Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Storytelling Workshop: Lucena City Library

Monday, June 29, 2015

Preview: Bookwatch July Issue

Here is a sneak peek of the July issue of Bookwatch. On the cover is a kapre, smoking a tobacco, regaling his young audience with stories great and small. How apt since we celebrate National Children's Book Day (NCBD) this month. Certainly, there are stories to tell, great and small, about the NCBD and the people behind its industry.

As guest writer for this issue, I wrote a think piece on the PBBY Salanga and Alcala Prizes. I threw in a bit of history of the awards and how it helped the industry grow into what it is today. The National Children's Book Award (NCBS) is  in the article as well as the necessity of raising the bar in children's and young adult (YA) book publishing in the country.

Speaking of YA, there's news on the KABANATA Workshop too and a brief mention about the Pilar Perez Medallion. Such is the history for a clamor of books and reading materials for teens. This issue looks into that and if you are a children's lit or YA lit advocate, you may just find the list of tales and stories of the fantastic a starting point to campaign for the development of YA lit in the country today.

Thanks to Paolo Chikiamco, editor of Bookwatch, for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write about what is very close to my heart. Here's hoping we can keep inspiring more people to support the growth of Philippine Children's and Young Adult Literature.

Goodreads Review: We Were Liars

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If not for the metaphor and allegory, it would have been a boring read at the start. It peaks up toward the middle and takes your breath away by the time it reaches the end. Rarely does a book leave me sad, disturbed and utterly awed all at the same time. A classic young adult read because, as a whole, the book epitomizes its intended reader: powerful; foolish; wise; sensitive and frail.

Youth is indeed wasted in young. The remaining years are all that is left to rectify things.

View all my reviews

Thursday, June 25, 2015

NCBD 2015: Librarians Workshop

Ripple Effect: Follow Up Action from the Pre CONSAL ASEAN School Library Workshop

Two weeks ago, I was in Bangkok for the pre CONSAL Workshop on ASEAN School Library Development. It was a brief stay but a meaningful one. I have blogged about it and you can read the posts here: Back in Bangkok;  Action Plans and Afterthoughts on the Pre CONSAL ASEAN School Library Workshop

Inspired to continue the work that started out in Bangkok, an ASEAN School Library group in Facebook has been set up. I am one of the administrators and we hope to get participants and group members from the ASEAN countries. Members are school librarians of course, but Library and Information Professionals interested and involved in school library development are also welcome to join. If you fall under this membership category, visit the FB group here.

And here's an email from Carol Sheppard, delegate from Laos that put a smile on my face.
Dear Zarah,
I attended the Pre -CONSAL School Libraries workshop in Bangkok two weeks ago as part of the Lao delegation and was very impressed with your presentation about School Libraries in the Philippines.
There was one particular area that I was interested in that I was hoping you could help me with.  I think you mentioned during the presentation that there was a published "Standard" for the recommended growth of school library collections and even that it was detailed according to the Dewey system.
I may be completely mistaken (quite possible!) but I would really appreciate it if you could provide any further information on this as it would be of great assistance when advocating for more resources.
Thank you so much for your assistance and please don't hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Kind Regards
Since the School Library Standard is available online, I sent Carol the link. Knowledge shared is knowledge gained, so they say. Here's to more linkages and future collaborative endeavors among librarians in the ASEAN!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

ARC: The Airman's Email Order Bride

There are spoilers in this review. But read on if you wish to get a glimpse of Cora Seton's last book for the series, The Heroes of Chance Creek.

Finishing the last book in the series, The Heroes of Chance Creek, by Cora Seton is a funny and almost frustrating ride. I suppose it is the way with young love. We make a fool of ourselves, turning ourselves inside and out, and risking life and limb beyond reason. Since the last book, The Airman's Email Order Bride, is a contemporary romance, all is well that ends well.

What Worked

Colt and Heather's reunion is exciting, steamy and bitter sweet. Indeed, love is dearer when it is lost and regained. The comic turn in the plot was entertaining for a while. It got a bit boring as events moved further on because really, a hopeless romantic like myself will choose love, always love, at day's end. But no, Ms. Seton prolonged the agony. Good thing is, she is crafty at characterization and caricature making. Heloise is hilarious. Mia, Rose and Autumn, supporting characters in this book, but major ones from the The Cowboys of Chance Creek series, all made relevant cameos. Their presence in the story's plot gave me hope to expect nothing as bad as a death of a main character. Ms. Seton sure knows her genre!

In the end, Colt made the decision that led to his growing up. The boy finally became a man. This is my favorite part in the novel. His brothers agreed to the decision. They understood how important it was to their own personal lives having experienced to be forgiven and loved. Love conquers all, so wise men say.

