Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The 2017 Picture Book Month Celebration Is On!

Last weekend, I made an announcement of the 2017 Picture Book Month Champions.

I could not help but remember Dianne De Las Casas, founder of Picture Book Month. I have written about her passing in the blog two months ago, more or less. But here is another piece I put together for a supposed feature on people who have inspired me.

Working on Picture Book Month this year is not the same without her.

Dianne De Las Casas is one of the many inspiring people who made a great difference in my life. Dianne believed in me and gave me the courage to write. She trusted me to be her co-author in writing a collection of Filipino Folk Tales. We worked together on the book for two years and Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (ABC CLIO) was published in 2011. It is my first book published in the US. The book won the World Storytelling Resource Award given by the National Storytelling Network, Tennessee USA in 2015.

It was a big break and if not for Dianne's confidence in me, it wouldn't be possible. She showed me how to be brave. How writing can set the self free of all possible fears. In 2011, she started an international campaign, Picture Book Month. It is aimed at celebrating books, literacy and reading.

Every year since 2011, 30 Picture Book Champions share their essay on the importance of picture books. I am one of the champions in 2013 and this fueled my passion to continue telling stories and creating picture books. Last year, she made me the administrator of Picture Book Month (picturebookmonth.com).

More than a mentor, Dianne is also my "big sister" as she helped me restore my own confidence and belief in myself as a woman. I dedicated my picture book, Big Sister (Lampara Books), to her. Like her, I hope to inspire others too.

Dianne died last August 21, 2017 in a house fire. She was 47 years old.
Dianne De Las Casas and John Couret, authors of Captain Deadeye and the Bully Shark (Write Hook Media, LLC 2016)

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