Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Love Libraries: The Book Stop

Of course!

So, for today's post (because this is supposedly a Valentine feature) I am featuring The Book Stop. It is a pop-up library where anyone and everyone is welcome to browse, read and engage in a book exchange program. This idea is not new, of course. I have heard about The Little Free Library, and seen one in a corner of the Glorieta Mall in Ayala, Makati, as well as the Book Exchange Project of Papemelroti Roces Ave., branch in Quezon City.

Be still my book loving heart.

Such out of the library box ideas are pleasant news. Access to books and reading materials are now within the community's reach. It does break the stereotype of the one building library, often looking isolated and intimidating, and puts the library at the hub of people's businesses and traffic.

The Book Stop, though not the first to adapt the book exchange concept, is unique in its own design of a reading space. Instead of bricks and cement for walls, there is none at all. Only shelves of steel (forgive me if I am wrong) and columns that hold up the shelves. The flooring and the seats are made of wood giving it a homey feel. At the Dai des Libro last April 2016, I first saw its novelty. It was such a pleasant surprise to find one in Molito in Alabang last year in December.

If you think that The Book Stop is something you wish to support, click the link I included in this post. Or, visit the Facebook Page of WTA Architecture and Design Studio. Yup. This community reading center is run by an architecture firm and design studio. It only goes to show that art and technology must work for the people who use them. The same idea goes to libraries. Technology is a big factor in managing and running a library. But, a library is also about the arts and humanities, where people matter a lot!

I'm tossing these ideas on how "traditional" libraries and book lovers can further enrich and partake in the reading community through The Book Stop.

a. Volunteer to do storytelling sessions and literacy activities. When I posted my selfie with The Book Stop, I got a PM from another volunteer if I wish to help out and do my bit.

b. Donate books. All sorts and different kinds of books.

c. Write about them on social media: FB, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs

d. Librarians' associations and organizations can try inviting the proponents of The Book Stop to run talks about developing reading centers in communities. We can learn a thing or two from the architects and the designers who set it all up.

e. If you know that The Book Stop is in your community, or near your neighborhood, go visit! Read! Bring your kids, your partner, lover, friend and colleagues!

Today is the last day of February. The month of hearts and the arts draws to a close. But let our love for books, reading, culture and the arts last the whole year through!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Alternative Class Days: Paper Art / Paper Sculptures Day 2

Ms. Liza Flores, guest facilitator
Our Alternative Class Days in school ended last Friday on a high note. What Liza Flores, our guest workshop facilitator, started with us on Day 1 we continued on the second day.

I set up the workshop space early that Friday morning. There was an area for materials and supplies, an area for reflection, a work area and a display area. There were fourteen students in the workshop and seven of them came in early. At 7.45 AM, they were all in their work table cutting, pasting, mounting and quietly creating to their hearts' desires. With the help of my co-teachers, we guided all fourteen of our students in finishing their paper art projects. Well, there was very little supervision from us. They seemed to have taken the input session of Liza like fish to water. 

Our Griffins produced paper art on interesting themes. Some picked their favorite games and leisure activities, a cartoon character, a few played around with colors. One of them did a 3D model of a train. There was a student who made a notebook and designed a paper art on the cover. One senior made paper flowers which he put in a paper cup. It's amazing how one student stepped up to challenge of making a pop-up paper art and a Beacon Academy inspired art work. Many chose to work individually, but there were a few who paired and worked together. 



Some works on display at the school lobby
Before ending the day with the exhibit of works, we asked the students to write their reflections. This will help us decide where to go further with paper art / paper sculptures. For one, I am thinking of setting aside 45 minutes of paper art sessions in the library. If there is one thing we discovered with the ACD on Paper Art, it is a good stress reliever! 

Since I played the role of mother hen on Day 1, I didn't get to do the art exercises which Liza conducted for the group. So, I made sure to do at least two paper art projects of my own. I couldn't decide what to do at first. Flowers and leaves are the easiest to do, but my love for books won over. I looked for patterns of the White Tree of Gondor, the lamp post in Narnia and images of my favorite characters in Spirited Away. After selecting images, I went to work.

