Pictures from the NCBA Ceremony

Saturday, July 31, 2010
Hello, hello! I was able to nab some pictures of the Philippine National Children's Book Awards ceremony from Ramón "Rayvi" C. Sunico and from the Philippine National Book Development Board (photos taken by Daniel Tan).

Here I am with fellow judge Maria Elena "Mailin" Locsin. I had just arrived at the awards ceremony and was anxious to announce the winners to the whole world. To the left is Rayvi, a pioneer in Filipino young adult literature and the man behind the awards!

From left to right: the fabulous Atty. Andrea Pasion-Flores, executive director of the Philippine National Book Development Board, and my fellow judges Karen Ocampo Flores, Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera, moi, and Mailin. (Ana Maria F. Rodriguez, also a judge for the awards, was unable to attend the ceremony.)

Author May Tobias-Papa receiving her award for Araw sa Palengke:

Illustrator Sergio Bumatay III accepting his award for Tuwing Sabado:

Author Russell Molina accepting one of his awards . . . He won two! One for Tuwing Sabado and one for Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub. (Author/illustrator Jomike Tejido also won two awards - for Tagu-Taguan and Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub - but was unable to attend the ceremony.)

Tahanan Books editor Fran Ong accepting the award for Tagu-Taguan:

Product development manager Ani Almario accepting one of the three awards for Adarna House books:

Here are some of the winners of the Philippine National Children's Book Awards with some of the awards organizers (members of the Philippine National Book Development Board and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People). (Several of the other winners were unable to attend the ceremony.)

And real kids were at the awards ceremony!!! Yaaaaaay.

Thank you to Rayvi and to the Philippine National Book Development Board and Daniel Tan for these pictures. =D

The signed copies of Tall Story go to...

Friday, July 30, 2010
Eric Manalastas and Jayson Vega!

Congratulations, Eric and Jayson! I will email you soon to ask for your mailing address.

1st Philippine National Children's Book Awards

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Yesterday was the announcement of the winners of the very first Philippine National Children's Book Awards (NCBA). The awards are for the very best children's and young adult books published in the Philippines (2008-2009). There are no categories and no rankings for the NCBA. And the NCBA does not only evaluate the text of the nominated books. Illustrations, book design, and even the materials used in printing and binding the books are evaluated when choosing the "best reads" for young people in the Philippines!

I was a judge for the awards (yes, this is me revealing my sooper sekrit project!) and I am very proud to now share with you the six winners of the first NCBA. Below are the winners' covers and the judges' comments on the books.

Araw sa Palengke (Market Day)
Written by May Tobias-Papa
Illustrated by Isabel Roxas
Adarna, 2008
(In Filipino, with English translations)

"Listen well," her mother tells her. "Hold on to me tightly, ha? So you won't get lost. And don't point at things that you want me to buy for you." And so the story begins with a promise: "Yes, Nanay, I promise."

Early one morning, a little girl accompanies her mother to the market. They take readers with them. The market is hot and noisy, smelly and muddy, but it's also fascinating and colorful, because it's seen from a point of view that's only about three feet tall. When they arrive home, and our little girl unpacks the bayong (bag) to find a surprise wrapped in newspaper at the bottom, it's her joy we feel in the little dance that she does.

Araw sa Palengke is a true marriage of text and visual image. The story by May Tobias-Papa is gentle and straightforward, and the illustrations by Isabel Roxas are charming and finely detailed. The result is a lighthearted picture book that is nuanced, controlled, and thoroughly engaging. A really good read.

Can We Live on Mars?: A Book About Space

Written by Gidget Roceles-Jimenez
Illustrated by Bru
Adarna, 2009
(In English)

One interesting concern that was raised among the judges was that appropriate reading for ages 9-12 was sadly lacking in the market. Here then is a book that is both educational and entertaining for kids at the threshold of adolescence - kids ready for meaty facts, yet still profiting from the visual and often humorous support of illustrations. The title of the book, Can We Live on Mars?, aptly echoes children's questions about astronomy and its function in culture and society. This book is serious fun. Written, illustrated, and designed as a handy collection of facts and activities about the study of space, Can We Live on Mars? provides concise and enjoyable reading and should be a useful supplement to science textbooks in schools today. Gidget Roceles-Jimenez’s writing effectively converses with young readers, while the illustrations provided by Bru ensure the liveliness of this exchange. Finally, the challenge of keeping these elements integrated and organized was met by book designer Lesley Lim.

