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Celebrating Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! with Illustrator Sergio Bumatay III

National Children's Book Month is the perfect time to read or reread Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! by Nanoy Rafael and Sergio Bumatay III (Adarna House, 2008). The book is a product of the silver anniversary Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) Salanga and Alcala prizes, and is one of my favorite Filipino children's books. Recently the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Sweden awarded Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! the Peter Pan Prize, an annual prize for a foreign children's or young adult book of high quality published in Sweden. (Bokförlaget Trasten is Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!'s publisher in Sweden.)

CONGRATULATIONS!

Here is IBBY Sweden’s citation for the book:
"The Filipino picture book Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! represents a part of the world not often seen in Swedish publishing for children. The theme, however, is universal: A child getting a younger sibling. The boy Isko’s anxiety about the changes he suspects will take place in his family is expressed by the recurrent cry of 'Naku, nakuu, nakuuu!' (roughly 'My, my, oh my!').

The illustrations mirror the main character’s apprehension, and visualize his fears in an imaginative and detailed way. Through a changing palette of colors the pictures follow Isko’s mood from anxious bewilderment to the harmonious final page: Here, the mask which Isko has worn throughout the book has been removed, and he seems to have grown into his role of soon-to-be older brother."
Sergio Bumatay III (Serj), the book's illustrator, is our guest for today and I have asked him a few questions:

Congratulations, Serj! What did you love most about Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!?

It gave me the chance to draw everything I love drawing. There are so many details in the book that readers will enjoy hunting. Naku is special to me because it’s one of my books that opened so many opportunities for me in children’s lit.
 

What was your creative process for Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!?

I took time to internalize the story and put myself in Isko’s shoes (main character). It wasn’t really that hard because I can relate to him, I was more than once an anxious brother-to-be. So I banked on childhood experiences and focused on surreal imagination. I also did some research for some details of the illustration like animal babies, spider eggs, pregnancy charts, and patterns etc.



[Updated to add: Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! was illustrated using pencil and acrylic paint on boards.]


What does winning the Peter Pan Prize mean to you?

It means that life isn’t always that bad, the news came to me when our family was facing a challenge. It also means that sometimes appreciation doesn’t come in an instant. If you work hard on something, people will notice eventually. 

As a children's book illustrator, what are your ten essentials or ten obsessions?

For the essentials, I coined it as artist best friends, see the poster below. :-) I made this poster just for your interview. :-p This is also available as a print. For the obsessions, I guess my Instagram pretty much sums it up.



Wow, an Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind exclusive! Thank you so much, Serj!
 
Please check this blog again for the list of essentials and obsessions of Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!'s writer Nanoy Rafael.

Comments

  1. That's what I love about artists - you ask them a question and they give you this amazing visual response! Gorgeous! And I'm a big fan of Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu - I think if I wasn't the mature being I am, I could quite easily spend a lot of time just saying the title, with apposite lengthening of vowels, over and over again, all day long.

    Congratualtions to Sergio and Nanoy - and thanks for a great interview, Tarie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who says we *have* to be "mature"? One of these days I really will run around saying, "Naku, nakuu, nakuuu!"

    ReplyDelete

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