Saturday, September 22, 2018

Writing for TV: An Interview with Augie Rivera

Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’s (KMJS) episode on Child Pornography begins with a story written by Augie Rivera. It is for me, a new form of telling a true story as it shifts to actual reports and documentary on online sexual exploitation of children. Televised last September 9, 2018, you can watch the episode by clicking this link to Niña Inocente.

This week, dear readers of the blog, Augie Rivera affords us an interview about the issue on child pornography, human trafficking and online sexual exploitation, and writing for TV.


How did Nina came to be and what was your approach in writing a theme or a true life story on online sexual exploitation of children?

 

I was commissioned by KMJS Program Manager LJ Castel to write a children’s story tackling child porn to supplement their special documentary on the subject. I think it’s a fantastic concept— to present a very heavy and sensitive subject matter and intersperse it with light, colorful, whimsical take that will make the whole presentation more compelling/interesting to a wider audience market. More importantly, iwill help attract the younger age group whom we also want to target and enlighten about the sad plight of these children of cyberporn. (after airing: it worked! A lot of twitter fans took note that the concept of mixing the ‘heavy/serious and light/colorful made it more accessible to the audiences, even to young children. I read a comment that his 6-yr old was engrossed watching, and asking questions that were not clear to her, which was good!)

 

While I was reading through the voluminous research materials sent to me by the program, I came across this interview of an eighteen year old recounting the harrowing experiences she went through when she fell victim to cyberporn at the tender age of eight. She said: ‘hindi ko po alam na mali pala ginagawa ko… na nabibiktima na pala ako… ang alam ko lang, kumikita ako ng pera, nakakatulong ako sa amin.”This became my inspiration for ‘Nina Inocente.’

 

How did you conduct research for this project?

 

I have already written quite a number of children’s books tackling sensitive topics and children in difficult circumstances like: “Ang Lihim ni Lea” (on incest/child sexual abuse), ‘Mantsa’ (on verbal abuse), ‘Isang Harding Papel’ (on Martial Law), ‘Xilef’ (on dyslexia), ‘Batang Historyador series (historical fiction set during different historical periods) and others. And always, research plays an important part of pre-writing stage. Aside from all the research materials and interviews provided to me, I also brushed up on a lot of online articles and books on child porn, psychology, therapy, etc., as well as on other reported cases. I also consulted some Cebuano-speaking writer-friends on some of the Cebuano terms that I intended to use in the story.



Art by Juno Abreu


This is not your first story on a sensitive issue regarding children. What metaphors came up that formed Nina and characters in the story?

 

In tackling such sensitive topics, the challenge is always to come up with a story that young audience can easily relate to, with a character that’s compelling and memorable. Nina is not your typical pa-sweet, goody two-shoes little girl— she’s boyish, makulit, rough, techie-mahilig sa computer, active imagination, but also loves to play with dolls. Many kids love playing RPG or role-playing games on the computer, so I made use of that. The ironic thing is it was also the device used by the computer shop ownerAte Guwapa, who was like a wicked Pied Piper who lured her unsuspecting victims into the vicious web of cyberporn. The recurring image of the Sto. Nino in the story was utilized not for religious but for symbolic purposes— like a ‘silent witness’ to the ongoing abuses and exploitation of ‘niños inocentes’ or innocent children.

 

What is the purpose of this kind of storytelling, where fictional charcaters are meshed with real people and events? Will it solve issues and problems, particulalry the exploitation of children?

 

A simple story cannot claim to ‘help address (or even solve) this problem on child pornography.’ But it serves a two-pronged purpose: 


a) to empower and give hope to children who are going through similar situations first-hand; 

b) and to teach empathy to children who are lucky enough not to be in such difficult circumstances.

 

Nagbibigay ng lakas ng loob kapag nakita ng mga batang biktima na hindi sila nag-iisa, at may iba ring mga batang may parehong pinagdadaanan; kung kinaya ng bidang ma-overcome, kaya rin nila. 

 

Kapag ine-expose natin ang mga bata sa iba’t ibang karanasan, na kakaiba sa kanilang mga sariling karansan, pinalalawak natin ang kanilang pagtanggap at pag-unawa; sa vicarious experience, natuturuan silang mag-isip, maging kritikal, magtanong tungkol sa mga complex issues; at ine-empower din natin sila para alam nila ang mga dapat gawin kung sakaling malagay sila sa parehong sitwasyon.

 

Augie Rivera will give a talk on Using Children’s Literature for Learning About History at the Benitez Hall, UP Diliman on September 29, 2018, 1-4PM. 





Monday, September 17, 2018

My 2018 Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) Kilig Moments

Making this list and checking it twice! 

1. The MIBF is always a happy reunion with friends in the book industry.

2. A book signing session can be a kikay moment. I was seated with Beth Parrocha during the book signing event at Lampara Books. She is frank and honest and I love her for it! 

Here’s how one of our conversations went:

Beth: I like the curve of your eyeliner. 
Me: Thanks! Took me a year to master this curve. 
Beth: Ah, yes! Such things take time to master.

