Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Top Ten Best Books for the Kids' Choice Award 2014

One of the new things introduced in the recent NCBA Best Reads of 2014 awards ceremony was the Kids' Choice Award. This is not the first time kid judges were picked to choose books they deem as the "best" of the year. The Filipino ReaderCon staged a similar reading award last year. What makes this award giving activity interesting is that, books for children are read by kids and they get their say on what is good and well written literature.

Rafa Valera announces the Top 10 Best Kids' Books of 2014
Writers of children's books often claim that their intended audience are children. But adult writers sometimes miss the whole point of hitting the target audience they write for. Mea Culpa. Parents and teachers pick books for their children and students with all the good intention of instilling values and "morals". But parents and teachers often make the mistake of choosing books for their kids as boring and too far off from the young readers' experience and context. Mea Culpa. Librarians would look at catalogs, circulation statistics and inventory reports and use data from these cold instruments to decide on book acquisitions for young readers. Mea Culpa.

Yes. I do make mistakes.

But. The good thing of being involved in the PBBY and in this industry is that, I am fortunate enough to witness thinking that is outside the box.

So if we adults claim to be concerned with our children's well being, particularly in their thinking skills (which is synonymous to READING), we should trust them enough to express themselves and voice out their opinions on the choices they make. Giving them the opportunity to choose the books they think is the best of the year is a liberating exercise and one where we can learn from.

Reading is a shared endeavor.

And that, my friends, is my take away from last Saturday's NCBA Best Reads of 2014 awards ceremony. In many of my reading and library workshops on developing a reading culture, I often speak of reader feedback. Librarians can provide services and programs that must be contextualized to the readers' experience. To do this, librarians need to be open to feedback and to listen to what their readers are saying. Mechanism should be in place. In fact, staging a Kids Choice Award in the school through the library's program is one mechanism.

Of course, librarians can check out the books that made it to the NCBA Best Reads and Kids Choice Award, but wouldn't it be fun to test these books in your own learning community? Or, pick the books that adults claim as children's books and have it validated by kids who can read them too. The whole idea is for readers to come together, to listen, to discuss and build on a stronger reading culture in the community.

Alon Cristobal announces The Day of Darkness the Kids' Choice Award
And now, for the Top Ten Best Books for the Kids's Choice Award 2014 (in no particular order or ranking):

Berting ang Batang Uling by Christopher Rosales
May Darating na Trak Bukas by Virgilio Almario
Pintong Maraming Silid by Eugene Evasco
A Girl in A Box by Felinda Dang Bagas
Pages (Bookmark)
Sine Madyika by Lauren Macaraeg
Ang Bongang Bongang Batang Beki by Rhandee Garlitos
Ang Ikaklit sa Aking Hardin by Bernadette Neri
Sandwich to the Moon by Jaime Bauza
The Day of Darkness by Zig Marasigan - Kids Choice Award 2014


Congratulations to authors, illustrators and publishers of these "best books"! This a big compliment and affirmation from children who read!




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gunita't Guhit: Pagbabalik-tanaw sa 31 Taon ng PBBY-Alcala Prize


NCBA Best Reads of 2014: Bits and Pieces of the Awards Ceremony

The recently concluded NCBA Best Reads of 2014 awards ceremony was a success indeed! I'll post some insights I gained from the experience for another day. For now, I'll share some of the cool things that happened last Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the GT Toyota Auditorium in UP Diliman.

Play time!
There were kids present in the audience. They were the kid judges of the Kids Choice Award, kids of the NBDB Officers and PBBY board members, and kids of authors and illustrators who came in the event. Because of them, NBDB and PBBY set up a party themed NCBA awards ceremony. A play area was set in one corner; a photo booth was in another; there were balloons; a very Pinoy spaghetti and hotdog were served for snacks; and sorbetes!

Hats and head dresses to wear for picture-picture!

At the photo booth 

Like the NCBD, the NCBA awards ceremony was a reunion and gathering of friends and allies in the Philippine Children's Literature industry. National Artist Virgilio Almario was present; Usec. Dina Ocampo and Usec. Che Cristobal attended the event and they brought with them their two sons. It was a family event, really. With Adarna House winning five awards, the Almarios automatically became the grand slam award winning clan of 2014! Those long hours working with writers and illustrators surely paid off.

