Booktalk on Children’s & YA Books: Monday 2013 September 9

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Mariel Vera Go wrote: You could see it in her smile. Lorelie was delighted with her find at a local university bookstore—Maya: Mga Tulang Pambata (Maya: Children’s Poems) by Emilio Mar Antonio. Opening the book revealed black and white ink drawings and verses that followed a fixed rhyming meter. She hoped the book would help her hone her skills as a budding poet. Beaulah pointed out that Lorelie herself writes really well in Filipino, based on the stories she shared in earlier Booktalks. We encouraged Lorelie to try different styles and discover her own voice.

Beaulah then talked about one of her favorites among the latest crop of children’s books by award-winning authors for the book series Gig Seafarers Children’s Stories: Hello, Tatay written by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz and illustrated by Ang InK member Aldy C. Aguirre. Delicate watercolors and child-like sensibilities really set Aldy apart. On each spread he had a surprise for the reader. For example, a tiny blue-roofed house sits beside the boy who is on the phone with his overseas father. As his father talked, the boy’s imagination ran wild through the bright red telephone connecting them. Beaulah also shared the good news that the publisher has agreed to widen the distribution of the series and made it available to the general public on Amazon! What an excellent way to reach out to the world!

I guess I truly piqued the group’s curiosity when I said, “I kept the receipt from Barnes & Noble to show you.” Aside from the usual items purchased, there was a Recommended Reading List attached—from the very helpful (and knowledgeable!) B&N Staffer who helped me pick out some good books for my 8 y/o niece!

2013-09-09 booktalk photo book and receipt v03

I originally wanted to give her Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are but my cousin warned that she might find it too scary. So I asked the staffer for help. I ended up getting Book #1 in this horse set, plus a Ramona book about sisters. I also bought Book #10, the last of the horse set for myself because of its gorgeous charcoal illustrations. I’m hoping if Annie likes the first book and keeps reading, we’ll be able to swap stories and meet halfway! This sparked a discussion on parental discretion in choosing readers for young, impressionable minds. I agreed with Beaulah: reasonable open-mindedness is the way to go.

Before wrapping up, the three of us decided to work on our book club’s entry for the “Skype with Neil Gaiman” contest. A previous Booktalk featured author, JB Gamboa, had generously shared the news. So we were excited to compose our three curious questions about Gaiman’s novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I took out my laptop and we visited the website. The deadline was on October 1, nearly a month away. Plenty of time! We carefully checked the number of characters allowed in the submission box: 150 characters to explain why we wanted to Skype with Neil; 350 characters for the questions themselves. So far, so good! I turned the page to the Official Rules . . . and read, to our dismay: “The Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the United States . . . .” Ah, well. C’est la vie. — Mariel Vera Go is SCBWI Philippines’ Assistant Events and Publicity Coordinator.

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