The Content: Philippine Children's Literature and Its Values
Despite the problematic scenarios I enumerated early on, we hope. This is what we do best, apart from smiling through the onslaught of typhoons and our country's troubles, we never give up. We hang on to hope that things will change. This positive outlook needs to be actualized. We need to do something proactive.
As board member of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), I implore you to take stock of the new titles produced by our local publishers of children's books. Every celebration of the National Children's Book Day (NCBD), PBBY works with local publishers to make known to the market the product of children's books. This year, local publisher had their festival at the Muse Ambato during the 31st celebration of the NCBD. Children's books by our local content creators were featured, displayed, read aloud and demonstrated to children and people who teach and care for them. In July 28, 2014, the PBBY and the National Book Development Board (NBDB) proclaimed this year's Best Reads National Children's Book Awards. Alongside this joyful announcement, selected children from private and public schools convened and identified their Ten Best Books of 2014.
These are the Best Reads NCBA of 2014.
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
Here are the Kids' Choice Top Ten Books of 2014.
Berting ang Batang Uling by Christopher Rosales
May Darating na Trak Bukas by Virgilio Almario
Pintong Maraming Silid by Eugene Evasco
The Girl in A Box by Felinda Dang Bagas
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
When Filipino children read books made for them by Filipino creators, a connection of culture and a bridging of identity happen. In a talk by Candy Gourlay, award winning Filipino British author of young adult novels, she tells her story of how she saw the impossibility of writing her own stories when she was young. The books she read had characters that had blonde hair and blue eyes written by authors with the same physical features. Somehow, this orientation of color and race prevented her from writing her own stories. Thank God she had a school librarian who fed her books despite the book borrowing limit of the library. This helped Ms. Gourlay expand her horizons and knowledge of the world. Her love for words and stories real and imagined continued. She became a journalist. She wrote stories of Filipinos during the Martial Law years up until the People Power Revolution of 1986. Her being a novelist for young adult readers is another story.
My point is, Ms. Gourlay read books with characters she could not fully relate with. There was that lack of confidence to write and tell her own stories because she did not see herself, a Filipino, as a lead character in the stories she read from books. But her librarian introduced her to other books that provided her with the freedom to imagine and create. How liberating could that be!
The literature we make our children read will shape their minds, their values and their choices in life. What happens if our children do not read at all? What if access to books and learning resources are few or lacking in some cases?
This is our job. Our mission. We must bridge literature and children through our library services and programs. When we employ the use of technology, the more exciting our job gets. But that will be discussed after this presentation of the 10 Values of Children's Literature (Clarkson, 1969).
1. Children's literature affords delight and a sense of wonder.
Example: Tagua-taguan: A Filipino Counting Book by Jomike Tejido, Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 2009 / Sparrow Makes a Home by Zarah Gagatiga Lampara Books, 2014
2. It extends the imaginative power of childhood.
Example: Bakit Matagal nag Sundo Ko? by Kristine Canon Adarna House 2002
3. It develops the child's appreciation of beauty.
Example: Dear Nanay by Zarah Gagatiga Lampara House 2014 / Elias and His Trees by Augie Rivera CANVAS 2005 / Naku, Naku, Nakuuu! by Nanoy Rafael Adarna House 2008
4. It contributes to the growth of a more compassionate human being.
Example: Chenelyn! Chenelyn! by Rhandee Garlitos Adarna House 1999 / The Great Duck and Crocodile Race by Robert Magnuson Hiyas 2011
5. It opens to the wonderland of words and ways of using them.
Example: Ang Sundalong Patpat by Virgilio Almario Adarna House 1997 / Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya by Augie Rivera 1995 / Ang Sampung Bukitkit by Eugene Evasco LG and M Corporation 2010
6. It offers a vast storehouse of information.
Example: Nang Maghasik ng Lagim si Lolit Lamok by Luis Gatmaitan Hiyas 1999 / Bakawan by Untalan, Sarmiento and Tobias Adarna House 2009 / Guardians of Tradition by Mae Astrid Tobias Adarna House 2012 / What Kids Should Know About Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan Adarna House Weng Cahiles 2013
7. It contributes to art appreciation.
Example: Song of the Ifugao by Agay Llanera Museo Pambata Foundation 2010
8. It has the potential for raising the self-concept of a child who has a poor picture of himself.
Example: Xilef by Augie Rivera Adarna House 2000 / The Girl in a Box by Dang Bagas Adarna House 2013 / AY Naku! by Reni Rojas Tahanan for Young Readers 2010 / My Daddy My One and Only by Zarah Gagatiga Lampara Books 2013
9. It forms a foundation for more difficult adolescent novels, poems and drama.
Example: Sandosenang Sapatos by Luis Gatmaitan Hiyas 2002 / Si Langam at si Tipaklong Albert Angeles Adarna House 1981 / The Greediest of Rajas and the Whitest of Clouds Honoel Ibardolaza Adarna House 2004
10. It gives a heroic image to childhood.
Example: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay Cacho Publishing House 2010 / A Readers' Story Kwento ng Isang Mambabasa by Glenda Oris Museo Pambata Foundation 2010
Knowing who our readers are and the literature that is available for them is one of the tenets of library services. As Ranganathan said all those years ago, to every reader a book; to every book a reader. We must always remember this basic and fundamental philosophy because we will never go wrong in planning, designing and managing transformed children's library services.