This year's ceremony was graced by the amazing performances of JK Anicoche, PBBY board member, thespian, action star and founder of Sipat Lawin Ensemble. A group of four performers from Sipat Lawin delighted the audience with a very lively and contemporary rendition of Rene Villanueva's Ang Unang Baboy sa Langit. I get the feeling we will see more of them in succeeding literacy events.

The Sipat Lawin Ensemble did a lot of improv! Amazing!

As for me, my NCBA day ended with coffee and a light dinner with KUTING friends. Three KUTINGs reaped the "open book" award from the NBDB and PBBY. We have to celebrate this with the rest of the cat litter. For now, we're all basking in the after glow of a glorious NCBA Best Reads event.

Finally.

The National Children's Book Award Best Reads of 2014

Four books were proclaimed the National Children's Book Award Best Reads of 2014. These books are, in no particular order or rank:

Ngumiti si Andoy (Adarna House) by Xi Zuq (MJ Tumamac), illustrated by Dominic Agsaway  
Hating Kapatid (Adarna House) by Raissa Rivera-Falgui, illustrated by Fran Alvarez 
What You Should Know About Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan (Adarna House) by Weng Cahiles, illustrated by Isa Natividad 
The Girl in a Box (Adarna House) by Felinda "Bang" Bagas, illustrated by Aldy Aguirre

There was also the Kids Choice Award and the Save the Children Award. Ten kid judges picked The Day of Darkness (Bookmark) by Zig Marasigan and Bahay Kubo (Adarna House) illustrated by Pergilene Acuna bagged the Save the Children Award.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Wrap Up: The NCBD Fair 201

The weather did not cooperate at all last week. The wind blew off from the sea. A tropical storm passed through the southern side of the Philippines which made the whole day gray, gloomy and wet. But the bad weather didn't stop the PBBY to head on to Museo Pambata for the 31st celebration of the National Children's Book Day. The event was already postponed a week before due to another storm that struck Manila. There was no reason for another postponement.

PBBY with the Salanga and Alacala Prize winners
The NCBD Program was in full swing at 9AM that morning of July 22. Kids from different schools visited the various booths of book sellers and publishers. They had a blast with storytellers during the storytelling sessions at the Karapatan Hall. The librarians workshop had more than half of the expected number of attendees. In the afternoon, the awarding ceremonies of the Salanga and Alcala Prizes capped the whole day celebration of the NCBD.

Participants of the NCBD Librarians' Workshop

Bookmark's Booth at Museo Pambata

This year's NCBD celebration deviated from tradition. The PBBY board members wore t-shirst that has the new PBBY logo designed by Studio Dialogo. But some things remain: friends whom we all can count on to boost and enrich the industry; promising talents and artists we welcome to Philippine Children's Literature; and the presence of hundreds of Filipino kids, our inspiration to continue this advocacy for books and reading.

Touched base with author and friend, Becky Santos-Gerodias


The PBBY will rest for but a few days but we'll be back next month for the Alcala Retrospective, Gunita't Guhit at UP Diliman. And then there's the KABANATA Workshop that will take place in the next few months. Our work is never done. We continue. We move on. We have fun!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The NCBD Fair Is Tomorrow!

Here's an interactive poster of the NCBD Fair. Click the icons!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Where It All Began

Back in 1997, when I was a preschool librarian in Xavier School, I joined the first storytelling contest of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People. This is how I remembered it to be.

The elimination rounds were held at the Filipinas Heritage Library which was then located at the historic Nielsen Tower in Ayala, Makati. I wore my peach blouse and black pants. My hubby was my companion and cheer leader. I read aloud Ompong Remigio's Bruhaha! Bruhihi. I made it through the final round. The judges of the contests were Letti Sala and Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz. There was a third judge, but I could not remember who that person is. Sorry.

During the final round, there was no book to hold or read aloud. Contestants were asked to read the story and deliver on the spot. I was racked with nerves. It didn't help that I was the first contestant. To make the long story short, I didn't win the top spot. In fact, I ranked the lowest.

Yes, I was disappointed with myself. But, a few weeks after the National Children's Book Day, I got a call from Rose Gonzales, who was then programs coordinator for National Bookstore, to do a storytelling session in one of the store's branches. You see, all seven contestants of the Storytelling contest were "required" to do a session or two. Early on, I knew my advocacy to promote books and reading was off to a start. I said yes, of course, but Rose Gonzales sounded snotty and strict on the phone that I was a bit annoyed. Little did I know that we'll be good friends in the years to come. How that happened is another story I will reserve for another day.