What Didn't Quite Work

I was hoping for a deeper re-connection between Colt and Austin. Knowing how complicated the older Hall is, it would have made for a dramatic chapter. What I was looking for was a dynamic that would define the relationship of the Hall brothers as true heroes. Each conquered their own demons in different ways and the women whom they love were all instrumental in their personal victories. I was expecting for more sibling love among the men however.

At the last page of the book, I ended up as one happy reader. My faith in the world is restored and I can now go back to real life with a stronger belief in the human spirit to triumph over adversity: the ones we have with in ourselves and those brought by people with in our periphery. The Hall brothers may be fictional characters as well as their wives, but for a brief moment of reading about their struggles and little victories, it made me feel that I too can be a hero in love and in life.

Thank you Ms. Seton for a comforting and wonderful adventure!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Father's Day Blog Contest

Three simple ways to join:

1. Send a short review of my book, My Daddy! My One and Only! via email (zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com) or a PM over at Facebook;

2. Send a photo essay showing a read aloud of my book, My Daddy! My One and Only via email (zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com) or a PM over at Facebook;

3.  Send a photo of the Parent Award that is attached at the end of the book, dully filled out and accomplished, showing your parent getting this award. Send it via email (zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com) or a PM over at Facebook.

The first three people to send any of the three photos will get a FREE autographed copy of My Daddy! My One and Only! and will be featured in the blog too!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Afterthoughts on the ASEAN School Library Workshop and Meeting Dr. Maria

My trip to Bangkok is a brief one but just as memorable as the first two. Being with the ASEAN delegates and listening to their country reports made me realize how culturally diverse we all are but then, we share the same problems and challenges as far as school library development is concerned. What has changed since 2003 and then 2012?  ASEAN school librarians are now more aware of the need to advocate school library development. The impetus to create action plans that cover local, national, regional and international scope is more palpable now than in the last three, twelve years. The changes and challenges in economics, technology, educational reform and family dynamics all lend to a strengthening of human support systems. The school library is a support system of human development.

Apart from these insights and reflections, I met Dr. Maria Laosunthara after twelve years. She is a retired Filipina professor at the College of Education in Srinakharinwirot University. I remember her well because she was the reason that the Philippine delegate of 2003 to Bangkok was able to watch the puppet show about Rama and Sita. This is a memory that I will tell my grand children.

This reunion was a sweet one as Dr. Maria was very much surprised by our visit.

I was surprised myself since I only learned yesterday that Dr. Maria was the first to teach children's literature in the university. She was also responsible for setting up the library's first children's literature collection. For her exemplary services and innovation, the Central Library created The Maria Room, where books for children and reading services for children are provided for. Dr. Maria maintains her ties with family and friends in Antique by helping a public library there. She is 90 years old, has a very good command of English, and has a light in her eyes that bespeak of the wonders of childhood.

My question is this: Can someone tell me, please, if there is an academic or university library that has a collection of Philippine Children's and Young Adult Literature? And I do not mean a room of books only, but one that runs programs for children's and teens' reading needs?

Comment on the post or send me a PM if you have answers to my question.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pre-CONSAL ASEAN School Library Workshop: Proposed Action Plan from the Philippines

This is going to be quick, just so the ideas on our Plan of Action are documented. This is not set in stone and the tentative plans are up for discussion.

Focus of Development: Human Resource Development
Identified Task: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of School Librarians

Concrete Plans of Action:

1. Echo this workshop to PASLI and conduct continuing discussion on school library development;
2. Plan a regional workshop for school librarians; seek a grant to make this possible;
3. Propose a regular CPD for school librarians to regional library associations;
4. Assist the Library Hub in book procurement.

Time Frame: 2015 - 2017

PPT: Philippine School Libraries Today Bridging Gaps! Crossing the Divide!

My PPT for the workshop today. Thank you to the DepEd Library Hub people; To Myra Ortega and Elinor Hemedes; Troy Lacsamana of the Quezon City Public Library; The Quezon Province Library Hub; Neni Sta. Romana Cruz of the NBDB; and to friends in the profession who provided inspiration and information!

Back in Bangkok for the Pre-CONSAL Workshop on School Library Development in the ASEAN

Faculty of Humanities, Srinakharinwirot University
Being in Bangkok once more fills me with nostalgia. The experience is like going full circle one more time. I was here back in 2003 for a three day workshop on School Library Services in the ASEAN. This workshop was an IFLA and UNESCO sponsored event. At the time, I was with Susan Torres, Hermie Salazar, Ma'am Lou David and Madame Elizabeth Peralejo. We were the small contingent representing the Philippines.

