The Magic Bahag (Loincloth), my first storybook, is the story of Abeong, a little boy from the Kalinga Tribe of the Northern Philippines. Having lived all his life with his friends and relatives in the mountains, he faces the challenges of moving to the city. His saving grace? The magic bahag (loincloth) that has been passed from generations. The story unravels how the loincloth unleashes its powers and how Abeong finds the meaning of true magic.
The Magic Bahag won in the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in the Philippines (2nd Place, Short Story for Children in English). It is illustrated by Benedict Reyna and published by Lampara Books.
In The Missing Blanket, Dayaw and Raniag woke up to the loud voice of their grandmother, who was furious because of a missing blanket. This blanket was special because it was woven by their mother before she died. Set in the mountains of Kalinga, this story tackles the experience of grief and how children are able to find new meanings from the loss of a dearly departed.
The Missing Blanket won the Salanga Prize (honorable mention) awarded by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People in 2015. The illustration was created by Tristan Yuvienco and published by Adarna House.
How do we grieve for people who are emotionally distant from us? This is the central narrative in How Lakan Cried for His Father. Lakan woke up one day to the news that his father has already died. But as far as he knew, he did not have a father. This story explores the great lengths that a child would take in order to understand how to process a kind of loss that does not align with the longings of the heart.
Children tend to compare their worlds with those of others, and this is what happened with Teyang in Tik! Tik! Tikatik! She was happy with the kind of life that she and her mother had. On rainy days, she would enjoy preparing the makeshift dippers that would catch the raindrops inside their small home. But this would change when she saw how big her classmates' house were.
Sayaw ni Dayaw (Dayaw's Dance) is a storybook about Dayaw, the title character who decided to enter the school's event by joining one of the dances. However, she seems to be having difficulty in finding the right dance for her. Witness the many Philippine cultural dances in this storybook, and at the same time, join Dayaw as she searches for the dance that fits her unique characteristics.
Sayaw ni Dayaw is a product of Room to Read's project of creating 20 storybooks for distribution to various communities to promote the love of reading. The illustrations are made by Harry Monzon. The book is published by Anvil Publishing.
Mga Kamatsile ni Ina Binyang (Ina Binyang's Camachile) is an upcoming storybook about siblings who found magic in the camachile fruits that their mother would bring home from Manila. What kind of magics do the seeds bring?
Mga Kamatsile ni Ina Binyang will be published this year by Chikiting Books, with illustrations by Adrian Cruz.
Together with Save the Children Philippines, I wrote four storybooks about oral health as part of their Kids’ SHINE Project. These books are distributed to stakeholders in Antipolo and Rizal. The storybooks are as follows: Mga Ngiti sa Gubat (Smiles in the Forest), illustrated by Iori Espiritu; Ang Batang May Pinakamagandang Ngiti (The Kid with the Most Beautiful Smile), illustrated by Harry Monzon; Ang Batang Ayaw Umuwi (The Child Who Does not Want to Go Home), illustrated by Oliver Arevalo; and May Black Hole sa Ngipin ni Budin (There’s a Black Hole in Budin’s Tooth), illustrated by Nina Martinez.
Gustong Mag-Kini-Kini ni Ahil tells the story of the titular character Ahil who wanted to join the procession of Maharlika women in their community. They perform the kini-kini walk as they travel to the palace for the royal celebration. However, there is one problem: the kini-kini is traditionally performed by women and there's no way that a little boy like Ahil will be allowed to join this majestic performance.
Gustong Mag-Kini-Kini ni Ahil is awarded first place in the maikling kuwentong pambata category of the first ever Normal Awards for Gender-Inclusive Literature, a national competition by the University Center for Gender and Development of Philippine Normal University. The illustrations are made by Hareol Tero.
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