The White Tree of Gondor
The tree of Gondor was so intricate, it took me two hours to finish the piece. But boy, oh boy! I felt so good afterwards. Then I moved on to make soot sprites. My homage to Hayao Miyazaki. The lamp post in Narnia was shelved for another time. I had to give instructions to students as they prepared for the exhibit of works at 2PM. Together, we set up the paper art exhibit.

At the end of the day, we all felt accomplished. All of us were simply happy creating art with friends and colleagues during the two days Alternative Class Days (ACD) in the academy.

Here is the link to my blog post on ACD Paper Art / Paper Sculptures Day 1.

I Love Bookmarks

February 25 is World Bookmark Day. I posted in my IG account a photo of bookmarks I use on my books at work. This fascination for bookmarks go farther back in high school. I had a mug or two filled with bookmarks I bought from bookstores. I used to make bookmarks and sell them for a very affordable price to my classmates.



Over the years, I would buy a bookmark or two and use them whenever I read. Somehow, the book became the home of the bookmark. It was only recently when my love for bookmarks resurfaced. I think I was looking for a new hobby to do that making bookmarks came to mind.

Here is my blog post on a felt bookmark I made. Another post on pompom bookmarks made of yarn. My writer friend, Bebang Siy got married three years ago and she and Poy, her fiance back then, designed their own bookmarks as a giveaway and invitation to wedding guests. Friends who know my fascination for bookmarks would give them to me as gifts or pasalubongs, especially those who traveled abroad and came back home.

I have received bookmarks from Spain, Turkey, Qatar, Dubai, Hawaii, London and New Zealand. Below is a photo of selected bookmarks that make up my collection.


For this week, I will be posting in the blog, my favorite bookmarks and the back story of each. Some bookmarks are still in the books I read. Others are in books that I have not finished reading yet. Many I keep in a container. I still have to find a way to care display and preserve these bookmarks. In the age of e-books and e-readers, the printed bookmarks are fast becoming novelty items with an artistic value of its own.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alternative Class Days: Paper Art/Paper Sculptures Day 1

Earlier today we had the amazing Liza Flores as our workshop facilitator in one of our Alternative Class Days workshops, Paper Art and Paper Sculptures. She gave a short talk on her art, how she got interested with paper as a medium for her art and showed everyone samples of her works. From visual arts to advertising, Liza Flores has grown tremendously as an artist. What she set out to do illustrating books using paper cutouts and paper art has transformed into paper sculptures used in advertising, installation art and set backgrounds for arts and culture shows.

What truly impressed me about Liza Flores is her love for her art. Her work ethic is admirable. One can be talented and skilled at his or her chosen art or profession, but, it is another thing to show a sincere passion to work with others and to share one's knowledge. I hope that her brand of professionalism rubs off on our high school students who, they may admit this or not, are looking for adult role models to look up to and emulate.

I am still on cloud nine as I write this. Our students made wonderful paper art today. Even our teachers joined in the fun and had their creative juices running!

Here is the art project, which Liza demonstrated to our students.

Begin with the basic: a tree

Add leaves. Be brave to use different kinds of paper!

Experiment. Move the paper around until you get it right.

Liza Flores and I collaborated on a children's picture book, Dear Nanay, which was published in 2014 by Lampara. Read her interview in the blog: Filipino Illustrator Interview: Liza Flores

February 25 is World Bookmark Day 2017



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Academic Book Fair 2017 at UP Diliman

First ACADEMIC BOOK FAIR for 2017 to be held at the Univeristy of the Philippines

The first major book fair of the year will be held on March 1-3 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni.  Organized by the Academic Booksellers Association of the Philippines (ABAP), the ACADEMIC BOOK FAIR is titled ENHANCING ACADEMIC ESSENTIALS THROUGH PRINT AND TECHNOLOGY. No less than the Chairman of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) Patricia Licuanan will be the guest speaker during the opening program.

The exhibition highlights the latest titles for school and institutional libraries foremost among which are titles that are needed for the new GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM for Colleges and Universities. The new GE curriculum is meant to prepare students for  workplaces anywhere in the world and for jobs that have yet to be invented.  CHED has emphasized that learning resources , both printed and digital, are a vital tool in the new curriculum and HEIs need to be adequately stocked with these materials. 

