Monday, January 23, 2017

Filipino Librarians in Media (TV, Internet and Films) Part 3 of 3

To contnue, this is part 3 of the Filipino Librarian in Media series. Part 1 is here, where it all began. Part 2 is where I replied to her query on research on the perception of Filipinos on librarians
Portrayals of Librarians in Filipino TV and Media 

The stereotype of how boring librarians are prevents representation, good or not, in TV and Media. I mean, who would be interested to know the life of a librarian? 
But, we do lead interesting lives! 
Prof. Igor Cabbab is a revered yoyo master. Mary Ann Jimenez-Salvador, married to the musician and avantgarde artist Lirio Salvador, is an art museum owner in Cavite. Melchor Cichon is a librarian and poet who writes in his mother tongue. But no one looks at them closely. Maybe, because, librarians, especially the work we do is concerned with culture, art, setting up knowledge systems and tech infrastructures, and community development. Who would be interested to put all those things on mainstream TV? 

In this day and age of ALDUB; where a politician gets votes, and wins (!) because of a long time running afternoon TV; and formulaic telenovelas, who would chose to watch a show for geeks and nerds? I find myself stereotyping others. But, aren't librarians part of this community of geeks and nerds? 

Thinking, creativity, critical thinking. Nobody wants them on national mainstream TV.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Teaching Resources and Readers' Guide: Rebel Of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (Viking, 2016) is one of the books that Zoe and I read last year that really got us so excited that we can't wait for the next book. The good news is, Traitor to the Throne, the second book in the series will be out in March 2017. I have placed my advance order on Amazon!

While I wait for its release and launching, here are resources for readers, young and old, that may help bridge the long wait for book 2. The curated list of links may also serve as teaching resources for upper middle grades to high school levels. May these materials be of assistance to book discussion groups, school librarians, teachers and parents who are developing units for the classroom or in a homeschooling learning environment.

Book Reviews

The Guradian: Linda Buckley-Archer's Review
My Review of Rebel of the Sands This has spoilers, so think before you click.
Kirkus Review of Rebel of the Sands
Nice Gearls Read Books: Review of Rebel of the Sands

Recommended Writing Activity

After reading the book, ask the reader to write his or her own thoughts and feelings about it. The write up doesn't need to be a long  book report or review. Start simply with two questions: what you liked and what you didn't like about the book. If these questions are too broad, make a handout that identifies the character, plot, theme, setting, problem and solution. Have the reader fill this out. Save this up in a journal. This can be used as a guide for the reader during book talks or book discussion sessions.

Building and Developing Context

Check these links out for context building. These short readings, infographics and images may help in comprehension before reading, during reading and after reading the book.

The world building in Rebel of the Sands is akin to that of Middle Eastern geography and history. Review maps, a sultanate's hierarchy and middle eastern mythology.

Middle East Geography 
Middle East and Islamic Photographs
Infographic: Sultanate of Oman
Arabian Mythology: Jinn
Mythology of Rebel of the Sands

Themes: Freedom and Revolutions

Two themes that Zoe and I talked about after reading the book were freedom and revolution. Amani wishes to be free from her uncle's cruelty while Jin dreams of sailing away from the desert and turn his back on the revolution. And so we asked ourselves:

What does it mean to be free? Are revolutions worth dying for? To what extent is a revolution relevant, personally and collectively? When do you fight and defend the self and the motherland?

Where we found some answers, but reading them prompted us to ask for more questions.

The Philosophy of Freedom Groundwork for the reader to explore ideas on freedom and its many aspects and consqeuences.
History Today: Waves of Revolution A historical perspective that leads the reader to see patterns and cycles in humanity's social struggles to be free and its quest for power.
Inside Revolution: Why do revolutions happen? This is my favorite, so far, because this was made by a grade 10 student as a Personal Project. Being a school project, the author notes his references and provides a background on his interest about the Syrian crisis. Revolutions, real or fictionalized, have an impact in the lives of young people.
BBC News looks at Freedom's many forms and manifestations  an interesting video that can spark deeper and more comprehensive discussions on freedom.

Suggested activities to expand and extend the experience of the themes freedom and revolution

* Poetry - write poems that celebrate freedom or lament the lack of it
* Picture Collage or Photo Exhibit - create a collage or a photo exhibit on the effects and consequences of revolutions
* Music and movement - stage concerts where kids can sing or dance to express one's freedom; watch a play or musical that touches on these themes
* Curate articles and commentary discussing current events that affect our freedom
* Long term writing project: Choose a revolution that happened in the Philippines and investigate its success or failure.