I have fond memories of that workshop. During fellowship night, we danced the tinikling and tried to sing together a folk song. It took us a while to decide what song to sing, not for the lack of songs but for the reason of song choice. Bahay Kubo? Leron Leron Sinta? Dahil Sa Iyo? Yes, we were that bad. Hahaha!

Our group also had the opportunity to watch a puppet show by a Thai puppetry group. The name of the group escapes me now as well as the place. The show, I remember it vividly. It was Rama and Sita! What made it memorable was the puppeteers performance. Puppeteers were on stage holding the puppets, like marionettes but with sticks. The puppeteers animate the puppets and they dance with the puppets. Three to four puppeteers held one big puppet and as a group, they move together as one. It was amazing!

My second time in Bangkok was as speaker in the TK Reading Conference. This was in 2012. For stories of my adventures in the TK Conference, click these links: visiting TK Parkmy plenary presentation on the Role of School Libraries and School Librarians in the Digital Agewhere the Five Principles of the ASEAN was discussed. On the last day of the conference, we had dinner in Cabbages and Condoms.

Dinner with Dr. Diljit Singh, IASL President and our very good fried. Beside me is Waldet Cueto, librarian of Rizal Library
And now, third time is the charm.

I will be presenting a status report on Philippine School Libraries. I have focused on highlights and sustainability measures that groups in the government and NGO people are tirelessly working on. I look forward to today's workshop. Yes, I promise to blog, to share and post photos. Like I usually do.

Monday, June 8, 2015

School Library Brochure

Whipped up this brochure in a rush. This is for the workshop I am attending on School Library Development in the ASEAN on Wednesday, June 9, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.

I realized three things: 1) I need to upgrade my desktop publishing skills (Gosh! Even my term is dated!); 2) I must really  pursue further studies that has something to do with the development and advocacy of school libraries; and 3) I should do better next time. This translates to spending more time to imagine and developing the idea before plunging into design.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Philippine Children's Book Summit 2015

Here is another awesome poster by Aaron Asis rendered for the Philippine Children's Book Summit of 2015.

Salanga Prize and Alcala Prize Winners of 2015

A few months back, PBBY declared the story The Missing Blanket by Cheeno Marlo Del Mundo as the 2015 Honorable Mention winner of the Salanga Prize. By way of tradition, here now is good news on the Alacala Prize.

Two Artists Declared as Honorable Mention Winners in the 2015 PBBY-Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People awards Joffrey Z. Atienza and Maria Sabrina P. Palmares as Honorable Mention winners for the 2015 PBBY-Alcala Prize. No one was declared Grand Prize winner for the contest this year.

This year’s PBBY-Alcala called for entries based on the 2015 PBBY-Salanga Honorable Mention winner, “The Missing Blanket,” written by Cheeno Marlo Del Mundo Sayuno, a story set in the province of Kalinga. The Alcala winners were chosen based on their creative approach to Sayuno’s story along with their respect for cultural authenticity.

Atienza, a motion graphic designer from Quezon, and Palmares, a freelance artist from Rizal, will be awarded during the celebration of National Children's Book Day on July 21, 2015.

For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail pbby@adarna.com.ph.

Art work by Joffrey Z. Atienza
Art work by Sabrina P. Palmares

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Filipino Librarian in the Roster of IASL Awardees

The IASL board of directors is pleased to announced the winners of the 2015 IASL Awards.  The winners are: 

Jean Lowrie Leadership Development Grant – Netta Bali, Kasiga School, India

Ken Haycock Leadership Development Grant – Hosea Tokwe, Midlands State University,  Zimbabwe
Takeshi Murofushi Research Award – “The Digital School Librarian”, Jennifer Wood,  Florida State University, USA

IASL/LinksPlus Library Commendation Award – Libraries for Labour Camps, Virgilio G. Medina Jr., Brighton College, United Arab Emirates

IASL Books for Children Project – Matenda School Library, Hosea Tokwe, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe

IASL Best Conference Paper Award (L. Anne Clyde Memorial Research Award) – “Ethical Dilemmas for Researches Working in International Contexts”, Ray Doiron, Ph.D., University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; and Marlene Asselin, Pd.D., University of British Columbia, Canada   
Congratulations to all award winners. The IASL 2015 Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, June 29, 2015 at the 44th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship at the Maastricht Exhibition and Conference Center in Maastricht, The Netherlands, June 28-July 2, 2015.

Librarian as Storyteller and Writer

Grateful to Prof. Igor Cabbab for these slides. I suddenly felt old and wizened but, flattered nonetheless.

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