Thursday, October 22, 2015

Recommended Reads: Batang Historyador Series

Batang Historyador Series
Author: Augie Rivera
Publisher: Adarna House / UNICEF

Inspired by a query from Augie Ebreo on books and stories that can influence change, I searched for recommended reads on stories about people empowerment to extend this book service. My search led me to the The Batang Historyador series. The series has five books that show the lives of children across Philippine history as written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Paolo Lim, Isabel Roxas, Jomike Tejido, Marcus Nada and Bryan Ballesteros. The first story begins during pre-colonial Philippines to the Spanish colonization, the American period to the Japanese Occupation during World War II and ends with a story of a boy who lost a brother during the Martial Law years. A work of fiction, yes, but the stories of childhood in each book has evidence of good research coupled with real life events that appear to have been taken from personal and oral histories. This later aspect of the book is something I wish to find out and validate.

Rivera writes with insight and revelation on issues that touch on children's rights. This is the strength of the series. How the author deftly tells the story, with respect and sensitivity to each child character being victims of slavery, exclusivity, racism, child labor, war and conflict either by chance, choice or by a bigger, more powerful force is a gift. There is a redeeming value at the end of each story. Central to the theme of the series is the implied message of hope rising from chaos and confusion. More than this, I am moved by the stories to think and wonder if we are really taking good care of our future, our children who will continue on. How are we nurturing and enriching our greatest resource?

It is tricky, as I think about it. To empower and influence change, one has to face the sensitive and "taboo" issues in one's life and in the wider, bigger society.

I segue to promoting the Ang INKFest on October 24, 2015 where Augie Rivera will talk about writing children's stories with sensitive issues. This will be in Fullybooked, Bonifacio Global City. It will start at 10.45AM. If you are in the area, go! If you have the time, attend! Speakers include, Tarie Sabido, PBBY President and May Tobia Papa, award winning writer and illustrator. Marcus Nada and Bru, Inkies all will talk as well.

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