Spoken by a true artist!
3. I got to chat with readers young was and old. Adults who read Children’s Literatire are full of grace. Kids who read Children’s literature are full of hope. Parents and teachers who buy them for their kids and students are doing the right thing in heping them love reading.

4. An honest to goodness kilig moment is when my books were chosen as storytelling pieces for the Lampara Storytelling Contest.

5. Honored and humbled to sign my books bought by librarian, writer and illustrator friends.

6. Always a happy feeling when I meet librarians and teachers who have all attended my past and previous workshops and we greet each other like old friends. #wearefamily

So, on to MIBF 2019! 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Featured Translator: Genaro Gojo Cruz

Marami ng nakamit na karangalan at medalya sa mga pantimpalak sa panitikan si G. Genaro Gojo Cruz. Bukod sa pagiging isang mahusay na manunulat, si G. Gojo Cruz ay isa ring translator. Siya ang nagsalin sa Filipino ng aming bagong aklat ni Jonathan Rañola, ang Ino the Invincible (Si Ino, ang Walang Talo) nilathala ng Lampara Books.

Narito ang interbyu ko kay Genaro ukol sa proseso niya sa pagsasalin at mga pangarap para sa Panitikang Pambata sa Pilipinas.

1. How do you approach translation work?
Paano mo sinisimulan ang pagsasalin?

 Binabasa ko nang maraming beses ang kuwento hanggang sa maging pamilyar na ako sa tone at mood nito.

 2.  What has been the biggest challenge for you as translator of children’s srories?
Ano ang pinakamalaking pagsubok ng isang translator ng mga kuwentong pambata?

Bilang translator ng ilang kuwentong pambata, malaking hamon sa akin na maging tunog pambata rin ang kuwento kapag naisalin na sa wikang Filipino.  Sinisikap ko ring maging natural o madulas ang gamit ng mga salita nang di halatang salin lamang ito.  

Ang Ino the Invincible, ang aklat na sinalin ni Genaro Gojo Cruz sa Filipino ay mabibili aa Manila International Book Fair.

3. Among your published works, what book is the most meaningful and why?
Sa mga aklat mo, alin ang pinakamahalaga para sayo?

Sa mga aklat-pambata kong naisulat pinakamalapit sa akin ang sumusunod:  "Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas" kasi bahagi nito ay kuwento ng tatay ko na isang tsuper ng pampasaherong dyip, ang "Makinang Makinang" kasi bahagi rin nito ay kuwento ng nanay ko na isang mananahi ng mga damit-pambata noon.  

4.  Name five books that infuenced you to write for children.
Limang aklat na may malaking impluwensya sa buhay mo bilang manunulat.

Ito ang limang kuwentong talagang kasama lagi sa mga ikinukuwento ko sa mga bata at nagiging batayan ko sa aking mga isinusulat na kuwento: "Unang Baboy sa Langit" ni Rene Villanueva, "Papel de Liha" ni Ompong Remigio, "Sandosenang Kuya" ni Russell Molina, "Yaya Niya, Nanay Ko" ni Ma. Corazon Remigio, at "Chenelyn, Chenelyn" ni Rhandee Garlitos.  

5. Complete the sentence: Ang pangarap ko sa panitikang pambata ng Pilipinas ay...

 Pangarap ko sa panitikang pambata ng Pilipinas ay makaabot pa sa mga liblib na bahagi ng ating bansa.  Makarating sa bawat tahanan ng pamilyang Filipino.



Si Genaro ay may dalawang aklat pambata na inilathala ng Lampara Books. Book signing niya sa Linggo, Setyembre 16, 2018 sa Manila Intetnational Book Fair.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Ang Aklatan Ay Para sa Lahat Priming Activity: Inclusion and Diversity

If you are attending my talk on Inclusion and Diversity in Library Services and Programming tomorrow at the Manila International BookFair (MIBF) please watch this video. This is to activate your prior knowledge and schema on the topics of inclusion and diversity. After watching the video, write down three takeaways or impressions you had. It will fuel discussion and interest on the topics. See you!

The Museo Pambata Mobile Library

The MP Mobile Library is at rest in the museum grounds.
A Mobile Library is one example of inclusive programming. Most public libraries carry on programs like this to reach areas and communities where books are scarce and access to information is poor. The Museo Pambata, a non-government foundation, has been running a mobile library since 1995.

Charlot Cachuela, MP's librarian and resident storyteller tells us more about the mobile library's history, activities and future projects.

How did the mobile library begin?

The Mobile Library had its beginning in 1995, shortly after the opening of Museo Pambata. In fulfillment of the museum’s thrust to promote literacy, staff members and volunteers regularly visited underserved areas in Manila aboard a Tamaraw FX carrying 50 books and a simple sign that read "Museo Pambata Mobile Library". From then on, the advocacy program continues to serve to Filipino children especially when it finally had a real mobile library van.
What are its programs, schedule of visits to communities and activities?

The main goal of the project is to provide reading materials to children who doesn't have an access to books and from there encourage them to read. Thus we do, storytelling enhanced with arts and crafts. There is also an allotted time for reading the books. Different workshops, such as storytelling, creative facilitation and establishing reading centers are among the activities being provided to the volunteers and community leaders who are interested with the project. The mobile library visits communities every Saturday but can have activities on a weekdays during school breaks.

Charlot telling a story to kids in Museo Pambata

Why is it still operational? Name factors that have been helpful for you and the MP mobile library to function?

Through all the support from the people who believe in the project, whether they are sponsors, volunteers, community leaders, parents and friends, the mobile library van still rolling its wheels. The project will continuously serve the children as long as needed. The organization seeks funds to keep it moving. Collaborating with interested local government units and schools also make to the project sustain.

What are the future plans or activities of the MP Mobile Library?

One of our dreams is to make a smaller mobile library van which can go along narrow streets of Manila. We cannot bring the big bus into smaller communities because of its size plus its old already, serving us for 14 years. A new look, a new vehicle in the future to reach more children.

Visit the Museo Pambata website and FB Page for updates on activities and projects for kids and children's rights advocate.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Library Treasure Hunt 2018

Two weeks ago, I had a library treasure hunt with our grade 9s. This is already in the running for three years with the help of the Comparative Religions (CRe) teacher. We have made improvements since then. Sharing with you my reflections on the experience.

1. The session was a good follow up to the library orientation given to grade 9 students during Foundation Week. They had hands-on activities on the use of the OPAC and the three IB recommended databases that we are subscribed to. Each form of media was introduced as access to sources and information. I also mentioned that their academic integrity increases when they use library resources because these are selected based on reviews and recommendations from teachers who are knowledgeable of the IB and DepEd curriculum. 

2. Students had hands-on activities on the use of search terms(keyword) and Boolean strategy on the databases, OPAC and different search engines. They were asked to evaluate Google with another search engine based on three criteria, namely design, navigation and search engine results page. Unlike the two search strategies, this was not further discussed during the session when we talked about their answers.

3. Citation exercises were provided to students using web apps and citation builders. During the second session, the five fundamental bibliographic data were introduced: author, title, publisher, place of publication, copyright/year of publication, plus, format (print, digital, etc.) as key elements of a citation. The students were given books to locate these information. These books were all taken from 200-299 division of the General Collection. In library work, these five plus one data are a librarian's basis for OPVL. It leads a librarian to pursue further questions on the document's origin, history and relevance.

I think, what's good about this experience is the provision for schema development and activation, and priming of skills. Before doing research on a CRe topic, students were given an experience of the library as a learning environment where formal and non-formal instruction on research and IL skills happen. As a librarian, I am part of the students' learning journey. I am a partner and "sidekick" to the teacher who plans her lessons and sets out to deliver the learning objectives. 

Going back to two years ago, the English teacher asked me to do a session on search strategies and narrowing of topics for her grade 9 English class. We did mind mapping, keyword and Boolean searching. I was able to re-introduce our subscriptions as well as other media formats like maps, photos, paintings, kits, games posters, infographics, podcasts and the like as sources of information. It was only in passing that I told the class that each media format needs a set criteria when evaluation its purpose and credibility and that, these sources can be used in specific topics, research question or academic task.

Here are links to related posts:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Review: Dialogue and Humble Inquiry

Every month, I send out our library's list of new titles or acquisitions. There are many ways to promote new books, but I still prefer to use email to inform and communicate with the community of our current books and resources. 

Our featured new books for the month of September
From the list, here are my top two recommended reads.

In Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together (Currency and Doubleday, NY 1999), William Issacs brings readers back to the flow of meaning present in conversations. He writes, "most people living today do not know how to create meaningful conversations" and traces the etymology of the word from the classics. He defines dialogue as a conversation with a center, not sides. A way of taking energy of people's differences and channeling it into a new creation. The aim of dialogue is to avoid and, in time, remove us out of polarizations, he adds.

What follows are stories and examples of men and women in the sciences, engineering, military and business who all have succeeded and made a difference in their chosen field because they have recognized the power, aesthetics and flow of meaning in dialogue. Contents include capacity building for effective conversations in the workplace, enhancing relationships through dialogue, an examination of the ecology of thought and the role of dialogue in organizational management, the new economy and today's fragile democracy.

Consider Edgar H. Schein's book, Humble Inquiry The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling ( BK Publishers, CA 2013) as a companion to Isaacs' Dialogue because, the former is written to build positive relationships and better organizations. It is only seven chapters long but it's a powerful read. It explains the value of humility as key to achieving personal goals and professional success by communicating with people we admire, respect and even dislike. It challenges readers to recognize one's limitations and that, the admission to be helped by another is a path towards establishing a positive working culture.

