Press Release: Last Call for Entries to the 62nd Palanca Awards

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Aspiring writers still have time to finalize and submit their entries to the 62nd Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Palanca Awards).

The Palanca Awards, the Philippines' most prestigious and longest running literary competition, is accepting submissions until 12:00 m.n. of April 30, in the following regular categories:

English Division – Short Story, Short Story for Children, Essay, Poetry, Poetry for Children, One-act Play, and Full-length Play;

Filipino Division – Maikling Kuwento, Maikling Kuwentong Pambata, Sanaysay, Tula, Tulang Pambata, Dulang May Isang Yugto, Dulang Ganap ang Haba, and Dulang Pampelikula;

Regional Languages Division – Short Story-Cebuano, Short Story-Hiligaynon and Short Story-Iluko.

Young writers below 18 years old are encouraged to submit essays in the Kabataan Division. This year's theme for the Kabataan Essay is “In the advent of e-books, do I still consider printed books to be an important part of education?” The theme for the Kabataan Sanaysay is “Sa paglaganap ng e-books, maituturing ko pa bang mahalagang bahagi ng edukasyon ang mga nakalimbag na aklat?”

Contest rules and official entry forms are available at the Carlos Palanca Foundation's office, 6th Floor, One World Square Building, No.10 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City and at the Palanca Awards official website.

Entries with complete requirements may be submitted at the Foundation’s office or through the official website.

For further information, please email cpawards@palancaawards.com.ph or call telephone number 856-0808 loc. 33.

Press Release: A Treasure Trove of Asian Culture and Heritage

Singapore, 20 April 2012 – Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts launched the National Library Board's (NLB) Asian Children's Literature Collection at the Woodlands Regional Library. This is the first time a library will be housing a comprehensive thematic collection.

Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer, NLB, said, “The Asian Children's Literature Collection will serve a range of users like researchers with scholarly needs, teachers assembling lesson materials, parents looking for bedtime reads for their children, and the young who love fascinating tales. We can use these fairy tales, folklores and fables to help our children understand our values, beliefs and customs.”

With the inclusion of this collection, Woodlands Regional Library has about 181,000 books and other materials in the children's section. Visitors can borrow from a selection of 7,200 books including Chinese, Malay, and Tamil books.

There are another 800 books for visitors to browse within the library. This way, more visitors can benefit from these books as we only have one copy of them. Accumulated over 50 years, this collection is listed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) “List of Nationally and Internationally Significant Collections”. Rare books which have been around for more than 100 years will be on display. These include first editions, out-of-print editions, as well as a handwritten edition. The handwritten edition of Princess Meera displayed in the library, is one of only ten copies in the whole world. Another rare book, Salam the Mouse-Deer, is no longer printed. Some of these books have bilingual contents too.

Woodlands Regional Library will also be organising a six-month exhibition on “Asian Cinderellas” with various interesting portrayals of the classic fairy tale. While Cinderella lost her glass slipper in the classic version, the Asian Cinderellas lost items like golden slippers, anklets and rings. There are more than 1,500 of such tales in the world. One of the earliest known Cinderella stories came from China, during the Tang Dynasty. There are also stories from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Persia. There is even a Hmong tribal story on Cinderella.

The library will organise more of such exhibitions to cultivate interest in reading and appreciation of Asian culture and heritage. This will be supplemented by talks on Asian literature and storytelling sessions. In conjunction with this launch, 22 other public libraries are also organising storytelling sessions for the next ten days till 30 April.

What's new for the Asian Festival of Children's Content?

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Some exciting new things for the 2012 Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore:

This year the festival has a country focus, and the country to be highlighted is none other than the Philippines! If you have been curious about Philippine children's books, this year's festival will be the perfect opportunity to hear from and network with some Filipino writers, illustrators, and book reviewers. I'd most especially like to invite you to attend the two panels I am facilitating, "Trajectories and Themes in Children's Literature from the Philippines" and "The Art & Science of Writing Book Reviews: Online vs. Print." In "Trajectories and Themes," popular author-illustrators Russell Molina and Jomike Tejido will be sharing the special features of Philippine children's books and trends in the local market, while Candy Gourlay and Isabel Roxas will be sharing their success stories as internationally-recognized children's book creators writing and illustrating with a distinctly Filipino perspective. In "The Art & Science of Writing Book Reviews," online and print book reviewers Blooey Singson (the Philippines), Daphne Lee (Malaysia), and Anu Kumar (India/Singapore) will be discussing the rewards and challenges of book reviewing for different formats and how they overcome those challenges.

