Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Winner of the 2019 Wordless Book Prize


The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) declared Nina Patricia C. Martinez as the 2019 PBBY Wordless Book Prize. Martinez, a freelance graphic artist and illustrator, bagged the grand prize with her entry, Ang Mga Sikreto ng Langit at Dagat.

Martinez has a degree in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She has illustrated and designed for NGOs and businesses, as well as for magazines and books.

Martinez shall receive a medal and a cash prize worth Twenty Thousand Pesos at the National Children’s Book Day ceremonies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on July 16, 2019.

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

Monday, April 29, 2019

Collection Development: Arthropods Around Beacon Academy

As I was out of campus last week, I did not receive the books that one of our students donated to the library. Good thing my staff was present to acknowledge and to be at the donor's ceremony. Such an event is special and is honored in the community. Having written a book is a milestone and there are good reasons to celebrate it.

Arthropods Around Beacon Academy by Lyndon Yap
Through books, one's thinking is made visible. And by one I mean a collective, a group, a team who collaborated in making it. The library as its recipient or place for curation increases its worth and preserves the creators' knowledge and skill. In a library, the authors and his or her partners find an audience who engages with them. In the process, the cycle of creation continues and more knowledge is added up to the existing status quo.

Arthropods Around Beacon Academy is written by Lyndon Yap, grade 12, nature enthusiast and photographer. The three volume series began as a passion project which Lyndon started in grade 10. Through the Personal Project, he was guided and mentored by his supervisor in creating a field guide as requirement for the completion of his Middle Years Program certificate. He was really dedicated on the book project and because he was doing a project of interest, he was able to finish it in time - something many young researchers are challenged to do.

 He continued on. Documenting. Recording. Taking pictures of the insects, reptiles and birds he sees around school. He did research as well and even interviewed an Ichthyologist to determine the validity of his own studies. Last year, he finished volume 2 and this year, volume 3 of the series.

Now, the library is a proud owner of his Personal Project and Creativity Action and Service outputs. The library is indeed a growing organism!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

My Library Mentors, Teachers and Guide

It has come to pass - my talk at the University Library of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The talk for New Professionals Series was organized by the University of the Philippines Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines (UP FLIPP) in cooperation with the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) and various student organizations from the different schools and universities offering Library and Information Science.

 I agreed to the invitation despite the short notice. New professionals need to see models, choose mentors and seek guides. The journey in finding one's self, a community to belong to and a niche in this world is filled with challenges. And if I could help a bit in these young people's journey, then I am glad to do it. As a new professional two decades ago and more, I had met teachers, mentors and guides who have made a big dent in my life. I have blogged about them and now that I was given a chance to teach and share, I remember them with fondness.

It is already a given that my mother and teachers in the Philippine Normal University are my mentors. Their advise, freely given and unsolicited remain with me after all these years. Working as a school librarian, I have Mrs. Del Hernandez to thank for inspiration as well as her husband, Marc Hernandez for being the father figure while I was a young professional in Xavier School. Up to the time when I was an administrator, I turn to Mr. Hernandez for consolation.

In UP Diliman, I give my gratitude to Hon. Lourdes T. David when she was my professor in graduate school. I learned so much about life as a professional librarian from her. Every time I hear her speak at a conference, I feel affirmed, happy and inspired. I know I am doing something right. Peers and colleagues as well as Library Organizations can be mentors too as they guide and help towards skills and development of competencies.

 This experience of interacting with a community of professionals has stretched far and beyond the archipelago.It was a great joy meeting my idols in the profession at the 2013 IASL Annual Conference  in Bali in 2013. Who would have thought that my LIP idols would become my friends and my support group in the long run?

Reflecting on these events inspires me to do a Research on Mentoring in the LIS Profession.

What makes a mentor and a guide? How does it help a new professional? Who among the Filipino Librarians are at the top 10 mentor list of millenial LIPs? Interesting questions waiting to be answered!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

PPT: Pursuing Personal Advocacies

Here is the presentation for my talk on advocacy for UP Flipp's New Professional Series. I am scheduled to deliver my talk at 9AM in the UP Main Library. Excited to meet and engage with students of library and information science and new professionals!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Beth Parrocha

Illustrator and woman of wonder, Beth Parrocha lent me her time for this blog feature. I have heard her talk on several occasions but in this interview, Ms. Parrocha speaks from a well spring of love and dedication for her chosen craft. Read her insights on the book industry, especially on the illustrator and publisher relationship, her creative process and the benefits of curiosity and play for the growth and the development of the artist.