Recommended Readings 

A Tale of Two Cities / by Dickens, Charles   New York : Pocket Books, 2004

Kangkong 1896 / by Alabado, Ceres S.C.   Quezon City Philippines : New Day Publisher, 2006

Doctor Zhivago / by Ponti, Carlo,|d1912-2007   Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, 2010

The astonishing life of Octavian Nothing, traitor to the nation : The Pox Party, Volume 1 / by Anderson, M. T.   Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, c2006-2008

In the shadow of the banyan / by Ratner, Vaddey.   New York : Simon & Schuster, 2012  

Animal farm / by Orwell, George,   New York : A Signet Classic, 1996 

All woman and springtime : To survive the journey to freedom, all they have is each other / by Jones, B.W.   London : Phoenix, 2013 

The silver dream / by Gaiman, Neil.   New York, NY : Harper Teen, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2013 

Anthem / by Rand, Ayn.   New York : Dutton, 2005

All woman and springtime : To survive the journey to freedom, all they have is each other / by Jones, B.W.   London : Phoenix, 2013  


Tales from EDSA : Stories of the Revolution / by Cruz, Neni Sta. Romana   Pasig Philippines : Anvil Publishing Inc, 2009

Silent Spring : The classic that launched the environmental movement / by Carson, Rachel   Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2002, c1962   

How Apple Inc. changed the world : Revolutionary Companies / by O Grady, Jason D.   Fort Mumbai India : Jaico Publishing House, 2010

The Evils of Revolution : What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? / by Burke, Edmund   London : Penguin Books, 2008

The Great Political Theories, from French revolution to modern times : from French revolution to modern times   New York USA : Harperperennial Modernclassics, 2008   

Air power : the men, machines, and ideas that revolutionized war, from Kitty Hawk to Iraq / by Budiansky, Stephen.   New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2005

Inside WikiLeaks : my time with Julian Assange at the world`s most dangerous website / by Domscheit-Berg, Daniel.   New York : Crown, c2011

Escape from camp 14 : one man`s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West / by Harden, Blaine.   New York : Penguin Books, 2013, c2012
Long walk to freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. : the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. / by Mandela, Nelson,   Boston : Back Bay Books, 2008 

Freedom from fear / by Kennedy, David M.   New York : Oxford University Press, c2005  

Filipino Librarians in Media (TV, Internet and Films) Part 2 of 3

My answer to Ms. Joscon Singh's inquiry on the perception of Filipinos on Filipino Librarians:

On the librarian stereotype and the perceptions of Filipinos about them

I do not know of any survey or research about how Filipinos see librarians. But, there have been movies in the past that type cast librarians as the boring, conservative and old fashioned "manangs" in the academe. Two movies come to mind. In My Life (Star Cinema, Floy Quintos) where Vilma Santos portrays the masungit and boring librarian. I think I wrote a review of the movie in my blog. Let me go back to it and I will send you the link. Are you still interested? The other movie is Radio Romance (Star Movies, circa 90s) where Jelli de Belen played a bespectacled librarian in search of love. Yes, she found it in the arms of Paolo Abrera.

Sadly, I do not follow local TV so I have nothing to tell you about this. There are Filipino Librarians who've appeared on TV as themselves. Dr. Von Totanes who is in Japan right now for a research grant, a librarian from UST who joined a game show (Von would know as he wrote about her in his blog The Filipino Librarian), Hon. Lourdes David of the Board for Librarians, former PLAI Presidnet Elvira Lapus and yours truly. 
Von joined a game show back in 2009, Game Ka Na Ba as hosted by Kris Aquino. He blogged about this too. Mrs. David, Ms. Lapus and myself have been interviewed on UNTV about our work and the National Book and Library Services Month (Ms. Lapus). UNTV has a YouTube Channel, which you can view. 
I have posted in my blog my interview in UNTV. Other than being a librarian, I talked about my books and the advocacy I pursue in that segment. I also appear regularly as a panelist of Ang Pinaka, a pop culture show over at GMA News. Last year, I have done two episodes: one is about the Top 10 Words of 2016 and one about Pinoy Words that Made it to the Oxford Dictionary. Like UNTV, they have a YouTube channel and a page on Facebook.

