MANILA, Philippines--If plans did not go awry, this season would have been the nomination period for the National Children’s Book Awards, a collaboration between the National Book Development Board and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People which began last year, for books published in 2008 and 2009. Out of 131 books reviewed by the judges, only six were selected as fine examples and models of Philippine children’s book publishing. These titles represent four publishers: “Araw sa Palengke” (Adarna House) written by May Tobias-Papa and illustrated by Isabel Roxas; “Tuwing Sabado” (Lampara Books) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III; “Can We Live on Mars?” (Adarna House) written by Gidget Roceles-Jimenez and illustrated by Bru; “Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub” (Bookmark) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; “Tagu-Taguan” (Tahanan Books) written and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; and “Just Add Dirt” (Adarna) written by Becky Bravo and illustrated by Jason Moss.
The titles selected were themselves a commentary on the state of Philippine children’s literature. Genres represented are realistic fiction, nonfiction on science, biography and a counting poem. Of this limited crop, two names belong to two books. Read that as Russell Molina and Jomike Tejido being exceptionally talented, which they really are.
The 2nd NCBA would have reviewed all books published in 2010. Unfortunately, the current body of published titles with only about 34 titles does not appear to warrant a yearly competition for now. It was therefore decided that the NCBA be held on alternate years until the publishing situation brightens. Details for the nomination period for the 2012 NCBA will be announced at the National Children’s Book Day ceremonies on the third Tuesday of July.
The happy note is that this revision will coincide with the 150th anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal’s birth and hopefully result in new Rizaliana for the youth. What is also a very welcome development is that two recent children’s books have dared to touch on what would otherwise be dismissed as topics not appropriate or too sensitive for children.