Responding to the CHED challenge, the ABAP Academic Book Fair exhibitors also assist professors and librarians in accessing academic journals and highly specialized publications from around the world.  Among the exhibitors are Philippine publishers  C&E Publishing, the UP Press, Ateneo de Manila University Press and Rex Publishing, foreign publisher Cengage Learning Asia, and booksellers CD Books International, F&J de Jesus, Golden books Services, IBC Book Consolidators, Megatexts Philippines, Goodwill Bookstore and Forefront Book Inc.

UP PRESS MARKS 52ND ANNIVERSARY IN ACADEMIC BOOKFAIR

The venerable University of the Philippines press celebrates its 52nd year at the 21st Academic Book Fair to be held on March 1-3, 2017 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni. The fair is organized by the Academic Booksellers Association of the Philippines which provides quality references for libraries and schools.

For its anniversary, UP Press is releasing a number of important titles in the social sciences such as : Patrick F. Campos’s THE END OF NATIONAL CINEMA , which features a new scholarship on Philippine cinema that links classic celluloid cinema to the emergence of digital filmmaking in the 2000s, Musika ng Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, a study of music in history, as history, by scholar Raul C.Navarro, a collection of new fiction in Filipino entitled WAGI SAWI edited by Dean of UP IMC Roland Tolentino and Prof Rommel Rodriguez, and DIVIDE BY TWO  by  professor of Mass Communications Luis Teodoro which studies the distinction between the dominant media (often mistakenly labeled the mainstream) and the alternative media. As an anniversary offer, the press will offer a 20% discount for purchases of their books during the fair.

The ABAP book fair also includes other Philippine publishers Ateneo de Manila University Press, C&E Publishing, EDCA Publishing and Rex Publishing and foreign publisher Cengage Learning Asia. Other ABAP member exhibitors are CD Books International, Claretian Communications Foundation, F&J de Jesus Inc., Golden Book Services,  Fastbooks Educational Supply, IBC Book Consolidators, Linar Educational Materials and Megatexts Philippines Inc, among others.

Books on history and martial law at the 21st Academic Book Fair

The controversial bestseller THE CONJUGAL DICTATORSHIP OF FERDINAND AND IMELDA MARCOS by Primitivo Mijares is being re-issued with annotations by the Ateneo De Manila University press and will be highlighted at the 21st Academic Book  Fair on March 1-3 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman.  Forty years after its first publication, the book, in this revised and annotated edition, reminds Filipinos of their past that remains a present threat. 

This book reports on the imposition of martial law in 1972 and the schemes that built and held its infrastructure. Drawing data from his work as Marcos’s media adviser before his defection in 1975,  Mijares exposes the massive corruption and military abuses under the regime. Also available are other books on history and social sciences such as columnist Randy David's Understanding Philippine Society, Culture and Politics,  UP professor Athena Casambre's The Discipline of Political Science, Life in the Philippines by anthropologist Niels Mulder, among others.



The new Basic Education curriculum emphasizes the teaching of history as crucial to the development of a future generation of responsible, socially aware and law-abiding citizens.  Responding to the this challenge, the ABAP Academic Book Fair exhibitors  assist teachers and librarians in accessing the most current and relevant publications for the HUMSS (humanities and social sciences)  and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) strands of the Senior High School curriculum.  Among the exhibitors are Philippine publishers  C&E Publishing, Ibon Foundation, the UP Press, Ateneo de Manila University Press and Rex Publishing, foreign publisher Cengage Learning Asia, and booksellers CD Books International, F&J de Jesus, Golden Books Services, IBC Book Consolidators, Megatexts Philippines, Goodwill Bookstore and Forefront Book Inc.

The School Library as a Makerspace

The idea of setting up a Makerspace in our library has nagged me since I first encountered the term several years ago. It is easy to set up, that's for sure. But, will it work? Will teachers and students make use of a Makerspace in the library as far as our school library concerned. In terms of principle and context, a Makerspace is not a mushroom that simply grows and the librarian would expect that, "if it is built, they will come".

