidad na mapagpipilian ng sinumang gustong tumula.

5. Mensahe at Tema
Bilang hurado, mahalaga rin sa akin ang tema o mensahe, hindi lang ang paraan kung paanong nilalaro ang mga salita o kung paanong ibinabaon sa mga salita ang isang talinghaga o kung paanong nayayari ang isang taludtod. Aanhin natin ang tulang napakahusay sa mga teknikalidad na nabanggit ngunit ampaw naman ang mensahe o di naman makabuluhan ang tema? 

Napakahirap gumawa ng tula ngunit sa kasawiang-palad, ang tula ay isa lamang messenger. Mas importante pa rin ang message na dala-dala ng messenger. Ang pogi nga ng messenger, wala namang kuwenta ang message niya, wala rin, di ba? Sayang lang ang panahon ng nakatanggap ng message. Kaya para sa akin, mahalagang nagbibigay ng angkop at makabuluhang mensahe ang isang tula o ang anumang pampanitikang akda. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

WRAD 2014: Raising Our Voices Blogging Challenge Week 3

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. 

These are my favorite books to read aloud to kids because it brings me and the listeners lots of joy!

Top to Bottom: Xilef; Chenelyn! Chenelyn! Sandosenang Spaatos,
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel, Sundalong Patpat

Top to Bottom: Officer Buckle & Gloria, Stella Luna, Library Mouse, Swimmy
TUESDAY, The Rainbow Fish, Here We All Are, HUG

Top to Bottom: Lizard's Song, Clifford, The Cat in the Hat, Love You Forever
The Carrot Seed, Chika Chika Boom Boom, Mooncake, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blog Tour: Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin

Kuwento ni Bernadette Villanueva Neri
Guhit ni CJ de Silva
Salin sa Ingles ni Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo
Layout ni Jennifer Padilla-Quintos
Inilimbag ng Publikasyong Twamkittens (2012)

Tungkol sa Aklat
Aklat-pambatang tumatalakay sa mga di-kumbensiyunal at di-tradisyunal na pamilya ang Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin (2012). Partikular nitong tinutuunan ang mga hámong hinaharap ng isang batang may dalawang nanay.

Tungkol sa mga Manlilikha

Nagtapos ng MA Filipino: Malikhaing Pagsulat si Bernadette Villanueva Neri sa UP Diliman at BA Mass Communication major in Journalism sa UP Baguio. Kumakatha siya ng mga kuwentong pambata, sanaysay, dula, at maikling kuwentong lesbiyana (na binansagan niyang “naratibô” o naratibo ng mga tibô). Kasalukuyan siyang nagtuturo sa UP Diliman, kasabay ng pagkuha ng duktorado sa Malikhaing Pagsulat sa parehong paaralan. Kasama niya ngayon sa bahay ang limang muning na tulad niya’y mahilig din sa ikaklit at iba pang mga halaman. 

Si CJ de Silva ay nakilala bilang Promil Kid sa mga commercial nito noong 90s. Ngayon, si CJ naman ang gumagawa ng mga patalastas bilang Art Director sa isang advertising agency. Hilig pa rin niya ang magpinta at gumuhit.

Nanay ng dalawang munting binibi si Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo. Siya ay isang manunulat, editor, mananaliksik, at aktibista. Nag-aral siya ng peryodismo sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at kasalukuyang nagtatrabaho sa isang internasyunal na organisasyon. Mahilig siya sa tula at potograpiya, at nait matutong maggitara.

Si Jennifer T. Padilla-Quintos ay nanay ng dalawang masayahing batang sina Gaby at Joaquin. Isa siyang graphic artist, art teacher at manggagawang pangkultura. Nagtapos siya ng Fine Arts sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman.

Panayam sa mga manlilikha
Manunulat (Det).
Gumuhit (CJ).
Nagsalin sa Ingles (Ate Jeni).
Nag-layout (Ate Poti).

Mga Video Blurb
Vlad Gonzales (Guro, Kritiko, Manunulat).
Rose Torres-Yu (Guro, Kritiko, Manunulat).
Poti Padilla-Quintos (Nanay).
Ging, Rose & Roni (Rainbow Family).
Roni (Batang may dalawang nanay).




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