The long and short of it, I never looked back. That storytelling contest paved the way for more storytelling opportunities that helped me improve my craft in the art of storytelling. After all these years, I am still telling stories. 

While I am grateful for PBBY for the storytelling contest it set up in 1997, I hope that one of these days, it can organize a festival where storytellers are not pitted against each other; where stories are teh stars of the show; where the skill and craft of storytelling is the highlight in making a story a powerful medium to heal people and to build and empower communities.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Bibliotherapy: LibRadio Guesting and A Research Abstract

And so I'm back! From outer space! Well, more like back from the aftermath of the storm. Yep, I'm channeling Gloria Gaynor.

Typhoon Rammasun left a considerable amount of damage in Region 4, the Southern Tagalog Region, that to this day, there are still provinces where the supply of electricity has not gone back to normal yet. As we hope and cope through this natural calamity, we survive.

Life goes on.

To pick up where we left off, allow me to start with the good news of having guested over in DZUP's show, LibRadio, a week ago. It was an informative and engaging guesting. I have to give credit to the radio hosts, Eimee Lagrama, Ellija Dar Juan and Madame Elvie Lapus who were all very responsive in the discussion on bibliotherapy. There was an energy in the booth. I felt I was speaking with kindred spirits. Suffice it to say that with our discussion on bibliotherapy, tried and true principles of Library and Information Science were brought up as well as new models of operations and programming planning for libraries. At the end of the show, Madame Elvie Lapus took note of the relevance of research in developing bibliotehrapy in libraries.

Speaking of research, I got a copy of a thesis on bibliotherapy done by Psychology students of St. Sebastian College-Recolletos, Canlubang. Last year, I was interviewed by Ms. Joanne Macheca and two of her classmates to share with them what little I know about bibliotherapy. 

What follows are the excerpts of the acknowledgement from their thesis and the research abstract.


I suppose I have a new role now. No complaints.


Thesis title: The Effects of Bibliotherapy to the Self-Esteem 
of the Abandoned Children in Children's Joy Foundatioan

Monday, July 14, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Children's Book Publishers: Answers

Publisher #4 : This publishing house is one of the leaders in textbook publication in the country. It has branched out to the publication of children's books with the motto:Instill the love of reading! And what a catchy name this publishing house baptized it's imprint with. Eugene Evasco, Genaro Gojo Cruz, Lina Diza de Rivera and Becky Santos-Gerodias are the teacher-writers who've launched not just one but numerous books with this publisher/publishing house in the past years.

Name this publisher/publishing house!


Answers: Vibal Publishing House / Chikiting Books

Publisher #5: This publishing house has garnered a number of book awards from the National Book Awards. While it specializes in Filipiniana, it also boasts of a credible line of instructional resources for teachers in the grade school, high school and college levels. Their titles of cookbooks, art and culture books are best sellers too! This publishing house revived the classic tales of Lola Basyang that led to a ballet performance of one book in the series.

Name this publisher/publishing house!


Answer:  Anvil Publishing House

Halina't Mamitas ng Aklat Bukas sa NCBD Fair!









Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Children's Book Publishers

Here's round two of our publisher/publishing house name game.

Publisher #4 : This publishing house is one of the leaders in textbook publication in the country. It has branched out to the publication of children's books with the motto: Instill the love of reading! And what a catchy name this publishing house baptized it's imprint with. Eugene Evasco, Genaro Gojo Cruz, Lina Diza de Rivera and Becky Santos-Gerodias are the teacher-writers who've launched not just one but numerous books with this publisher/publishing house in the past years.

Name this publisher/publishing house!

Publisher #5: This publishing house has garnered a number of book awards from the National Book Awards. While it specializes in Filipiniana, it also boasts of a credible line of instructional resources for teachers in the grade school, high school and college levels. Their titles of cookbooks, art and culture books are best sellers too! This publishing house revived the classic tales of Lola Basyang that led to a ballet performance of one book in the series.

Name this publisher/publishing house!