Also for the first time this year, the festival will include a Rights Fair, where industry professionals can exchange information and services, as well as trade and make deals. Think "the Asian Bologna"!

Lastly, I was very pleased to hear that the 2012 Asian Festival of Children's Content will launch the SingTel Asian Picture Book Award, to be presented annually starting 2013 to an outstanding unpublished picture book with an Asian theme. The award aims to encourage and inspire the creation and publication of more Asian-themed picture books and to stimulate public interest and awareness of picture books.

For updates and more on the Asian Festival of Children's Content, visit the official website, follow the #2012AFCC hashtag on Twitter, and read my other blog posts about the festival.

A Little Taste of What's Discussed at the Asian Festival of Children's Content

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 8 May 2012)

Book description:
When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

You know what I love about the book cover? It shows the boy's eyes. Usually when an Asian model is used for a book cover (or when it's *supposed* to be an Asian on the cover) his/her eyes are not shown. Sigh.

Click here to read Publishers Weekly's interview with Patricia McCormick about Never Fall Down, and watch the video below for Patricia McCormick's interview with Arn Chorn-Pond, the man who inspired the novel!




[Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.]

My heart is so full.

Now to make my bookshelves just as full. :o)

By the way, click here to see where I got the picture above. It goes with a nice little rant about how a lot of people forget the diversity in Asia.

Congratulations to the finalists of the 2012 Children's Choice Book Awards!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Especially to:

Shaun Tan



Lost and Found: Three (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011), finalist for Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year

and Dan Santat



Sidekicks (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011), finalist for Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year

Click here for more information about the Children's Choice Book Awards.

Whoa, there is another one.


Jeremy Lin: From the End of the Bench to Stardom by Bill Davis (Right Fit Reading, 2012)

My thoughts: It would be interesting if there would be a book on Jeremy Lin written by an Asian American. . .

Call for Papers: Growing Up Asian American in Children's Literature

Monday, April 2, 2012
Growing Up Asian American in Children's Literature, Proposed Edited Collection

“Growing Up Asian American in Children’s Literature” seeks to explore some of the major issues Asian American children and adolescents face growing up in the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Part of the mission of the collection is to define the term Asian American inclusively, to include all the “Asian” ethnicities from the Asian continent, the Pacific Rim, and also from around the world. Some questions the collection will discuss are what does it mean to be Asian and American? Is there a loss of identity in assimilation? How are Asian American children’s experiences different from other minority groups? Are different regions of the country factors in how they grow up? How do they construct themselves racially and culturally?

The collection will be interdisciplinary and may include non-traditional texts, such as picture books, comic books, TV shows or movies, toys, and traditional adolescent classics such as John Okada’s No-No Boy (1957) and Laurence Yep’s Dragonwings (1975), graphic novels, such as Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese (2006), and recently published novels, such as Thanhha Lai’s 2012 Newbery Honor Book Inside Out and Back Again (2011), and N. H. Senzai’s Shooting Kabul (2010).

Possible article topics may include, but are not limited to:

* What it means to be Asian and American
* Identity and assimilation: white on the inside and yellow/brown on the outside
* Race/racism/exoticized and marginalized
* Immigrant (FOB) vs. the second/third generation (ABC or Desi)
* Bi-racialism, ethnicity, and hybridity
* Diaspora, home and homeland, transnationalism
* Globalization, citizenship, and mobility
* Family separations (war-torn homeland/refugees)
* Education and stereotypes of the model minority
* 9/11
* Religion in a Christian country: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
* Poverty/illegal immigration
* Bilingualism, translation, and the child interpreter
* Alien/foreigner but never “American”
* Gender, sexuality, homosexuality

A major university press has indicated a strong interest in the project. Please submit a detailed 500-1000 word abstract and a brief CV by May 15, 2012 to Ymitri Mathison at yjmathison@pvamu.edu. Completed articles of 6000-7500 words must be submitted by November 1, 2012, following MLA formatting guidelines. I hope to turn in the collection to the publisher in early 2013 for a possible publication date in late 2013. Inquiries welcome and all emails will be acknowledged.

I have to agree with the fans who say. . .

That the movie adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender should have been a bit more like this:



Read: ASIAN (and Inuit!) people with elemental powers.

And yes, I'm bringing this up again because of those racist Hunger Games tweets, because Avatar: The Legend of Korra has started (Why do I get the sinking feeling there are still people out there who will deny the Asian and Inuit roots of the Avatar world?), and because I like that K-pop group in the video.