I received a request from a student for an interview on children’s literature in the country and the need for a database that content creators, teachers, librarians and parents can use. Ms. Bella Abuel is an AB Arts Management student at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde. Here is part one.
- Why are you in this field? What led you to work with children’s picture books/children’s illustration?
As a school librarian, it is part of my job to know the history, trends and developments in children’s literature.
2. What is your experience working in this field?
As a school librarian, I am at the distribution, promotion, documentation and communication of children’s books and literature for children. I work with kids and teens, helping them in research, delivering readers advisory and reading guidance, assisting teachers in their use of varied learning materials for learners.
I was once president of a writing group for kids. I am a published children’s book author so I have worked with various illustrators and publishers. As past PBBY president and now, board member, I have been involved in projects that fill gaps in children’s literature in the country. These roles enable me to work with key people and groups of professionals in the children’s book industry in the country.
As an academic researcher, I have written articles, papers and research on children’s literature, its distribution, study, critique and teaching.
3. Why do you think children’s picture books are important? (or developments for children’s literature?) Do you think children’s picture books can help with children’s cognitive skills, emotional literacy, etc.?
Please visit this link to read essays of writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians, literacy advocates of picture books: https://picturebookmonth.com/
4. Do you know anything about the history of children’s picture books in the Philippines?
Good references on the history of PH Kids Lit are, Bumasa at Lumaya: A Spurce Book of PH Kids Lit Vols. 1 and 2, published by Anvil Publishing. And, the new CCP Encyclopedia has a good chapter on PH Kids Lit written by Mailin Paterno and Neni Sta. Romana Cruz. Virgilio Almario also written a critique of PH Kids Lit trends and production in 2009, published by Anvil.
Go find these books as the history and documentation of PH Kids Lit have been written already and continuously being updated.
5. Are you aware of any physical or online database related to children’s picture books/children literature?
There used to be the International Children’s Literature Database, but it has ceased.
The Philippines needs a database on Children’s Literature and the reasons for it are plenty. Many will benefit from it, not just the content creators.