“Among the values connected to reading is the development of cognitive skills and the facility in the use of language in speaking and writing, skills Filipinos need to survive and thrive in the digital and globalized world of outsourced work.”
“Ang tanan nga aklat ay para sa lahat.” (All books are for everyone.)
This slogan is the refrain of a catchy tune composed for National Children’s Book Day (NCBD), which was marked yesterday (July 19) by several government and private organizations with online activities to promote the love of literature, and Filipino literature in particular, among the young.
NCBD is celebrated every third Tuesday of July to commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s retelling of “The Monkey and the Turtle” folktale in the July 1889 issue of Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.
This year, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), in coordination with the Cultural Center of the Philippines-Intertextual Division (CCP-ID), National Book Development Board (NBDB), National Library of the Philippines (NLP), and the Museo Pambata kicked off the activities for the 39th NCBD with the theme “Tahanan ng Katotohanan: Aklatan.”
The theme aims to promote the significance of truth and truth-telling.
Yesterday morning, the PBBY recognized this year’s winners of the PBBY-Alcala and PBBY-Salanga Grand Prizes and the 7th National Children’s Book Awards’ (NCBA) Best Reads and Kids’ Choice Awards. This year, the book A Girl Named Villea was honored with its writer Dulce Maria Derada receiving the PBBY-Salanga Grand Prize and its illustrator Jennelyn Joy Duran the PBBY-Alcala Grand Prize.
In the afternoon, PBBY held an online panel discussion with Supling Sining on “Bringing Children’s Literature to the Communities.”
Meanwhile, the CCP, together with The Independent Publishers Collab Philippines, a community of small press, launched earlier the “Tahanan ng Katotohanan: Aklatan Online Children’s Book Fair” featuring children’s books and other literary works from independent publishers. It runs until July 31 and can be accessed through the official Facebook pages of the CCP, CCP Intertextual Division, and TIPCPH.
The importance of children’s literature
Why am I writing about this?
First, to bring attention to the efforts of people in government and the private sector, the unsung heroes who toil without recognition, prestige, and huge amounts of compensation to bring children’s literature to the forefront of Filipinos’ awareness.
Next, to point out the significance of stories in the development of the minds of children and young people.
Studies have shown that high reading and comprehension skills contribute to an individual’s success.
And in order for children to read, understand, and write well, they have to be exposed early on to written works.
It starts in toddlerhood, with mothers reading aloud to their children in their laps. This practice promotes reading as something pleasurable and exciting.
And naturally, children’s books are the best for reading aloud as they are written with simple words and pictures that grab attention and interest.
In line with this is the need to give children access to literature. We cannot develop a reading culture if all that people have at home is a TV.
I’ve had many students tell me that they come late to reading the classics because “Wala po kaming libro sa bahay.” This despite their shelves being crammed with DVDs of films.
And this unattachment to reading is not for lack of reading material, because many schools and cities have libraries, and there are second-hand bookstores in many areas and online.
It is just that Filipinos in general have not developed a reading habit.
Among the values connected to reading is the development of cognitive skills and the facility in the use of language in speaking and writing, skills Filipinos need to survive and thrive in the digital and globalized world of outsourced work.
Reading also promotes creativity and innovation, appreciation for our own cultures and that of others, helps us develop emotional intelligence and maturity, and nurtures the growth and development of personality and social skills.
In fascist and totalitarian regimes and repressive religions, the first thing they clamp down on is reading because it allows persons access to diverse ideas.
Writing, on the other hand, is linked to freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas. This is why there have been and are book bans and book burnings, and writers and journalists are harassed, punished, or killed.
“Sa pagbasa may pag-asa, di lang aliw ang dala…!”
PBBY announces 2022 NCBA winners
In the NCBA, the winners are unranked, and a maximum of 10 books are awarded.
Among the winners of the 7th NCBA for Best Reads 2020-2021 are: Magtanim ay Di Biro, illustrated by Jamie Bauza; Safe Space: A Kid’s Guide to Data Privacy, by Gigo Alampay; Youthink: Fight Fake News, by Gigo Alampay; Ako ay may Kiki, by Glenda Oris; and Alandal, written by Jay Ignacio, illustrated by Alex Niño, and lettered by Lorraine Marie Barte Nepomuceno.
Some of the winners of NCBA-Kids’ Choice Awards-Chapter Books Category are: I Am the Change in Climate Change, by Alyssa M. Peleo-Alampay, PhD; Anak ng Tinapay, by Jacqueline Franquelli; and Catch a Falling Star (Filipino edition) by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, translated by Chuckberry J. Pascual (both connected with the University of Santo Tomas Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies).
Meanwhile, all of the winners of the NCBA-Kids’ Choice Awards-Picture Books Category were published by Chikiting Books.
For the full lists of winners, visit the PBBY Facebook page (@PBBYPH). *** FB and Twitter: @DrJennyO