1. In your years as children’s book illustrator, name three things that have changed PH Children’s Literature and three things that have remained the same since you started out. These changes and constants may vary from the stories you worked on, the community that supports you as an artist, the publisher-illustrator partnership and opportunities beyond the archipelago. 

 3 things that have changed:

There are more children’s book illustrators now.

More picture book stories that are relevant to what is happening with children in the Philippines.

International publishers are recognizing Filipino illustrators a lot more.

       3 things that have remained the same:

There are still some publishers that are unaware that to nourish their place in children’s book publishing, they will have to nourish the people that are a part of the industry like the writers and the illustrators.

IPR and copyright laws still need to be established in people’s minds.

I still illustrate for children’s picture books ☺

2. You have an amazing and wonderful body of work. I find them playful and whimsical. Quiet, cozy and comforting too. What keeps you going? 

What keeps me going is that I’m curious.  I’m curious as to how the main character would look like.  How the visual elements would conspire to make the story come alive to the reader. Whenever a publisher gives me a story to illustrate and would tell me of their excitement to see the illustrations. I always reply, “I’m excited too!”  For me, I don’t really know what would come out until the book has been printed.

More than anything else, I am a storyteller; the picture book is where I am free to express my narrative.  

It’s not an easy process, but worth it. To undergo with each new story the process of exploration and the thrill of seeing everything connect together at the end.  Illustrating a book is an adventure; I will not deprive myself of that.  

I love it when publishers give me stories, it’s like they are kids themselves and they are asking me to play.

3. What is your take on awards and recognition as an artist? 

When people especially your fellow artists acknowledges your work, express your gratitude but don’t let the trophy or the recognition define you. There are a lot of other artists that are better than you. It’s just that at this moment, you are the one that is being recognized.  That thinking will keep you grounded, or else that trophy can destroy you, by making you complacent. So you wonder why you’ve reached a plateau with your art? That is the reason why.

The sense of wonder and enjoyment that you will feel, whenever you create something that you can actually see and touch out of an idea, that feeling, that is what you should work on. Only you can give that to yourself.

4. How does play factor in your work and in the life of an artist, in general? 

A circle is just a circle until the artist decides that it be something else, stretches it, twists it on one end, and calls it a fish. That decision is the spirit of play.

A line is just a line until the artist grapples with it, chases it around with a pen, a pencil, brush or even a mouse and it becomes anything that the artist wants it to be. That is play.

A story becomes interesting when you have toyed with it enough to see through the tiniest of ant holes just so you can look at it from a different perspective.

Play is important to the artist or else everything about his work would look static.

5. Kindly give your 5 recommended activities for  artists and children’s book illustrators. 

There are lots of things that you can do to make yourself a better artist and illustrator that you will have to discover for yourself.  I cannot limit your experience based on what I know.  But perhaps I can help you with how you can conduct yourself while you are having those experiences.

Be curious.

Suspend judgment.  Do not conclude in the beginning what may or may not happen at the end.

Hold your emotions in check. You might miss something important by indulging in your emotions.

Clear your mind of clutter so that the experience flows in to you unhampered.

Be firm in the belief that you will be learning something.

Ms. Parrocha will be conducting the ILLUSTRATORS AT PLAY II* A Hands-on Workshop on Making Picture Book Art with Beth Parrocha. April 27 (Saturday) | 1:30 to 4:30 PM Glass Space, Ayala Museum

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New Professional Series: Pursuing Personal Advocacies

Lifted from the FB Page of UP Future Library and Information Professionals (UP FLIP):

Get to know our speakers for the New Professionals Series 2019: Starting up as a New Professional for this coming April 27, 2019!

Ms. Zarah C. Gagatiga is a teacher librarian at the Beacon Academy. She is an award-winning author, blogger, storyteller and a bibliotherapist. She is also a board member representing librarians in the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). She will be giving a talk on "Pursuing Personal Advocacies", giving her insights on how to pursue personal advocacies side by side with pursuing a career.

To secure your slots, kindly pre-register at tinyurl.com/NewProfessionalsSeries2019.

For inquiries, send us an email at upflipp.redoma@gmail.com


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Lighthouse Diary Entry #15: Creativity Action and Service in the School Library

One CAS (Creativity Action and Service) activity I have been brewing in my head since way back when, is a knowledge sharing project that our students can do for the library. After several meetings and consultations, plus, the IBAP Librarians Workshop I attended last month in Singapore, I finally had a concrete project, the Help Us Build the BA Library Project.