Will post answers to the clues this week. Keep visiting!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bibliotherapy on DZUP LibRadio

I will be guesting on air tomorrow over at DZUP LibRadio 1602. The radio show begins at 12NN. There is online streaming at the DZUP website

It is my third in the radio show and it has always been a lovely experience every time I am with the librarian DJs of UP Diliman. They give a different spin to the word "librarian". It only goes to show how flexible and adaptable modern librarians are!

I will be talking about Bibliotherapy tomorrow. Before the program ends, I will definitely be promoting the 31st National Children's Book Day activities. Thinking about it, DZUP LibRadio has been very supportive of the NCBD since last year. In behalf of PBBY, I thank you for this support.

Now here are the talking points:

Definition of Bibliotherapy
 Foundations of Bibliotherapy
 Bibliotherapy in the Philippines
 How does it help?
 How can a librarian use this to help users?
 Self-help possible?
 Research tips and tricks
 Scope and limitations of Bibliotherapy?
 How do you become a Bibliotherapist?
 Traits of an effective Bibliotherapist?

For those who won't be able to tune in, I will post the answers to the questions and the replies to the points for discussion on the topic soon.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Children's Book Publishers: Answers

Publihser #1 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house? 


This publishing house publishes a series of illustrated story books on health and hygiene that touches on the values of self care, responsibility and discipline at the same time. Each title of a book in the series begins with an Interjection that catches the attention, and the eye, of the young reader. Name this publisher/publishing house!

Publisher #2 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house? 


This publishing house is the first to venture into publishing stories for kids way back in the 70s. Back then, it was known for its stories printed in newsprint books with comic like illustrations. I remember, as a grade schooler, book sellers of this publishing house would visit our school to do book talks of illustrated story books like Pilar Katterpillar and Ang Mayang Uhaw. It has now evolved into a publishing house that assists teachers and parents in raising young Filipino readers. 


Name this publisher/publishing house!


Publisher #3 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house?

Today's featured publisher/publishing house does not consider itself a publishing house, but it works with publishers to produce books for children anyway. In 2005, it launched a book about a man who planted trees, an eco-fable from France adapted and written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Romeo Forbes. The book (guess the title) was the initiative for a yearly contest where in a visual artist's work is used as inspiration for a children's story. The winning manuscript is then illustrated, or painted, by the visual artist of the year. The winning stories can be read online for FREE.

In 2012, Doll Eyes, one of the winning stories of its yearly contest was included in the Best Reads National Children's Book Award of the PBBY and the NBDB.


Name this publisher/publishing house!



Answer #1: OMF - Hiyas
Apart from the Tito Dok series, Hiyas carries the Oh Mateo Series by Grace D. Chong. Another favorite author of mine who writes for Hiyas is Robert Magnuson, author of The Great Duck and Crocodile Race. This picture book for children was among the Best Reads National Children's Book Award winners of 2012.



Answer #2: Adarna House
Adatna House continues to stretch its wings for the young Filipino Reader. It has ventured into digital publication of its award winning picture books, Ang Araw sa Palengke and But That Won't Wake Me Up in iTunes. Early this year, Adarna House launched a young adult novel, Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon written by Edgar Samar.


Answer #3: CANVAS
As a non-profit organization, CANVAS has a literacy campaign supporting books and reading development. Check their website and find out more about 1 Million Books for 1 Million Filipino Children Initiative that aims to promote literacy and encourage the love of reading (as well as an awareness and appreciation for Philippine art) to various groups of underprivileged children. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Back in Preschool: Storytelling at the CSC Miriam College

I was the guest storyteller in Miriam College's Child Study Center (CSC) yesterday. The library of CSC has a new librarian. He is young and a fresh graduate from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He is none other than Mr. Nino Angelo Fernandez. In the CSC, he is fondly called as Teacher Gelo by students and teachers.

Teacher Gelo took over the CSC library last year and he continues on the tradition of early literacy development through library services and programs at the CSC. When he sent the invitation for me to tell stories to the Nursery classes, I immediately remembered the warm reception of CSC's faculty and staff in years past when I was their visiting storyteller. Despite my busy schedule, I said yes to the invitation  because I know I will be rekindling ties with old friends in CSC. Besides, Teacher Gelo is a PCScian like myself. The ties that bind are pretty tight.




With Teacher Gelo
holding a library copy
of My Daddy! My One and Only (Lampara Books)
As expected, I enjoyed my whole day storytelling with the Nursery students. The children loved listening to the stories I told! One student frankly said, "Ms. Zarah, you are funny!" My heart soared.

