My Filipino Book Wishlist

The first week of the NCBD 2015 Book Tour asked participants about their favorite Filipino books. Aptly enough, the last week asks about our book wishlist.

Because even grown-ups read ChilFic & YA

Hulyo 20 – 25: Wish List
Anong Pilipinong aklat pambata o pangkabataan ang gusto mong mailimbag? (Maaaring paksa, uri ng aklat, o ng isang manunulat o ilustrador. Maaaring maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)
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July 20-25: Wish List
What Filipino children’s or YA book do you want to see published? (It can be a topic, kind of book, or by a particular writer or illustrator. You can list down more than one.)

Nick Joaquin’s Pop Stories for Groovy Kids
Funny but the top-of-mind books in my wishlist have actually been published in the past. This collection of groovy children’s stories are penned by National Artist for Literature, Nick Joaquin. He has written a lot of wonderful stories, but what’s special about this collection is that it’s written for children.

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Photo credit: Jemps Gallegos Yuvienco

Published in 1979 by the Mr. & Ms. Publishing Company, these large picture books have gorgeous illustrations accompanying the engrossing stories making them a prized addition to any library. Appropriately enough, my only encounter with these books are through my university’s Filipiniana collection because they’ve long been out of print.

I’m not the only person wishing badly for this book. In fact, a lot of people are clamoring for a reprint over on Facebook. If the original works aren’t available anymore, perhaps there are talented enough graphic artists who can restore the artwork from a good print copy. Or if it’s impossible, perhaps new artworks can be commissioned for a new version? This project is perfect for Kickstarter and I’m sure a lot of people would back this up. These stories are just too wonderful to not be enjoyed by younger generations.

Sidenote: If you’re interested in seeing this reprinted, let’s throw our voices along with other like-minded individuals and express our interest by liking this Facebook page. If you want to read more about this series, here’s an article that features the stories. And lastly, here’s a PDF of one of the stories, so you can have a taste of what the collection’s like.

Maximo D. Ramos’s Realms of Myths and Reality
While we’re on the subject of out-of-print books, I’d like to include Maximo D. Ramos‘s books. A teacher, writer, and editor, he wrote a ten-title series called Realms of Myths and Reality. It encapsulates Filipino myths and folklore and makes it accessible to Filipino students, the original intended reader of the series.

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My preciousssssss…

I remember encountering his work when I was a student myself, but the books were long lost. Years later, with my interest in Filipino folklore reignited, my memories about those lost books had me hunting for copies. Unfortunately, they’re mostly out-of-print. It was only earlier this year that I found a lead that there are still a few copies available through the publishers. But while I was able to grab the books I wanted, The Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology, the book that sparked the hunt in the first place, wasn’t available anymore and is to remain my grail.

For the curious, here’s the complete series:

  1. Tales of Long Ago in the Philippines
  2. Philippine Myths, Legends, and Folktales
  3. Legends of Lower Gods
  4. The Creatures of Midnight
  5. The Aswang Complex in Philippine Folklore
  6. Philippine Demonological Legends and their Cultural Bearings
  7. Boyhood in Monsoon Country
  8. Patricia of the Green Hills and Other Stories
  9. Remembrance of Lents Past and Other Essays
  10. The Creatures of Philippine Lower Mythology

My wish for this series is—if it can’t be made widely available again—is for it to be released as an ebook series. These books offer an enlightening peek into Philippine folklore and keeps it alive, an important thing as our culture gets diluted by globalization. Besides, creepy crawlies = fun reads!

More Filipino-themed Boardbooks
I love board books. It allows me to share something I love with my toddler who seems to be growing into quite a reader herself. But while we have our Dr. Seusses and Eric Carles, I can’t stop wishing for more and more Philippine-themed board books. We love Adarna’s board books and just keep gobbling new ones up. Moar, please! Give us moar!

MINE! My daughter’s.

More Filipino-themed YA
Young adult books are among my favorites. Yes, despite my age. I’ve read a large selection covering different topics, but what I’d really love to see is more Filipino YA. They can be in Filipino (Egay Samar’s Janus Silang) or in English (Agay Llanera’s Choco Chip Hips and C.P. Santi’s When Cocoy Became Kikay). I just want to read more Filipino stories depicting Filipino teens doing very Filipino-things. Because we are different. We are diverse. We deserve our own books depicting our own things and our own upbringings.

Umuulan ng Libro! The 32nd National Children’s Books Day was celebrated through two events. The Philippine Children’s Book Summit on July 21 at Elements Centris, EDSA, and the Children’s Book Fair on July 25 at Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University. For more information about any of the above events, please email pbby@adarna.com.ph or visit Philippine Board On Books For Young People Page on Facebook.

One thought on “My Filipino Book Wishlist

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