I want the library Makerspace to target a skill, be it a study/research skill or a life skill, it should be an activity center or a DIY center that would expand students' skills set in research or in problem solving. A library Makerspace, I think, needs to custom made for students to critically think about concepts and issues they are investigating in classes. A library Makerspace, for me, should enrich students' creativity in the sciences and the arts. If these are my thoughts on coming up with a library Makerspace, then, thorough planning and collaboration with teachers must be first established.

That is the first challenge.

A challenge I hope to face and find a solution to bridge and meet one of these days.

Undeterred, I continue on with a few modifications.

For one, the Book Spine Poetry events I have begun in the library falls into a Makerspace category. Sort of. Students make something out of book spines, right? DIY poetry!

The most recent activity I set up that has a touch of a Makerspace in the library is the Destressing Table. During the first semester, when everyone was stressed because of exam week, I put up paper, clay, coloring sheets and other art materials for everyone to use at will. There were books on clay art, coloring books, origami and other craft related books along the art supplies.

The students loved it. And so did some of the faculty.

The FALAKASTALAS Forum 2017 at the Philippine Normal Univeristy

My professor in college, Prof. Ruth Alido, is now the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the Philippine Normal University (PNU). When I received her invitation to be a panelist in the annual Panayam (dubbed as FALAKASTALAS), I said yes. How can I say no to my Alma Mater and to Prof. ALido who introduced me to Nick Joaquin, Paz Marquez Benitez, Estrella Alfon and Ninotchaka Rosca. What made this speaking engagement equally meaningful is that, I gave the little knowledge I know about language learning through library services to students of education majoring in Literature, Language (English and Filipino), Music, Speech and the Arts.

L-R: Sir Joel, Ka Heber, Prof. Alido, Zarah G., Sir Noel and Bebang Siy
I hope that this little knowledge multiplies having interacted with 500 PNU students!

That day of the forum was World Read Aloud Day. So, I began with a read aloud of the book, Library Mouse (Kirk, Scholastic). I had to read the book since the audience choose to. I have a copy of the e-book, but the PNU students prefer seeing a live read aloud session. Another highlight of the morning of the was my tandem telling of Juan and the Rice Pot with Jude, a music education major. I told the story in Filipino. Jude told it in his mother tongue, Cebuano.

It was an enjoyable session and I did learn and gather insights from the rest of the panelists.

Pinoy Zines
Bebang Siy shared, showed and told stories about self publishing and Zines, pamphlet like reading materials of a story or stories produced using a photocopying machine. In this day and age, writing and literature are taking a movement towards mass readership. Think Wattpad, Amazon self publishing platforms and yes, Zines. If librarians pay attention enough on Zines, we can bring our readers closer to resources that will inspire them to create their own stories. Sir Noel Taylo of CCP's Tanghalang Pilipino emphasized the importance of research when creating art with different peoples and communities. Ka Heber Bartolome remains to be a force to reckon with. Here is a man who has seen the rise and fall of leaders and the changing of the guards. His love for country is still very muc evident in his music.

I wish I could have stayed the rest of the day at PNU to visit old haunts, friends and the library. But, work awaited in Binan. So, there is reason for me to go back.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Open for Learning: On PAASCU Visits and Accreditation

The PAASCU Team who was invited at Manresa School
 Last February 6-7, 2017, I was part of the PAASCU accrediting team that was invited by Manresa School to evaluate their self-survey and analysis in the aims of improving their school's academic pursuits and students services. I was there to look into the school's report on their Instructional Media Center, find out the extent of implementation of the previous PAASCU team's recommendations, and discover new things about school librarianship in general as well as specific best features of the school library being accredited.

The Manresa School Library in the grade school unit has an impressive space and physical design of its reading areas and storytelling rooms. The library staff are very welcoming and their commitment to providing the best school library services to students and faculty is evident in their reading campaigns and promotions. The school, in general, has a vibrant student body and a teaching force that is young and eager to learn.

While many see the visit as an ascension of gods and goddesses, we, the accrediting team emphasize in every interview the role we play in the whole exercise. We are colleagues excited to be engaged in the validation of best practices, We are partners in conversations with educators, just like us, who strive to be better at this craft we call teaching. After every PAASCU visit, I always have "take-aways". Here is a link where I write about Insights from a PAASCU Visit in De La Salle Zobel.

