About Us

Myra Garces-Bacsal

UNITED ARAB EMIRATESAssociate Professor Myra Garces-Bacsal is a Teacher Educator based in Al Ain, UAE. She currently serves as Assistant Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the College Education at the first and foremost comprehensive national university in the United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she served as a teacher educator for eleven years in Singapore where she was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award and a Long Service Award in 2019, a recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award in 2012 and a Service Commendation Award in 2013. She was also selected by the International Youth Library in Munich as one of their International Fellows in 2016 and 2017. She served as Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content held annually in Singapore from 2011-2019. She has edited five books on Asian children’s literature which are compilations of notable presentations from the Asian Festival Children’s Content, featuring the Philippines, Malaysia, China, India, and Japan.

Pioneers & Contributors


Fats Suela

USA | Fats Suela works as a Circulation Assistant at the Wayne County Public Library (WCPL) and is a member of the Ohio Library Council (OLC). She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in the Philippines. She migrated to the United States in 2007. She lived in California for almost six years where she worked as a cashier, a pharmacy sales associate, and a licensed vocational nurse. She moved to Ohio in 2014, where she developed a fondness for cats.

Fats has been in love with books since she first learned to read. Although no one else in her family shares her passion, they’ve always been supportive of her creative endeavors. Her love for picturebooks, middle-grade fiction, and YA literature has grown since becoming part of the Gathering Books team. 



Iphigene Daradar

PHILIPPINES | Iphigene is a multi-hypenated professional. In the corporate world she is known as a Managing Consultant. In the educational sector as teacher to Senior High School students, a psychologist, counselor and school consultant. Online, she is a writer, an artist, a blogger and web administrator. In the real world she’s a novice in the Third Order of Carmelites. She continues to improve GB’s user experience as she gains more experience in managing it’s backroom.  As a contributor and reviewer for GB she enjoys reading & writing poetry, literary fiction, magical realism, diverselit, philosophy and theology.


Ken Bio 2019Kenneth Quek

SINGAPORE | Kenneth is an itinerant freelance copywriter for one of South East Asia’s leading independent Public Relations agencies. In his previous desk-bound job as the Director of the Singapore Book Council, he was also the Festival Director of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where he drew upon his great love of children’s picturebooks, middle grade and young-adult novels, and graphic novels.

Having grown up on a diet of vocabulary games, Scrabble™, and Boggle™, Kenneth enjoys reading fiction about family drama (isn’t all fiction really about family drama?), fantasy, and science-fiction. Besides tennis biographies and air-crash investigations, he also enjoys non-fiction about mathematics, language, writing, science, and astrophysics.

Kenneth also prefers the Oxford comma.


162661243_892561068207314_4706839119316279695_nAva Patricia Avila

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | Ava Patricia Avila is a gender, development, and security researcher based in Hawaii. In her free time, she volunteers at the Hawaii State Public Library. Ava holds a PhD in Defense and Security but has diverse reading interests that include historical fiction, picturebooks, and literary journalism. In 2020, she created her bookstagram @jeepneylit as a platform to promote Filipino authors at home and throughout the diaspora.


Myka Aaviela Bacsal

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Hi, I’m Myka. I’m 18 and I love watching movies, bingeing on TV shows, making music playlists on Spotify, reading books, and so much more. I intend to help manage GatheringBooks’ social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. I wish to get to know more of you in the coming weeks as I work on the sidelines, hopefully boosting GatheringBooks readership. Follow me on my socials found below:

IG: @xx.ela.xx | Spotify: @mykaaaviela

21 comments on “About Us

  1. Nicely done, Iphigene! 🙂


  2. Hello,

    Please consider reviewing Pot and Spoon A True Tale of Occupy Wall Street. It is available for download at http://potandspoon.com. Ocean State Libraries has requested permission to post it in their catalog.

    The catalog record for POT AND SPOON is up in Ocean State Libraries Catalog at
    and the book is available on RI eZone.

    And it has been featured on Boing Boing

    Find out what happens to Pot and Spoon at Occupy Wall Street
    A true tale from the front lines


    Jerry Goralnick
    Ruthie Rosenfeld


  3. I just read on the team-website of Myra, Fats and Iphigene.:
    “Dr. Bacsal [Myra] has published on socio-affective concerns of gifted learners, family influences in talent development, and experiences of flow among young artists. Her research interests include psychology of artists, Asian folktales, identification of the disadvantaged gifted, experiences of flow among creatives, and biblio-therapy…”
    I like this concept of psychological research very much; I’m happy that I got support from teachers with similar aims: Prof. Ter-Nedden (literature), Dr. Abu-Khalil (social sciences), Dr. Bischof (psychology) – embodied is this decade of creative learning for me by the city of Muenster, where I studied… (I made my diploma with an essay about “literature as a part of philosophical anthropology”)


    • Hi there Frizz. I am glad to hear about your research. I could send you a few of my research publications through email if you wish. 🙂 I just had one recently published about an eminent singer-songwriter friend of mine regarding alternative pathways to talent development. It might be of interest to you as he is also a master at guitar-playing like you.
      Muenster sounds like a very progressive university. Would love to visit the place sometime. I have just submitted a research proposal that hopefully would bring me to Munich. I am keen to visit the Internationale Jugendbibliothek which is situated in a beautiful castle in Munich. 🙂 Hopefully we can finally meet there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • my life started in an orphanage (1945), the first decade was for me the decade of being abused, daily corporal punishment as a Nazi ritual vs. me = “unworthy life” (racist’s term); school teachers helped me to leave the imprisonment – and someone told me to play guitar. Then, at the university, the best support began: literature, psychology, social sciences. I climbed out of my fate by reading and writing. Now, retired, I enjoy to come back to my guitar roots again. Blogging, a self chosen ride on words, photos and music: it seems to be a kind of soothing art therapy …


        • Hi there Frizz, I am glad that blogging is part of your healing. It is wonderful to connect to so many like-minded individuals from all over the world – I continue to be amazed by the power of the Internet. 🙂


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  5. Glad to have discovered this blog!


  6. Good work on your about page. You are geographically so diverse. Makes me wonder how you all came together.


  7. Hello Myra!
    I’m glad to have met you in Brazil last October, when you delivered a great lecture about educational perspectives for the 21st century. Singapore’s outstanding initiatives perfectly exemplify the importance of seeing education as the key for turning the world into a better place.
    Congratulations on building a website full of valuable content! As a passionate reader, I can say Gathering Books has motivated me to analyze the role of literature in today’s world even more deeply.
    I hope that we can keep in touch and share various reading-related experiences, views on education & etc. You are a great inspiration to me!
    Renan Schwingel. (https://www.facebook.com/rgschwingel/)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Myra!
    I am going to publish my first book soon. It is an autobiography focused on the leadership-related projects in which I have participated. The book will be called “Fazendo a Diferença” (“Making a Difference”).
    As I will mention the conference where we met last year, I would like you to write a short text containing your opinion about me and your expectations about the future of Brazilian youth.
    If possible, you can send it to: rgs.schwingel@gmail.com
    Thank you!

    Renan Schwingel.

    Liked by 1 person

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