Chapters 2 and 3 deal with strategies on the humble act of asking people, case studies and practical activities to apply the asking vs. telling strategy. In the succeeding chapters, Schein discusses the culture of "do and tell", how we value "doing" more than "relating", the misinterpretation that "doing is relating", and how humility dissipates as people climb up the ladder of power and authority. The book ends with real life examples on the difficulty and challenges of being humble in these modern times as Schein provides ways and means to keep a small and grateful heart. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mapping the Customer's Library Journey

Friday, September 7, 2018

Filipino Librarians of the Month: Librarians of the Filipiniana Section, UP Diliman Main Library


Dahil Buwan ng Wika noong Agosto at International Literacy Day naman sa Sabado, Setyembre 8, 2018, mga librarians ng Filipiniana Section ng UP Diliman Main Library ang tampok na Filipino Librarians sa blog. Pinangungunahan ni Mr. Rhoel E. Rondilla, ang grupo ng mga librarians na ito ay naghahandog ng mga kuwento sa estilo ng Sabayang Pagbigkas o Readers' Theatre. Basahin at alamin ang kanilang mga kuwentong buhay sa panayam na ito. Higit sa lahat, malalaman nibyo ang mga paborito nilang aklat! 

Sino ang may sabi na hindi nagbabasa ang mga librarians?

Sila ay binubuo nina Mr. Rhoel E. Rondilla, Reslyn Espino, Eliza May Jayag, Thergie Ablin, Maria Ester Cruz at Elmer Tolentino.

Bakit kayo nagtayo or nag-organize ng isang readers’ theatre group?
Ang FI Books Section Readers’ Theater group ay itinayo hindi lamang upang kumatawan sa UP Diliman libraries sa mga storytelling activities kundi pati na rin makapagbahagi ng aming kaalaman, ng aming oras at ng aming talent. 

Ano ang kinalaman nito sa pagiging laybraryan ninyo?
Bilang Filipino, nais naming makatulong upang iangat ang mga gawa't likhang pinoy. Adhikain naming na ipadama at ipaalam sa lahat na ang likhang pinoy ay mayroong katuturan at yaman. Bilang mga laybraryan, ito ay aming ambag sa komunidad ng unibersidad at sa pamayanan na aming kinabibilangan.

Paano kayo nagsimula bilang isang Readers’ Theater?
Hindi sinasadya ang pagkakatayo ng Readers’ Theatre group namin. Nangyari lamang ito noong nagkaroon ng forum ang aming aklatan na inorganisa ng Filipiniana Books Section na kung saan kami ay nabibilang.

Mukhang seryoso kayo sa inyong advocacy. Ano pa ang balak ninyo sa mga darating na panahon?
Ang pagkukuwento bilang isang grupo ay aming karangalan, kuewntong lahat ay may aral, aral na dadalhin ng mga nakikinig. Sa mga darating pang panahon, nakahanda kami at  tutugon sa mga imbitasyon at makikilahok sa mga programang naglalayong makapagtaguyod  ng pagbabasa ng mag akdang pinoy.


Maari bang magbigay ng bawat miyembro ng kanilang mga paboritong aklat at dahilan kung bakit?

Rhoel Rondilla 
– Alamat ng Pinya. Ito ay patungkol ito sa mag-ina na si Aling Rosa at Pinang. Patunay na dapat sa lahat ng bagay at anuman oras, kinakailangan ng mahabang pasensya. 

- Hunger Games. Ito ay tungkol sa pagpapakasakit para sa pamilya at sa anumang uro ng relasyon. Ito ay patungkol din sa pagtutulungan. Nagpapaalala din ito na ang kasamaan, kailanman ay hindi nagtatagumpay.

Elmer Tolentino
- Marami-rami na din naman akong aklat na binasa ngunit mabibilang lang sa mga ito ang aking natapos.  Marahil dajhil na din sa kakulangan ng oras . Ilan sa mga paborito ko ay ang mga aklat ni Bob Ong. tatlo sa kanyang mga obra ay meron ako. Ang Abnkkbsnplako ay ang unang aklat na binili at naibigay sa akin ng aking asawa na kasintahan ko pa lamang noon.  Kaya may sentimental na halaga ito sa akin. Nasundan pa ito ng Bakit baligtad magbasa ng libro ang mga Pilipino.  Nagustuhan ko ang estilo ni Bob Ong (di niya tunay na pangalan) sa pagamit niya ng humor sa pagtatalakay at pagpapamulat sa ang mga bagay-bagay sa pang  araw-araw na buhay at kultura ng mga Pinoy ito man ay positbo o negatibo. 

- Isa rin sa aking paborito noon pa man ay ang mga Pabula ni Esopo.  Naalala ko pa noong akoy bata pa na lagi akong binabasahan at kinukwentuhan ng aking ina. Kahit pay itoy paulit-ulit nang naikwekwento. Ngayon dahil  sa akoy may sarili ng pamilya at may sarili na ring mga anak ako na ang siyang nagkukwento ito sa kanila.