This time, I left Manresa School with these questions in my mind: How can school librarians support the reading development of students transitioning from K-3 to middle grades? How can school librarians firm up his and her role in the teaching and learning processes of a school community?

These two questions are not unique from my PAASCU experience in Manresa School. Somewhere, sometime, an answer to these questions can be found. For now, I am keeping tab of these thoughts.

Is your school library "open for learning"?
I have written about my experiences in previous PAASCU accreditations. Working in a big school previously, PAASCU visits are big events, indeed! How everyone in the community prepares for it!  Death by PAASCU is a humorous take on the PAASCU preparations. PAASCU work is not a one year deal. The recommendations to work on are starting points for conversations, reflections and the identification of courses of actions that should not be seen as a way to please PAASCU. But a plan to inform one's self and the school community that it is fulfilling its mission and goals.

I now think of the relevance of PAASCU visits. For one, it is service. We get very little but the joy of learning from one another. Back in 2009, I have received the Fr. James Meany Award for my involvement as accreditor since 2003. I have been called to participate in the evaluation of PAASCU forms and systems. In 2008, the PAASCU office called for a Consultation and Revision of the GS Resurvey Form. We have been using the revised form since then.

In the field of education, a system of assessment and evaluation among peers is a healthy exercise towards a learning community's path to growth and development.

We never stop learning. It is a lifelong process. PAASCU always teaches me that and reminds me that I need to hold my truth lightly in my hands because, wisdom and knowledge do not spring from one source alone.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fruits of IAFOR ACAH & LibrAsia 2015

IAFOR Results: A book I am a part of
Two weeks ago, I received news on the acceptance of a paper I am writing with Darrel Marco and MJ Tumamac. This good news came from the organizers of the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in Kobe, Japan. We are thrilled, of course, but presenting in person in Kobe is giving us a lot of challenge to face. As of writing, we are still trying to figure out ways and means to participate in the IAFOR 2017.

Being in the middle of this challenge made me weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of presenting in the IAFOR ACAH this year. I am pretty much an optimist so I tend to look at the advantages weighing heavily more than the disadvantages. If there is one thing that prevents us from going, it is the cost of airfare and registration to the conference.

For now, I can only look at the happy memories I had in Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto.

It is in the IAFOR in 2015 where I met wonderful people in the company of amazing friends in the LIS profession. Colleagues in the field of international librarianship were all praises on the paper presentations of Team Filipino Librarians. We participated in a Haiku workshop by a Haiku Master. We saw the sights, not as tourist but as travelers, and met old friends and made new ones too. It was my first foray into comparative librarianship thus, meeting and establishing linkages with Dr. Patrick Lo of Tsukuba University and his colleagues.

From the IAFOR ACAH and LibrAsia 2015 forum, we've kept in touch for a research project on different school library practices in the Asia-Pacific region. The product of the research is a book that Dr. Lo hopes to see published this quarter of 2017. If all goes to plan, he will be presenting this research and book in the International Association of School Libraries Annual Conference in Longbeach, California in August 2017.

Sometimes, we look at the money we give out for professional development activities and look for the exact or equal pay back. Food. Conference kits. Number of participants in attendance. All elements that quantify and measure success or learning give us a sense of security or stability. But learning is lifelong and the rewards often take a long time to be felt and to be seen.

Author Interview: Edgar Calabia Samar on Janus Silang the Theater Play

National Children's Book Awards 2016

Congratulations to Edgar Calabia Samar on his success as author of the series, Janus Silang (Adarna House, 2014). He generously shares his thoughts on the series' amazing climb to readership success.

1. Inakala mo bang magiging matagumpay ng ganito kalaki ang Janus Silang? Print, theatre at broadcast media na ang naabot nito. Saan pa patutungo si Janus? Halimbawa, school tour?