I don't know if this information is helpful to your research, but this is first hand, personal information. I think it still needs verification. As for impact or effect, I do not know how to measure our TV appearances or media exposure. I do get followers in my social media accounts and somehow, they keep me inspired to continue blogging, writing and being seen on social media. The responsibility to put a good face, one that is credible and integral to the status and growth of Filipino librarians today rests heavily on my shoulders.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Back-to-Back Winner for 2017 PBBY-Salanga Prize

The official press release reads:

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People declared Genaro Gojo Cruz as the grand prize winner of the 2017 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Gojo Cruz bagged the Salanga prize with his story Dalawa Kami ni Lola, a story about a child and his grandmother.

This is Gojo Cruz’s second grand prize win. Gojo Cruz, a children’s book author and professor, won the grand prize last year. For his win, Gojo Cruz will receive 25,000 pesos and a medal.

Gojo Cruz’s story, Pamilya Papel was also declared honorable mention alongside Imelda Estrella’s story, May Lihim ang Dagat.

Winners will be awarded during the celebration of the National Children’s Book Day on July 18, 2017.

For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail
Congratulations to Mr. Genaro Gojo Cruz and Ms. Imelda Estrella!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Filipino Librarians in Media (TV, Internet and Films)

I received this inquiry from Joan Jocson-Singh, Head of Technical Services of the Leonard Lief Library of Lehman College, New York.

I'm looking to see if Librarians in Media (TV, Internet, Film or Art) affect how Filipinos see Librarians in the Philippines. Do you know if any surveys have been done in the Philippines like this about perception? Or if there are prominant TV shows that feature Librarians in the Philippines?
If there has not been many TV portrayals or illustrations of Filipinos, might you be able to answer why that is?
I am throwing this out there for readers of the blog to help Ms. Jocson-Singh. I will blog my reply in a few days.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Authors of the Month: John Couret and Dianne de Las Casas

This January, the blog is featuring not just one author, but two! Here is my interview with John Couret and Dianne de Las Casas on their new book, Captain Deadeye: The Bully Shark. 

Why use a pirate as John's alter ego to cope with and combat bullying issues? Aren't pirates bullies in the first place?

John: John becomes a pirate because, in his imagination, a pirate is a person that no one can bully.  As a victim of bullying in the real world, John has no control. When he becomes captain of his own ship, he is able to control the direction in which he wishes to go.

The cool thing about a children's book is that you can create your own reality. Our pirate solves his conflicts without violence. Captain Deadeye uses creative means to stand up to bullying.

Dianne: As a child, John Couret was bullied because of his lazy eyes and called "Deadeye John." When John and I discussed writing an anti-bully book, his life experience of being bullied became the inspiration for the title character. I thought that "Deadeye" sounded like a pirate name and John came up with "Captain" so "Captain Deadeye" was born! During the course of our research, we also discovered that a "Deadeye" was a part of a ship! It was a sign!

Captain Deadeye becomes Master of the Seven Seas. In our anti-bullying program, we teach kids to become masters of the 7 C's to stand up to bullying. They are: Courage, Compassion, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Community, Choices, and Change.
We actually drew the concept of the book on a napkin in a bookstore! Anchors away!

For Dianne: What makes Captain Deadeye  different from the other characters you have created?

Captain Deadeye: The Bully Shark is my first chapter book. My other children's books are picture books and most of them are folktale remixes. Captain Deadeye is a character that John and I believe is bigger than both of us. We believe so wholeheartedly in our anti-bullying initiative, "Stop Bullying! Be a Lifesaver!" We know Captain Deadeye has the power to make a huge splash in the world!

For John: How much of John Couret is in John/Captain Deadeye?

While Deadeye John/Captain Deadeye is a fictional character, there is a lot of my truth in him. As a kid many years ago in Brooklyn, New York, I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I was constantly picked on and teased because of my lazy eyes. The feelings that Deadeye John experiences when he is bullied in the book closely mirrors my own experience as a victim of bullying. While back in the day I didn't particularly dream of being a pirate, I did wish to be bigger and stronger so that my bullies would leave me alone.

What is it like working with John/Dianne? Use pirate language or metaphor to describe the experience of working with John/Dianne.

John: Working with Dianne is a jolly good time. Although we don't always see "eye to eye" (pun tended), we know that if dig deep enough, we ARRR sure to find the buried treasure.