Thergie Ablin
- Aklat na akin ng nagamit sa pagkukuwento, “Bakit matagal ang sundo ko" ni Kristine Canon, dahil ito yung first story na aking ikinuwento sa mga kabataan ng GAwad Kalinga. Hindi koi to makakalimutan dahil nagkuwento ako para sila ay maaliw at hindi hanapin ang kanilang ga magulang o tagapag-alaga na masipag at tulong –tulong na nagtatayo ng mga kabayanan sa Gawad Kalinga sa ilalim ng matinding sikat ng araw.

- Aklat na paboritong basahin noong ata pa until now siguro, Cinderella kase, the story itself teaches us how to dream, belive and achive our dreams and also, true friends regardless of the sizes and looks they will help you because they love you.

Ester Cruz
- Ang paborito kong aklat sa ngayon ay Charlotte’s Web dahil sa konsepto ng pakikipagkaibigan

Elizza Mae Jayag
- Every day by David Levithan at Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Mahilig kasi akong magbas ng novels, mg love story and comedy. Sa local naan is yung “Mass” ni F. Sionil Jose and “Para kay B” ni Ricky Lee.


Ang larawang ito ay kuha noong July 29, 2018 sa Museo Pambata kung saan, naghandog ang grupo ng isang pagtatanghal ng Ang Matandang Mananahi (De las Casas at Gagatiga, 2011).






Monday, September 3, 2018

Pinoy Kuwentista: Melanie “Melai” Abad-Ramirez

Melai has found her center in storytelling!
The blog's Pinoy Kuwentista is Ms. Melanie "Melai" Ramirez. She is the section head of the Children's Library Services of the National Library of the Philippines. As a storyteller, Melai has told stories and performed in Bangkok, Singapore and Germany in conferences and festivals there. Get to know more of her storytelling journey in this blog interview.

Kailan at paano mo nalaman na isa kang storyteller?

Nagsimula ang propesyon ko bilang storyteller/kuwentista noon ika - 23 ng Abril 2005 sa Pambansang Aklatan ng Pilipinas na kung saan nagkaroon ng isang pagsasanay sa pagkukuwento ng isang grupo ng mga kuwentista at ito ay ang “Alitaptap Storyteller’s Philippines” na pinapamunuan ni Sir Manolo Silayan, isang batikang Kuwentista na sya naging mentor ko sa pagsasanay. Dahil dito ako ay naging miyembro ng grupo na ito. Nagsasanay at isinasalang sa mga aktibidades ng grupo na ito. Noong itinatag ang Children’s Section ng Pambansang Aklatan ng Pilipinas na kung saan ako ang librarian, ito ay naging daan para ipakita ang aking natutunan sa pagkukuwento at naging trabaho ko na ang magpasaya sa mga bata sa pamamagitan ng pagkukuwento.

Ano ang paborito mong ikuwento at bakit?

Ang paborito kong ikuwento ay ang ARAW SA PALENGKE na isinulat ni May Tobias Papa. Nasabi kong paborito ko ito dahil sa kuwentong ito nagamit ko ang mga natutunan ko sa Alitaptap Storyteller’s Philippines na pinamumunuan ni Sir Manolo Silayan. Itong kuwento na ito ang aking ginamit para mapasali ako sa Contest na Read Along ng Philippine Daily Inquirer na napasama sa finalist. Ito rin ang naging daan para makilala ko ang sumulat ng kuwentong ito. Ang “Araw sa Palengke” ang kauna unahang kinuwento ko na nilapatan ko ng orihinal na istilo sa pagkukuwento gaya ng mga salitang “Suki Suki Bili na Kayo” na may aksyon at mga salitang nakakaaliw sa mga bata.

Magbigay ka ng isang karanasan sa pagkukuwento na hindi mo makakalimutan?

Isa sa mga karanasan ko na di ko makakalimutan sa pagkukuwento ay noong inanyayahan ako na magkuwento sa mga batang may sakit na Kanser sa Philippine General Hospital (PGH) sa araw ng aking kaarawan. Ang nais ko ay mapasaya sila sa pamamagitan ng pagkukuwento ko at maibsan ang kanilang nararamdaman na sakit habang sila ay ginagamot. Ako ay nagulat na lahat sila ay may ngiti sa labi at humahalakhak habang nakikinig. Pagkatapos ko magkuwento sila naman ang naghandog ng regalo sa akin kinantahan nila ako na may Cake at Kandila para hipan ko, at niyakap para magpasalamat sa mga sandaling iyon na napasaya ko sila. Abot abot ang aking saya sa ginawa nilang pagbati sa akin.

Melai in action. At a storytelling event in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ano ang maibibigay mong “tip” o payo paransa kuwentistang nagsisimula pa lamang?

Ang dapat lang tatandaan ng mga kuwentistang nagsisimula pa sa larangan ng pagkukuwento ay isa PUSO at may PASYON sa pagkukuwento. Maging Interactive at Enthusiastic sa mga bata at higit sa lahat mahaba ang PASENSYA sa mga nakikinig.