I started out with a read aloud of my book, My Daddy! My One and Only! As a pre-reading activity, I introduced the song Hi-ho Library-oh!

The song can be sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell

The author writes the book (2x)
Hi-ho Library-oh! The author writes the book

The illustrator draws (2x)
Hi-ho Library-oh! The illustrator draws

The publisher puts it together (2x)\
Hi-ho Library-oh! The publisher puts it together

After the read aloud, I reminded the Nursery students that books are available in the library. I moved on to a draw-and-tell story of Bingo the Dog. As a goodbye story, I ended with a cut-and-tell story of Mama Bird Laid an Egg. The students took home baby bird hats/sun visors as their souvenir.


But, before each class left the activity center, Teacher Gelo had a five minute library tour with each class. How practical of Teacher Gelo to introduce three basic library rules for the preschoolers.



Keep it simple and sweet!

I sure would like to visit the CSC of Miriam College again. I am inspired to spin new stories for their preschoolers. I started out as a preschool teacher and moved on to Xavier School as the librarian for its preschool department. I am now a High School librarian concentrating on Young Adult library services. But preschool education beckons to me like magic, once in a while. I submit myself to its enchanting spell.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

PBBY On-Air in DZUP LibRadio

If you listen to DZUP every Wednesday for the program, LibRadio Librarians sa Radio, you'll have your fill of PBBY board members campaigning for books and literacy development. It's July and on the 15th, we'll be celebrating the 31st National Children's Book Day (NCBD)!

I am the guest on July 9 and while I'll be talking about Bibliotherapy, it is inevitable to discuss the NCBD celebration in Museo Pambata on July 15, from 9AM to 2PM. In this year's NCBD, the PBBY worked with local publishers to set up a book fair where publishers can present and showcase new titles in Museo Pambata. This event is OPEN to ALL.

On July 16, PBBY Chairperson, Tarie Sabido and PBBY Secretary General, Ani Almario will be on air to share the good news on the KABANATA Workshop. Tune in to DZUP LibRadio 1602 to hear Ms. Sabido and Ms. Almario explain the details of the workshop.

As I write this blog post, Melanie Abad Ramirez of the National Library is on air being interviewed about Children's Library Services. Ms. Ramirez happens to be the representative of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) Director to the PBBY since NLP is an institutional member.

Thank you very much DZUP LibRadio for helping PBBY spread the word on the National Children's Book Day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How Well Do You Know Your Children's Book Publishers?

In the FB page of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), I started an interactive post on Philippine Children's Book Publishers. It's fourteen more days to go till the 31st National Children's Book Day (NCBD) and with a book fair as the NCBD's highlight this year, we - parents, teachers, librarians and readers of all ages, should all know who publishes those children's books and young adult novels. So far, there are three featured publishers already. 

Here they are:

Publihser #1 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house? 

This publishing house publishes a series of illustrated story books on health and hygiene that touches on the values of self care, responsibility and discipline at the same time. Each title of a book in the series begins with an Interjection that catches the attention, and the eye, of the young reader. 

Name this publisher/publishing house!

Publisher #2 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house? 

This publishing house is the first to venture into publishing stories for kids way back in the 70s. Back then, it was known for its stories printed in newsprint books with comic like illustrations. I remember, as a grade schooler, book sellers of this publishing house would visit our school to do book talks of illustrated story books like Pilar Katterpillar and Ang Mayang Uhaw. It has now evolved into a publishing house that assists teachers and parents in raising young Filipino readers. 

Name this publisher/publishing house!

Publisher #3 - How well do you know your publisher/publishing house?

Today's featured publisher/publishing house does not consider itself a publishing house, but it works with publishers to produce books for children anyway. In 2005, it launched a book about a man who planted trees, an eco-fable from France adapted and written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Romeo Forbes. The book (guess the title) was the initiative for a yearly contest where in a visual artist's work is used as inspiration for a children's story. The winning manuscript is then illustrated, or painted, by the visual artist of the year. The winning stories can be read online for FREE.

In 2012, Doll Eyes, one of the winning stories of its yearly contest was included in the Best Reads National Children's Book Award of the PBBY and the NBDB.

Name this publisher/publishing house?

Can you make a guess? Can you guess them all? Answers will be posted with in this week!




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