The project has two aspects: 1) skills building in referencing and citations; and 2) resource sharing. For Diploma Program students, they are invited to sign up in a bibliography writing project. See the poster.

Consultations with the CAS coordinator proved helpful and support from the Dean of Students came in 100%. Our next step is to inform the student body of the CAS project and get the endorsement of the Student Council. Visit the blog as I monitor this project and share with you updates.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The 41st IASL PASLI Conference 2019

The Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc. (PASLI) partnered with the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) to stage a regional workshop and national conference in Manila on April 24-26, 2019. The venue of the conference is at the Century Park Hotel, Malate, Manila.

I will be presenting a professional paper on Bibliotherapy, a passion project I have been working on since 2009. I have curated in the blog the presentations, interviews and research I have been involved in over the years about Bibliotherapy

So, it has been ten years! Imagine that!

I am excited to meet friends from PASLI and IASL especially the ones who come from the South East Asia. My last participation in an IASL Workshop was through a recorded video presentation in Indonesia in 2017. This year, as I am in better health and the venue is in Manila, I will be joining the two organizations for professional linkages and exchange.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Reflections on Faith and Life

If you are a follower of the blog, you may have noticed the regular posts I have been writing about: my faith and my relationship with God, the tests and trials I go through - big and small, and the many surprises life has been throwing my way. This Holy Week, as I continue to reflect on the amazing moments when I discover that God is present in my life, I curate these written reflections. Looking back at these events makes me grateful. I am humbled by the graces I receive.

This series of reflections is entitled Pilgrim's Pit Stop.

On Generosity How I pray for grace and when it is answered, it can be life changing and life affirming.

On the Examen and Prayer Apps The Daily Examen is a core of Ignatian Spirituality. Praying the Examen everyday allows me to see and to find God in all things. Through the Examen, I recognize the many colors of life and its complexities. Deep with in the prayer exercise, I experience a knowledge of who I am. It is not always a pleasant discovery. But since God is with me in prayer and in every moment, I am consoled.

On Love and Transcendence  When I realized that I am capable of loving and going beyond myself.

On Midlife and Growing Old with Grace Transitioning to midlife is not a walk in the park, but it can gracefully be achieved!

Living in the Now I have been battling with anxiety since I turned forty years old. I have been prescribed to take medicines but, I opted to go a naturel. Strengthening my spiritual anchor is one way of dealing with the condition.

Pilgrim's Pit Stop appears 4-6 times in a year in the Magis Deo Newsletter. I have been writing for the Magis Deo Newsletter since 2006, when my husband I first joined the community. I took a leave for two years, I think and went back in 2016. It was actually the year when I had my mini-stroke.

You can read about my journey on a second chance on life by following these links: The Big Reveal: My Stroke of LuckMy Stroke of Luck: Trying to Make Sense of It AllMy Stroke of Luck: On the Road to Recovery.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Jonathan Rañola

Jonathan Rañola and I had our book launched last Septemeber 2018 during the Manila International Book Fair. However, it is only now that I am featuring this interview with him in the blog. He shares with us his approach and style in illustrating Ino the Invincible (Lampara Books, 2018) and works of artists he admires. He also has tips for aspiring artists who dream of breaking into children’s book illustration.

1. What was your approach (creative process) in illustrating the story, Ino the Invincible? 

When  I was given the transcript and read the story of Ino,  I was visualizing a book that has lots of touches of nostalgia.  Coming from an all-boys school,  I can definitely identify with Ino’s school life, like hanging out in the library or doing school projects and activities with the whole class.  I intentionally made my images with touches of monotone to project the image of nostalgia in every scene.   I also applied the idea of spot-color,  that is why, page after page,  Ino is the only character that is in full color.  This is to stress that he is the main character and  to focus and  highlight   his uniqueness and importance in the story.  Proper research using books, the internet and videos were used and reviewed to add accuracy in the representations.  I also used my favorite medium in illustration, pen and ink with watercolor so that I  could translate my ideas to actual images.  

2. What challenges did you encounter in illustrating the story? How did you overcome or break these challenges? 

To tell you the truth,  doing Ino the Invincible was a breeze. Maybe because, as I said earlier,  I could  identify  and see the commonness of the situations and surroundings of Ino.   I really enjoyed doing the different scenes in the book, and being  the illustrator,  I try to add and create different stories in every scene.  The only actual challenge of illustrating Ino is that I have to be totally faithful with the written text and accurately illustrate the basketball moves that are being described in the narrative. The solution is to do a lot of research on the different basketball uniforms from the past to the present and the plays and moves of the game.  Also, some scenes require a lot of characters, and I have to show the  different personalities of each.  There are also some group or crowd scenes, which are quite difficult to illustrate.  But overall,  I am satisfied with the end-result of my illustrations.  