Naku, siyempre po, ang nasa isip ko lámang noong isinusulat ko ang Janus Silang ay ang libro, na sana ay mabása ito nang marami. Wala talaga sa isip ko noon na magiging komiks, o dula, o ngayon nga ay teleserye ito. Ang tanging measure ko noon ng success nito ay kapag binasa ito ng mga kaibigan ko mula sa San Pablo, na hindi naman karaniwang nagbabasa ng mga nobela, at kapag nagustuhan nila nang hindi ako binobola lang. Sa palagay ko ay nagtagumpay naman ako roon. Sa ngayon nga, sila pa ang unang-unang nangungulit sa akin kung kailan na lalabas ang Books 3. So ibig pong sabihin, ang extension nito bilang ibang anyo ay malaking-malaking bonus na. Siyempre po, malaking bagay rin na bukod sa popular na pagtanggap ay mayroon din itong critical recognition nang pinarangalan ng National Book Award ang dalawang nobela bilang Best Novel, at gayundin ng National Children's Book Award bilang Best Read for Kids.

2. Bilang manunulat Ng nobela, paano ka naging bahagi sa pagsasadula ng Janus Silang?

Tumatayo po akong consultant nila sa mga pagkakataong may gusto silang gawin na hindi explicit na nasa libro (tulad halimbawa ng pagbibigay ng pangalan sa ibang players ng TALA, tulad ni Lemuel sa play na wala sa nobela). Pero sa kabuuan ang aking pinakamalaking papel sa dula ay bilang fan. Lubos ang pagtitiwala ko sa direktor (si CY) at sa playwright (si Guelan) at siyempre sa pangangasiwa ng artistic director ng Tanghalang Ateneo na si Glenn Mas. Kapag pinapanood ko nga ang dula, ako ang ginagawa nilang fan ng Janus Silang. Hanga ako sa mga aktor at proud sa mga ginawa ng buong production team para mapaganda ang produksiyon.

3. Meron na itong book two at kelan naman ang publication at launching ng book three May malaking pressure ba sayo na mahigitan nito ang mga unang aklat sa serye? Paano mo nama-manage ang pressure, kung meron man?

Ang target sa series ay hanggang limang libro. May outline na ako para sa buong series, at hopefully ay lumabas ang Book 3 ngayong taon. Ang pressure sa akin ay mas personal na pressure ko sa sarili na talagang matapos at mabuo ang series nang maayos, sang-ayon sa vision ko rito at hindi sana mabigo ang fans ng series. Very minimal ang external na pressure kasi halos lahat naman ay very supportive sa tinatakbo ng series. Grabe ang kanilang suporta at lubos-lubos ang pasasalamat ko sa kanila.


Mga links na makakatulong sa pag-unawa sa nobela at sa pagtuturo nito sa klasrum:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WRAD 2017: Reading Aloud Tips and Book Activities


A day after  International Book Giving Day, (IBGD 2017), we campaign for World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) 2017. LitWorld has freebies to drum up and celebrate this literacy event. Go register in their website before the big day, February 16, 2017. Download the free picture book. Have if printed out and let your young reader color the pictures and read the story together. Celebrate books and reading in your community!

Here now are posts on reading aloud, tips and suggestions, book making activities and roles that adults play in literacy and reading development of young children.

1. Make reading aloud as a family affair. My mother read aloud to me. So, when I had kids of my own, I read to them too. As they grow, I feed them books and involve them in choosing books they like to read. My kids and I talk about books too.  Even now that they are teenagers, we still get to talk about books they have read, movies and plays they want to watch and music they enjoy listening to.

2. Model the reading habit. Begin at home. Parents play a big role in modeling the reading habit. Click the link for my ten tips in creating a reading environment at home.

3. Books for kids of varying ages are aplenty! Bookstores and libraries have them. Buy or borrow, just have books within their reach and can be accessible for their reading pleasure. Picture books. Illustrated storybooks. Concept books. Even picture dictionaries are available for kids beginning to read. Folk tales also abound the market and selections in libraries. Feeling unsure about reading them folktales? Here are things to consider in choosing folktales for your young reader.

4. No books accessible to your young reader? Create them! Here is a simple activity to start you off and your young reader in making books!

5. If you are a teacher, a school librarian or an adult working with and for children, tell stories to them! Extend the experience and write stories together. Make books! Build Libraries and Reading Corners!