Melai's activities in storytelling can be read through her Facebook account. Check Kwentista Ramirez and discover the many services and programs she help conduct in the National Library of the Philippines.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Ino the Invincible at the Manila International Book Fair 2018

I hope to see you at the launching of Ino the Invincible (Gagatiga and Rañola, Lampara 2018) at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF)! The schedule for book signing will be announced soon. 

Ino the Invincible is a story of friendship and what we Filipinos are so crazy for, basketball! There is no brawl in the story, only sportsmanship. Kindness and decency too. Three things in short supply these days. So, if you believe in these values and in building lasting friendships through sports get a copy at the MIBF and read the book aloud to a child or to a class.


Do support our Filipino book industry, especially our local publishers of children's books, as there are many titles out this MIBF season. 

Here's a throwback post on Ino the Invincible including a back story. See you at the MIBF!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Selecting Stories for Kids for Kids to Read

I received a request for interview from Prof. Johann Frederick "Igor" Cabbab for his dissertation on Children's Literature. It is a long document and it needs time to answer the questions. I have been going back and forth on the document because in a way, it is a review of the current children's literature the country has published. As of writing, I have called friends from the book industry to help out.

For the meantime, allow me to share with you a snippet of the interview. This is with permission from Prof. Igor, of course.


To start off, when you choose a storybook for acquisition, for referral to parents, or recommended reading for kids, or for use in storytelling... Are there any criteria involved? I mean in terms of institutional / environmental concerns? Individual concerns? Thematic drives? Things like that. 
Of course there will always be criteria, especially when selecting books for children. The criteria I set for the selection of children’s books vary in terms of context, purpose and function. Form or genre is also important. I think these are my blanket or conceptual criteria: context, purpose, form and function. 
Context would be the readers or the intended audience. Purpose is the why of the book. Function is the what is it for of the book. Form is the genre, media, technology or literary trope. The book is, in itself the form, or the technology. So I would further categorize them as picture book, graphic novel, middle grades book, chapter book, YA novel, hybrid books, etc.  
Of the four, it is context that is at the top of my list. I value my readers. 
Who are my readers? Why am I selecting books for them? Why this book at this particular stage of their development? What is the book for? Of what use is the book in their lives, in general? How will this book matter in their lives? How will it affect them? What are its possible effects or impact? These are some of the questions I ask myself when selecting, recommending and acquiring books for children. 
These questions are latched on learned concepts and principles in Reading Education, Developmental Psychology, Media Studies, Information Literacy, a formalist’s stance on selecting and reviewing of literature, and Ranganathan’s 5 Laws of Librarianship, especially laws 1, 2 and 3. Books are for use. Every reader his/her book. Every book its reader.
Lastly, there is CULTURE. CULTURE is everything.
It’s not a criterion, but a bigger concept where in the four criteria fit in and the disciplines merge and combine. It is a great challenge to select and acquire books for kids in communities where reading, book and library culture are very weak.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A School Library and Art Building Grow in Quezon City (2 of 2)

One of the many pleasant experiences Zoe and I had last summer was the visit we had at the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Super thanks to Ruben "Totet" de Jesus, who patiently and proudly showed us around the CFA compound as well as the new building.

The CFA compound is art. It speak, breathes and lives ART!

Works of students, teachers and professors are all around. I couldn't tell the difference. Imagine studying and learning alongside your peers and mentors, how enriching this environment could be. Totet de Jesus made this even more evident when he showed Zoe the art works exhibited in the gallery at that time. A true mentor, Totet listens and guides. The trip to the old CFA compound ended with a visit to its college library.

Heading to the new CFA building which was still in construction at the time, I could not help but feel nostalgic. The new building was spacious and very modern. The main entrance opens to a big hall. Isang malaking bulwagan! The new building offers and promises a lot of spaces for art to do and to fill in. The glass panelings and open doorways to a view of the main road from Philcoa inspires creative minds to wonder and think of possibilities.


In this time of conflict, art finds a way to show solutions to problems, to inspire and dream, to protest and to chronicle history, past and present. Here's wishing the CFA all the best! May their community of creatives, dreamers an innovators increase! 





Monday, August 27, 2018

Total Physical Response Storytelling Plan

Nina Balingit, a college student from De La Salle University Manila, asked for feedback on her storytelling lesson plan that follows the Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS). Here's what I told her.

My thoughts on your lesson plan: 
1. The lesson plan follows a methodology anchored on principles of language learning and acquisition. 
2. The lesson plan shows an awareness of its context, students who are in the K-3 levels. There is provision for schema development. 
3. Questions are well thought out. I found many of the questions repetitive and literal but these have merits for mastery and disciplined thinking. Can you still give room for questions that infer and predict? 
4. Review, if you still have the time, the language used. Some Filipino words are not in the colloquial language. Too formal. Simplify and appropriate as necessary. 
5. In assessing the listening experience, is it possible to give students time to talk about their drawings and output? Consider giving activities that will allow students to retell the story in their own words. 
It’s a good lesson plan, over all, but I would have wanted to see an equal distribution of reading and writing activities.  
Good luck and thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Call for Entries: the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize. The winner shall be given a cash prize of P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day on July 16, 2019. This year’s theme is narrative nonfiction.