3. What tips or advise can you give aspiring artists?

For young and aspiring artists,  my best advice is to follow their dreams; do not be influenced  by peer-pressure or be dictated by  people that surrounds you.  Create an impressive portfolio of works.   Draw a lot and make things that you like or that inspire you.  It is also important to create your own style that will be your branding in the field of illustration.   Making your own mark by creating images that will be identified and established as yours.    Furthermore, never be insecure with the works of others.  

In the world of illustration,  clients approach you for the style and aesthetics of your works.  When they come to you, mostly are already familiar with the style of your work.  Besides, there will always be a lot of narratives to illustrate.

4. Give three picture books/story books you wish you had illustrated and Why? 

First is “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.   He is one of my favorite book illustrator and I have always been fascinated with his charming works.  Like Maurice, my favorite medium to use for illustrating is pen and ink with watercolor.  

Second is “Dick Whittington and His Cat” by Marcia Brown.  How I wish I could also make  a book using Linocut as medium.  Linocut is a technique in printing which uses a sheet of linoleum.  A design is cut in the surface  using carving  tools, then inked and printed on paper. Her works are very graphic and I am fascinated with lines that are manually carved that creates highlights and depth in the figures of her illustration.   

Lastly my favorite book is “Columbus” by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire.   I have never heard of this husband and wife illustrators before.  I just discovered their book in a thrift shop.  The book was really old, but when I saw their work,  I instantly fell in love with their aesthetics and how contemporary their vision in creating children’s book.  They are great inspirations for my work in book illustration as well as in my works in painting.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Update on Book Project: When A Book Talks

My illusrator, Ghie Cabalar sent in the activity pages for our book, When A Book Talks. I love the colors she used. Btave and vivid!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What Good Public Libraries Do

Last month was National Public Library Awareness. I gathered from librarian friends working in the public library sector through Facebook of the many activities they had. It was in the same month when I got tagged by a friend living in Canada of a photo he took of his son and wife reading my book, The Day Max Flew Away (Lampara Books, 2017). I also learned that my books are all available in the public library of Calgary. Amazing! What good public libraries do!

This may be a month late, but allow me to amplify the relevance of public libraries to a person, to his or her family, to the community and society in general.

1. Public libraries are spaces where a person can find his or her own people. Through services that allow him or her to access reading materials and informtion that represent his or her heritage, language and culture, the world is a little less lonelier.

2. Public libraries bridge gaps between peoples and generations. Imagine my friend’s delight to read a book in Filipino to her son when they have been living in Canada for years. The longing for home never ends. Thanks to the public library and its librarians who make books that speak of home available to migrants and immigrants. Now, a Canadian born child of Filipino ancestry could read along with his parents a story written by a Filipino author!

3. Public libraries empower people, their families and communities. Reading is a right as much as it being a skill and a set of skills to be learned. Learning to read is a skill that is learned at home, first of all. If books for learning how to read are too expensive to acquire, then public libraries come in to the rescue. What’s more, their services are developmentally programmed. There is everything for everyone in a well funded, well supported public library.

So, having said all these, I hope Filipino librarians continue to learn from each other and from the experiences of others. I am still hopeful that, despite the many challenges we face, we are able to rise above it to empower people, bridge gaps and show empathy. On a personal note, I thank the librarians of the Calgary Public Library for including my books in their Filipino collection. This is inclusive library services. This is recognising diversity. These are reasons libraries are all the more relevant today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Summer Writing Camp at SOX

GenSan to host SOX Summer Writing Camp

SOX Writers, in partnership with the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will be conducting a SOX Summer Writing Camp this coming April 29 to May 2, 2019 in General Santos City. 

The event aims to contribute to the growing literary scene in Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN or SOX). It also aspires to develop and promote the writing talents of young writers in the region, encouraging them to produce literary works that represent and highlight the diversity and richness of the cultures in SOX

“The camp will provide a big opportunity for young writers in our region to hone and improve their craft,” says Camp Director Kurt Comendador. “It will bring them more exposure to experienced writers who will serve as their mentors in this four-day activity. It will give them a taste of what it’s like to live a writer’s life and experience dwelling in a community that shares the same passion as them. It is a rare vibrant event for us who live in the region, which is only beginning to appreciate local literature.”