By locating the Philippines in the constellation of achievements in the history of astronomy, Can We Live on Mars? boosts our sense of identity and creativity. It is an empowering and inspiring book, giving students sound ideas on what they can do as budding scientists and responsible global citizens now and into the future.

Just Add Dirt

Written by Becky Bravo
Illustrated by Jason Moss
Adarna, 2009
(In English, with Filipino translations)

One morning, Miguel wakes up to find little mung bean seedlings growing out of his ears. "That's what you get for not taking a bath," his mother says quite nonchalantly. Miguel promises to take a bath, but he keeps putting it off so that he can play with his friends. Meanwhile, more and more plants start growing all over his body - a veritable vegetable garden! Miguel starts to panic, but his mother remains cool and calm.

Becky Bravo has written very interesting characters and a funny, immensely entertaining story. Jason Moss' colorful, vivid, and detailed illustrations add even more humor to the book. Just Add Dirt will have children giggling behind their hands, then bursting into loud and hearty laughter. And they just might think twice about not taking a bath....

Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub
Written by Russell Molina
Illustrated by Jomike Tejido
Bookmark, 2008
(In English)

Dr. Fe del Mundo's devotion to her profession is clearly yet dispassionately rendered from the point of view of an observer who is a child. Details of her achievements are unfolded in natural settings - the hallway of her office documenting her career in photographs or a dinnertime conversation between the child and her parents - and not simply a dry copy of the pediatrician's curriculum vitae. The book's uplifting theme is shown without sounding preachy and pedantic. The title suggests the sound of a beating heart, a gift shared by everyone; thus gently disputing the child's original claim that her younger sister is "different."

Tagu-Taguan (Hide-and-Seek): A Counting Book in Filipino
Written and illustrated by Jomike Tejido
Tahanan, 2009
(In Filipino, with English translations)

As the title suggests, these backyard creatures are not always obvious. They are surprising finds when one cares to seek them out. Mr. Tejido utilizes a full range of earth colors and jewel tones while carefully integrating texture into his illustrations. The creatures are in their proper habitats, but their surroundings never overwhelm them. Each creature is carefully drawn, well defined, and well proportioned. The proboscises of the butterflies, the segments of the earthworms, the thorny hind legs of the grasshoppers, and the joints of the spiders’ legs are a few examples of the exact anatomical details in a book that is both artistic and accurate.

Mr. Tejido's decision to start at ten and count backwards adds a refreshing perspective to this book. Rote counting backwards is a necessary skill and it is never too early to introduce that skill to children.

Tuwing Sabado (Every Saturday)
Written by Russell Molina
Illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III
Lampara, 2009
(In Filipino, with English translations)

The child in this story anticipates every Saturday, as it is the only day he can be with his father. We are caught up in the excitement of the child. And why not? The father is an amazing man! He always has something new in store for his son. He entertains, he cooks, he teaches, he steels his son for the future. It is easy to be drawn into the child’s narrative. We wish with him that Saturdays would come more quickly than every seven days. One is then taken aback by the surprise revealed at the end of the book. The carefully omitted background details and the characters' clown-like faces in the illustrations succeed in showing the intimacy and wonder between the child and his father and in keeping the secret until the very end.

Congratulations to all of the winners!!!

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures from the awards ceremony to share. I wasn't able to take any pictures. I was too busy staring at the winners because I was so happy for them! Hopefully I can get some pictures from friends and share them in another post. =D

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the NCBA: the members of the Philippine National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the members of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). The members of the NBDB and the PBBY are so hardworking, so professional, and so friendly. They are awesomecakes topped with awesomesauce.

I would most especially like to thank the other judges: Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera, Karen Flores, Ana Maria Rodriguez, and Maria Elena Locsin. I learned so much from all of you. And discussing children's and young adult books with you felt like coming home.