The contest rules are as follows:

1. Open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity.

2. Content should be intended for children aged 8–12. The content must be capable of sustaining an illustrated book.

3. Topic must be about narrative nonfiction (e.g. historical nonfiction, biographies).

4. Citing of sources and research materials used is a must. Citations should include the name of the author, the title of the resource, the publisher and the year of publications. URLs for online sources should be cited as well.

5. Entries may be in Filipino or English.

6. Entries must be in hard copy, double-spaced, on short bond paper. Each entry must be 2,000-5,000 words long.

7. A contestant may send in up to three (3) entries.

8. Contestants who envision their works to come with special features (e.g. photos, maps, timelines, infographics) should include a write-up on these special features. The write-up should be 1,000 words or less.

9. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only. Five (5) copies of each entry should be placed in an envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant should appear.

9. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a second envelope, on the face of which the pen name shall appear. This must contain the contestant’s full name, address, contact numbers, a short literary background, and a notarized certification from the author, vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication, and affirming that the entry or any variant thereof has (a) never been published nor (b) won any other contest i.e. that it has never won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, honorable mention in any other contest or otherwise been awarded a medal, a citation, or included in a publicized list of meritorious entries to a literary contest.

10. All entries must be sent through snail mail to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, Inc., Scout Torillo cor. Scout Fernandez Sts., Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City.

11. All entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat no later than 5:00 p.m., December 8, 2018.

12. Winners will be announced no later than February 2, 2019. Non-winning entries will be disposed of by the PBBY Secretariat.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Author of the Month: Becky Bravo, Salanga Prize Winner 2018

Becky Bravo accepting her 1st Salanga last NCBD
Becky Bravo shares with us her thoughts on writing awards, writing about sensitive topics for kids, her favorite books and the book she wished she had written.

1. What is your belief or perception about writing awards, winning and losing in writing contests?

To someone like me who isn’t really good for anything else but writing, an award is a most welcome recognition of the quality of my work, a confirmation of my capacity to write something outstanding now and then.  Whenever I win an award, it tells me that I didn’t make a mistake in choosing to become a writer.  Whenever I lose, I can’t help but take it very badly, but it’s helpful to remember that one can’t always write the perfect story every time, and with every different set of judges comes a different set of tastes and preferences.  As soon as I get over losing, I work up the resolve to try again, and hope that I have better luck the next time.  

2.  Depression is a dominant theme in Ang Alaga Kong Bakulaw, a topic that is relevant but not so much explored in Philippine Children's Literature. How did you approach the writing of the story with a subject such as depression?

I didn’t actually intend on writing a story about depression.  It just started with me finding the word ‘bakulaw’ funny, and then the title “May Alaga Akong Bakulaw” popped into my head.  I guess you could say that I wrote the entire story around that title, and it evolved quite on its own into a story about a young man in so much in misery that he stopped taking care of himself and began to look like a cave monster to a little girl with a fertile imagination.  I am no stranger to depression, and perhaps it’s a theme that was bound sooner or later to show up in one of my stories.  Not all people who suffer from depression manifest it in the same way; in the case of Robert, he wears his misery on his sleeve.  Other people are pretty good at hiding theirs.  But if there’s anything depression sufferers all have in common, it’s the need of support and understanding, wherever and whoever it may come from.  It is a monstrous difficulty to pull through a period of depression all alone, but having people who reach out to you no matter how strange you’ve become helps you keep the sadness from swallowing you up completely.  

Becky Bravo with friends. 
3.  What are your five favorite children's books of all time?

I can’t say that these are my absolute all-time favorites because are lots of books that I haven’t read, and my preferences change depending on what sort of mood I’m in, but off the top off my head these are five books I wouldn’t mind rereading for the nth time: The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (The Sorcerer’s Stone in particular), The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus, and The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde.  Oops, that’s six :)

4.  What is the story, for kids or for young adults, you wish you have written?

Which story do I wish I had written?  From the six titles I gave in question number three, definitely “The Happy Prince”.  No matter how many times you’ve read it before, it always hits you straight in the heart. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 8: One Step Backward Before the Big Leap

It’s holiday today but, I am working. 

I am reviewing materials I used for the #milclicks sessions done a year ago and farther back. It helps me to look back, to take a few steps backward before jumping in the work that is required at present. I do this to establish context and to set directions. I call this reflection. Coming into an awareness of where things are and where I am. 

So, I had a session on using and choosing keywords with the grade 9s last year. They are now in 10th grade, poised to do the Personal Project. They gave out interesting feedback as to how the library helped them in 9th grade during our Library orientation. I get the feeling that they are ready for robust thinking processes.

Where do we go from here, grade 10? I think I need to see the Personal Project Coordinator.

