Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Children’s Book Writer and His/Her World View Part 2

One of the many amazing things I experienced during the Room to Read Writing Workshop in Bohol was to be mentored by peers and friends in the book industry. I was part of Lampara House’s pool of writers and we have a team of editors to walk us through the entire process of creating a story for children but writers and friends from the other publishing houses became mentors too.

Ergoe Tinio of Adarna House was my seat mate. I discussed with her my character study and she was generous in her advise on how I can make my character stand out. Award winning author, Genaro Gojo Cruz gave suggestions on how I can reconcile the plot of the story to my character’s choices and decisions. Palanca Hall of Famer Dr. Luis Gatmaitan is the best venting buddy. Writing two stories in five days can be tiring and frustrating, I tell you. And then, there is Teacher Tin Canon who took time to listen to my story dilemma. When I presented my draft to the big group, I received validations and affirmations. More possibilities to improve the story. More insights to digest so I can continue to grow as a writer.

In the middle of this exercise, I realized how varied and beautifully diverse the many world views I encountered. At the end of the day, I was able to chart a course for my second manuscript.

I also observed how my writer friends' world views are reflected in their stories.

Luis, being a physician, has a series of books on heath and hygiene. Every year, Hiyas/OMF Lit publishes a book for kids that discuss a health issue through the Tito Dok Series authored by him. He has a number of books that breaks the myths and folkloric beliefs on medicine, health and wellness. The newest is Tuli o Di Tuli, a middle grade book on circumcision. Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel (Adarna House) is a favorite read aloud piece as it depicts the strength of a child battling with cancer. Then, there is 'Sandosenang Sapatos (Adarna House) that tells the story of a child with no feet who badly wanted to wear ballet shoes and dance.

Teacher Tin, on the one hand is an advocate of peace education and inclusive instruction in the classroom. Her Salanga winning story, Bakit Matagal ang Sundo Ko is an empowering depiction of the child waiting to be fetched in school. Her child characters, Pitong and Karlo, in the books Pitong Patagotago and Sampung Magkakaibigan posses special learning needs.

Genaro's empathy and advocacy to empower the poor and the underprivileged seeps into his stories for children. Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas, Ang Bahay na May Gulong and recently, an alphabet book for kids that show images and symbols of the lower-middle class family living in the city.

This would make for an interesting study. Besides the milieu, the author's world view affects his approach and treatment of storytelling.

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