GIVEAWAY: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Andi hasn't seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He's tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL.

But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.

Last night was the launch of the Philippine edition of Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (Cacho Publishing House, 2010).

Below is Ramón C. Sunico, the Philippine editor and publisher of Tall Story. He has cried each and every time he has read Tall Story. (It has made me cry, too. It is such a touching story about a long-lost brother and sister. Click here to read a few of my comments on the book and my interview with the author.)

Below is the inspiring author herself, talking about how getting her book published in the U.K. (by David Fickling Books), the U.S. (also by David Fickling Books), and the Philippines is one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

The very best things to ever happen to Candy Gourlay are her husband Richard and her children Nick, Jack, and Mia.

What a beautiful family!!

Candy's gorgeous, gorgeous family and friends sang during the book launch. Candy conducted, of course!

Guess who I met at the book launch? My fellow Filipina YA book blogger Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook! It was great hanging out with you, Chachic!

I am giving away two SIGNED copies of the Philippine edition of Tall Story. The Philippine edition of Tall Story is a collector's edition. It is in paperback and has a different cover from the U.K. and the U.S. editions. It is in English and it is illustrated - the U.K. and U.S. editions are not illustrated. The Philippine edition also includes a glossary, notes, and discussion guides (not included in the U.K. and U.S. editions) for teachers and librarians who want to use the book in the classroom or for reading groups.

To join this giveaway (and absolutely everyone is welcome to join), leave a comment for this post. Please give your name, your email address, . . . and the name of a giant in literature or a real-life "giant"! The winners will be chosen randomly next Thursday, July 29. They will be two very lucky readers indeed. =D

Tall Story: A story about magic, culture clash and basketball.

27th National Children's Book Day

Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Yesterday was the 27th Philippine National Children's Book Day and I attended a lovely celebration organized by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). The celebration included a presentation of the latest children's books from Philippine publishers and the opening of a retrospective exhibit of the works of the late illustrator Albert Gamos.

The keynote speech was delivered by the always inspiring author Candy Gourlay. She presented the idea of a Philippines where every child loved to read and had the power to imagine and therefore work toward a better Philippines. Wow. I'm definitely up to the challenge. Are you?

Here are pictures of the hardworking members of the PBBY (and Candy Gourlay with the PBBY):

Raymund Falgui was awarded the 2010 PBBY-Salanga Prize for his unpublished collection of children's poems, Green Leaf and Other Poems. Congratulations!

I love that he said that if we all remembered what it was like to be a child, we would all be better people. :o)

Zarah Gagatiga, chair of the PBBY, gave a fabulous reading of one of Raymund Falgui's poems.

Aldy Aguirre was awarded the 2010 PBBY-Alcala Prize for his unpublished illustrations for Green Leaf and Other Poems.

Congratulations, Aldy!

The program for National Children's Book Day was at Museo Pambata, a children's museum in Manila. One area of the museum is dedicated to children's book authors and illustrators and encourages children to consider being authors and illustrators when they grow up. What a great concept for museum space!

I had a wonderful time celebrating National Children's Book Day with fellow children's book lovers and I'm already looking forward to next year. Thank you, PBBY!

Storytelling Saturday

Sunday, July 18, 2010
I spent my Saturday at the SM North branch of Fully Booked, enjoying storytelling sessions from Adarna House.

The children were so precious. So smart and animated. And I was really impressed by storyteller Dyali Justo. She had infinite patience with the children and was such a bundle of energy. She made the storytelling sessions truly entertaining and engaging.

Some Adarna House authors and illustrators were there! Below are pictures of the children in line to get their copies of Just Add Dirt (Adarna House, 2009) signed by author Becky Bravo and illustrator Jason Moss.

One of the picture books Dyali Justo read aloud was the wonderful Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! (Adarna House, 2008). It's one of my favorite picture books. Nanoy Rafael writes so beautifully and Sergio Bumatay III is an amazing illustrator. I was able to snap this picture of the both of them at the event (Sergio Bumatay III on the left and Nanoy Rafael on the right) and I was SLAYED.

I should attend more storytelling sessions. ^_^ And you should join me, dear readers!