Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
All About The Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids
Written by: Gidget Roceles Jimenez Illustrated by: Corazon Dandan-Albano
Published by: Tuttle Publishing, 2015
Book sent by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
I am glad to have discovered quite a number of exquisitely-illustrated travel books for children this year (see my posts on Miroslav Sasek’s travel books for children) and now this very recent publication by Tuttle entitled: All about the Philippines.
Judging by the endpapers (yes, you don’t just judge a book by its cover), one can already see how much time, attention, and energies have been poured into the making of this illustrated nonfiction book for children.
While encyclopedias have now been phased out (the internet and Wikipedia have successfully killed off the print versions of thick, leather-bound tomes of information that had been the encyclopedia), I am glad that there are books such as these that share informational tidbits in such an accessible format that successfully engage the young reader.
Facts about the Philippines are also told from the eyes of three young children coming from different regions of the Philippines: Mary Ong who lives in Mandaluyong City – while Mary has Chinese ancestry, her mother is descended from the Ifugao tribe in Northern Luzon; Jaime Lopez who lives in Cebu from the Visayan Islands – his name indicates that his ancestry can be traced back to the Spanish explorers during the 1800s; then there is Ari Abaza who lives in Zamboanga city from the Mindanao islands, whose ancestry dates back to the Arab missionaries who came and stayed in the Philippines more than 700 years ago. Hence, the three major island groups and the beautiful mixture of ethnicities common to Filipinos are ingeniously represented through these three lovely young children.
The book includes a brief snapshot of the Philippine Independence highlighting Andres Bonifacio’s contribution and the KKK movement:
It also provides a comprehensive but also concise explanation of why the Philippines seems to be in the center of the natural disaster maelstrom: from earthquakes to typhoons.
There is also a short and sweet creation myth encapsulated through The Story of the Sleeping Giant…
… and what it is like to grow up in the Visayan region with its fruits and beaches (those dried mangoes with the bagoong made my mouth water).
More importantly, I was very pleased to see a clearer representation and depiction of our Muslim brothers in Mindanao through Ari’s story. When I was growing up, narratives coming from Mindanao are sparse and cursory – most of the Philippine text books at the time were very Manila-centric or Luzon-centered, as if other regions in the Philippines did not even exist.
I also liked the fact that each of the three major island groups were adequately highlighted without exoticizing the details: it was simply a delicious sharing of the varied colourful traditions that make up an ordinary child’s “everyday world.”
The many festivals celebrated around the 7,107 islands of the Philippines were likewise summarized in this spread:
Because true enough: the Filipinos love their fiestas – any excuse for a gathering with family and friends over a delectable spread of dishes.
Those who are into arts and crafts would also have their hands filled with a few suggestions such as these on how to make a parol:
Foodies would also enjoy these simple recipes:
Readers may also want to complement this picturebook with Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore’s Cora Cooks Pancit: