UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Associate 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
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.
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.
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.
Ava 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