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Update on Book Project: The Day Max Flew Away

Back in May 2016, I blogged about a new book project I have with Jomike Tejido. I posted photos of his studies in the blog.

And now for the big reveal! Our book The Day Max Flew Away will soon be published by Lampara Books. We hope to launch it by September 2017 in time for the Manila International Book Fair.

Here is a photo I grabbed from Jomike's FB page. See the bird flying over "Nico's" head? Yes, this story is so close to home as it is taken from my children's real life story of owning a pet bird. I named the characters after my kids, so, this is a really special project.

Nico is now 19 years old and Zoe turned 16 last month. They still hold a fascination for animals and a love for birds, cats and dogs.


Here is the cover design of our book. Do visit the blog and my FB page for more updates and book giveaways!


Visit Tejido for more information on Jomike's art and his paintings on banig, a woven mat made of pandan leaves.

International Book Giving Day 2017

Today is Valentine's Day! Today is International Book Giving Day (IBGD)!

Give books! Give love!

As far as I can remember, I have posts in the blog dating as far back as 2013 celebrating International Book Giving Day. Here is a looking back post on past activities I had for International Book Giving Day.

For more information on IBDG 2017, visit the website.  What makes this year's IBDG really cool is the participation of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines in the initiative. The NBDB conducted a book and a library contest over at Facebook. Using social media and the #bookgiving. As of writing, there are winners already so head on over to their FB page and see how successful the campaign has been.

Adarna House, a publishing house in the Philippines partnered with different reading groups and organizations to give away books to children in the different areas of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

For this year's IBGD, I celebrated it four days earlier with friends from the library profession. Last February 10, 2017, Friday, a group of librarians from the south of Manila, headed by officers of the MUNPARLAS Library Association visited the Academy. This is part of their professional development program, but they were joined by librarians from the regions. There were 40 librarians in all! And each went home with a book and a nugget of chocolate.


Other than the sweet and thoughtful gifts, I gave them a brief orientation of the work we do at the Academy: Design Thinking, Conceptual Teaching and Discussion Based Learning, and how the library adopts and supports the teaching and learning framework we have in place as reflected in the services and programs we provide the learning community.

With the help of my library staff and colleagues, our visitors were given a tour of the school. They were impressed at our learning environment, but I feel blessed with their presence too. I realized that where ever librarians are,  we all face the same challenges. In a world that is getting more divisive by the hour, the more we need to appreciate and tolerate the gifts of diversity. We need to see the uniqueness of each one and respect its very nature.



There will always be forces that will divide humanity. But I think, humanity needs librarians all the more to bridge this divide. We can start with book giving.  As a matter of fact, I also received a book from the MUNPARLAS officers as token. Such professional visits and encounters enrich one another.

Not walls. Yes to LIBRARIES!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My 2016 In Retrospect: My Life as A Storyteller

One of the amazing things that happened to me last year was the recognition and appreciation I received from peers in the culture and the arts. Museo Pambata included my work and the advocacy I do on literacy development and reading in the Paglaki Ko Room: Gusto Ko Maging Kuwentista. I owe it to Museo Pambata since they gave me the opportunity to be a storyteller. I started out as a volunteer storyteller in their afternoon storytelling sessions back in the 90s. Padayon!

Here is a bit of history about the building of the Paglaki Ko Room told in blog links:

Letter of Invitation: Paglaki ko, gusto ko maging kuwentista - It was in August 2015 when I got the letter from Museo Pambata. Of course, I was shocked first. Then, elated. The reality that I am old hit me last.

The Ang Paglaki Ko Room in Museo Pambata - The Kuwentista Room is part of the Ang Paglaki Ko Exhibit that showcases the writing, illustrating and telling of stories to children and the young at heart. Visit the room in Museo Pambata! It is an interactive room where kids can actually write, draw, listen and view recorded videos of storytellers. It is so cool!

Kuwentista Room Launching Day - Here's how we celebrated the launching of the Kuwentista Room. All storytellers featured in the exhibit told stories, live!

There was a time when I thought of giving up on telling stories. But, Philip Pullman reminded me that stories and storytelling are the things we need most in the world.
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