During the camp, there will be a plenary lecture: Introduction to Writing and Literature; specialized lectures on Poetry, Essays, and Fiction; as well as a zine-making activity and zine fest. High school, senior high, and college students from different parts of the region will undergo general and specialized creative writing workshops and are expected to write creative works and publish them in zines.

For the past few years, there have been several literary events to help grow the literary scene in the region. Still, it is undeniable that access to bigger writing opportunities remain outside the region. The SOX Summer Writing Camp not only aims to develop the creative writing skills of young writers but also aimsto encourage institutional support from concerned agencies and writing communities in the Philippines. 

We hope this inaugural event will be successful and open numerous opportunities for writers in the SOX region. We hope that this will garner the support of our local institutions towards literary efforts in the region and give SOX literature a chance to prosper,” Comendador says.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Call for Entries: The 2019 Alcala Prize


The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2019 PBBY-Alcala Prize. The winner shall be given a cash prize of PHP25,000.00, a 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.


Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat and time-stamped no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 7, 2019.


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

2. Entries must be based on the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize winning piece of creative nonfiction, A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limcaco Dans by Gabriela Lee.

3. A copy of the creative nonfiction piece may be downloaded through the PBBY website (https://pbby.org.ph/).

4. All entries must be original, unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.

5. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size, two of which are colored, in sequence, and rendered in the same medium. The third spread should be a rough sketch of any other spread. 

Contestants are free to determine how to distribute the text for their spreads, bearing in mind that the interaction of art and text is an important criterion of the contest.

6. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

7. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only, preferably on a small piece of paper pasted on the back of each artwork. Entries with a signature or any identifying marks are automatically disqualified.

8. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a separate envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant shall appear. The envelope must contain the contestant’s full name, address, contact numbers, short description of background, and notarized certification 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. A format of the certification may be downloaded through the PBBY website (https://pbby.org.ph/). 

9. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City by June 7, 2019. Entries may be submitted in person or by courier service.

10. Winners will be announced no later than June 21, 2019. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than August 16, 2019 after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.

For more details, interested parties may contact PBBY by calling 3526765 local 204 or emailing secretariat [at] pbby.org.ph.

Here is the link to the winning story and certification template.

A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limaco Dans by Gabriela Lee https://drive.google.com/open?id=195zkWDYLSzKRaUCWHO46ttvGmiLNtmuj

Monday, April 1, 2019

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Dearest Lord, Teach Me To Be Generous

Pilgrim’s Pit Stop: Dearest Lord, Teach Me To Be Generous
By Zarah C. Gagatiga, BCGG Emmanuel

Sometime in early February, I felt weighed down, irrelevant and vulnerable. Work made me listless and dissatisfied. Changes in family life left me confused, even lost. Under the circumstances, I would rather protect myself by staying in my comfort zone. I did recognize the invitation to be brave. Being brave, however, would mean taking risks, going the extra mile and stretching an arm and a leg. I found myself asking, “what for?” and at “what cost?” I was tired.

For several days, I allowed myself to be irresponsible. And it helped me. Seriously, it did. I stepped back from the noise. I loosened up. I ranted.

That was when, for some reason, I heard the song Prayer of Generosity a couple of times. I heard it one time in the van on my way to work. Then at school, when some students preparing for the school fair burst out singing liturgical songs and Panalangin ng Pagiging Bukas Palad was in the play list. Na-LSS* tuloy ako.

Indeed, God knows me so well that He called me back in a way that is loving and tender. He spoke to me through music and song. A language I could truly understand.

Recognizing this grace, I tucked it in my prayer and opened myself to God’s hands.

Dearest Lord, Teach me to be generous… to give and not to count the cost… except that of knowing, that I do Your most holy will.

This was my prayer and God’s response was immediate and swift.

A few days after that episode, I found myself reconnecting with my father whom I do not regularly see except on family holidays and emergencies. For a week, my seventy year old father stayed with us. My kids experienced once again, how it is to have a grandfather.  To our delight, he repaired the old bike that has gotten rusty over the years. This gesture seemed so small, but the message is laden with life lessons. My father’s presence at home reminded me of two things: to live in the now and to simply be.

A month has passed and I have kept in touch with my father. I realized how selfish I have been in taking care of my aging parents. This is a role reversal I was not ready to take on. I carried it with a burden and refused to accept the blessings that it offered me. Apparently, God has a way of showing me the gifts of family life in light of the changing dynamics between parent and child. The child will always learn from the parent in whatever stage or cycle they are in. I did receive the grace of generosity and more! Humility. Forgiveness. And gratitude.
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