Our current grade 9s are scheduled to have their library scavenger hunt next week. It’s a tradition already! Like a prerequisite course. A priming activity that I plan and work with the CRe teacher. My review prompts me to do a digital library scavenger hunt using our online subscriptions and yes, Google. There are a lot of metadata structures there and search strategies are skills necessary to navigate and understand the layering of data and the expansion of information systems. And somewhere in the back of my mind is the result of the grade 9s’ assessment test of their research and information literacy skills. Another data that will inform me of their skills and context.

I need to organise!

What activities have I come up with for library scavenger hunt? Here are links to each.

Library Scavenger Hunt (2016)
Library Talk and Scavenger Hunt (2015)

These posts are not about the scavenger hunt, but library lessons and activities in research and on media and information literacy skills. Key to the implementation of these lessons is the collaborative partnership with classroom teachers.

Teaching Grade 9 Students Search Strategies
Teachers and Teacher Librarians Working Together

Friday, August 17, 2018

IB School Librarians Reaching Out: Developing and Supporting the IB Programs

Sometime in July, I received this query from an IB School Librarian about developing the collection of the library and supporting the Diploma Program.

I would request you to guide me regarding the resources for my IB Library and my role in the extended essay.

Below was my response.

You can start by reading the EE Guide. There is a page in the guide dedicated to the Role of Librarians in the EE. As to developing the IB Library’s collection, you can begin by reviewing the DP Curriculum and the course offerings in your school. I do not acquire and manage textbooks, but develop a collection of books, e-resources that supports and supplements the courses we offer. I am also keen on growing a Teacher’s Resource Collection and manage a Google site of our library. 
Have you attended an online workshop or onsite workshop on the EE and library development? Having access to MyIB also helps. Outside IB, there are groups in social media composed of IB School Librarians. They are in Facebook, Twitter and even in Instagram. 
There is so much to learn in the IB and it’s an exciting place to be. Support and a professional learning network are readily available. 
Good luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Salaysayan 2018: A Reading Aloud and Storytelling Festival Post Script

These librarians performed The Old Taylor in Readers' Theatre 
The 2018 Salaysayan Reading Aloud and Storytelling Festival came to pass at the Museo Pambata last July 29, 2018 after being postponed due to bad weather last July 18, 2018.

There are really moments when all you needed to do is to trust the divine forces of the universe to put things in place. What I feared to be a Salaysayan of poor attendance turned out as the opposite!

Museo Pambata came in full support, as well as the storytellers who volunteered. Rey Bufi, Melai Ramirez and the National Library of the Philippines' Storytelling and Puppetry Troupe, Kuya Rich, Teacher Psalm, Teacher Mars and the UP Diliman Librarians of the Filipiniana Department headed by Roel Randilla, thank you to all of you for sharing your time and takents! You made 100 plus kids happier with your stories. To Teacher Motie Andal, we hope to have you again next time for a more intensive workshop on books, reading and supporting teachers and parents in their journey as literacy teachers to their kids in school and at home.

Our local book publishers didn't sell as much, but I thank you for ever supporting PBBY in all its endeavours!

Dear friends in the profession, Audrey Anday and Darrel Marco, with Eleanor Llave coming in as a surprise volunteer, your presence and friendship weigh more precious than gold. The PBBY ladies, Tarie Sabido, Fran Ong and Ani Almario who were with me from start to finish of the Salaysayan.

We can always do better next year!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Library Orientation 2018: On Students' Library Experiences

Because our themes for this year are EMPATHY, INCLUSION and DIVERSITY, the library orientation I prepared for my students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 focused on their library experiences, past, present and the future. 



For grade 9, since they are new students coming in the Academy, I asked them of their ideas and concepts on what a library is. This is an assessment activity as well as a way of connecting what they know to the current library programs and services we have in the Academy. This was followed by the basic library protocols and guidelines. Circulation services, use of the Online Public Access Catalog, points of access when using the library's online databases and essential agreements in the library. These were all introduced to the new students but will be taken up in-depth in the subject and content areas through library sessions.

The grade 10s looked back at their library experiences from grade 9. Since they will be starting the year with their Personal Project (PP), I gave them a session on the use of our online subscriptions and how it can be of value to their research. It is an introductory session too, since the PP Coordinator and I have identified contact points and engagement activities focusing on research in the coming months.

The grade 11s had a Library Bingo that is very similar to a Library Scavenger Hunt. This is to prepare them for the library session scheduled for them during Foundation Week (more on that in a separate blog). Closing the morning run of orientations, I presented the Reading Without Walls campaign to the grade 12s as well as possible library projects where they can participate in earning them Community, Action and Services hours.



The grade12s will soon leave the Academy to pursue their academic careers. Out there, they will experience libraries that are embedded in the system of community building and knowledge creation. Here's hoping that their last year with me as their Teacher Librarian will be an insightful and fruitful year of inquiry, research and sharing one's time and skills for literacy development.
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