Dianne: Ahoy there! Working with John is an adventure on the high seas. It can be challenging to have two captains steering the writing ship, but we both know that if we stay the course, we are always where we need to be and that the gold is just on the horizon!

Give us a short description or teaser on the learning activities included in the book. Why would schools and families invest in Captain Deadeye?

On our website, we provide cross-curricular activities, a character education guide, book activities, a nautical and pirate glossary, and so much more. Bullying is an issue that does not discriminate. It can be found in every continent on the seven seas. Our mission is to change the world and create Lifesavers, one child at a time.

So, what is next for John Couret / Dianne de Las Casas?

Dianne: We are working on Book 2 of the series: Captain Deadeye: The Killer Whale. In the next book, Deadeye John's best friend, Dee Dee, gets bullied because of her burn scars. Her character is based on my experiences of being bullied because of third degree burns covering a large portion of my body. Dee Dee becomes "Scarlet," a fierce female pirate. 

We are on a Barnes & Noble book tour and have lots of school visits and events coming up. We ARRR excited for the future of Captain Deadeye! We hope that everyone will set sail with us and pledge to Stop Bullying and Be a Lifesaver!

John Couret is the president of Write Hook Media, author of the self help and inspirational book, Breaking Barriers: Live Life as a Champion, and motivational speaker. The sparkling Dianne de Las Casas is vice-president of Write Hook Media, author, international storyteller and poet laureate of the International Reading Association. Together, John and Dianne aim to make this world a better place through their art and advocacy, Stop Bullying and Be a Life Saver!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Library Bulletin Board: The IB Learner Profile and Recommended Books

Because we want to hit two birds with one stone, we combined the IB Learner Profile with book recommendations as our library bulletin board for this semester.

The IB Learner Profile are the core values of all IB authorized school world wide. These values are the qualities that IB School communities aspire to be. IB Learners (including teachers and staff) strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective.

Using the IB Learner Profile as theme for the bulletin board, we're able to remind ourselves of these values and our aspirations. Our context, being a Filipino school, the Beacon Academy is then rooted in the Filipino culture with a vision of a global and international education.

The IB Learner Profile permeates all aspect of the school, academics, school life, teaching and staff professional development as well as in its alumni and parent relations.

To further build on the development of these aspirations, us, in the library, thought of setting up the bulletin board into a reading recommendation services that has the IB Learner Profile as its anchors. The photo of our bulletin board, as shown above, has the ten IB Learner Profile and book covers of selected books that touch on each profile. We will regularly change the book covers, enjoining students, teachers and faculty to contribute.

A reading community learns. A learning community reads!

Friday, January 13, 2017

From Circulation Reports to Reading Guidance for Grade 9 -12

Towards the end of the 1st semester, my library staff and I looked over the circulation reports of our high school students. The numbers reveal a lot about our relationship with them. There are peaks and valleys on book readership from the last four months and this led us to reflect on the daily operations and readers services we provide for our students.

Studying circulation reports on a regular basis is helpful in the assessment of the library collection, reviewing the program and setting directions vis-a-vis curricular requirements and readers' needs or interest. I am reserving my reflections for another post on that matter. How readership affects and impacts collection development is for a separate discussion.

For now, let me share with you our response to sustain the readership and the habit of reading among our students.

I wrote each of them a letter. A generic one that has a record of the books they have borrowed, how far they have gone with their book quota and suggestions on how the library and its resources can further help them learn and grow. Below are my tips and recommendations:

  • Extend your understanding of an author’s life or milieu by reading primary sources like diaries, memoirs, journals, biographies;
  • Understand the context of a group of people in a particular time in history by reading personal stories, looking at a collection of photographs, browsing through timelines of world history books;
  • Test the veracity of a hypothesis by reading secondary sources like researches and studies done by scientists, mathematicians and experts in the field of the social sciences;
  • Look at models, patterns and processes of creation by analyzing case studies, business success stories, how-to-design handbooks, DIY manuals, craft books, art and architecture books;
  • Read up on stories about college life, college admission tips, sample essays written by seniors who successfully got in their college of choice.
  • Pick up a book on improving writing and research skills or being better at communication for business and social entreprenuership;
  • A couple of contemporary fiction, select classics and a book of poetry or two will balance your reading list.

Students who are regular library users responded back right away. The usual suspects borrowed books over the holidays. It remains a challenge for us to entice and offer readers services to the reluctant ones and those who prefer to use another kind or mode of technology. 
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