National Children’s Book Day Blog Tour, Week 1: Favorites

Taking a breather from the whirlwind that is the last week before I leave for my internship (I owe you all a Davao story, I know! Soon soon!) by participating in this year’s National Children’s Book Day Blog Tour! I have never been part of a blog tour before, wow. I’m happily joining this year because I won’t be at the NCBD celebrations in the next weeks, and I figured I can participate and contribute anyhow by writing to promote local children’s lit.

This week’s theme is:

Hulyo 7 – 13: Paboritong Aklat
Ano ang paborito mong aklat pambata at pangkabataan?
(Kailangang isinulat o iginuhit ito ng isang Pilipino. Maaari namang maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)


July 7 – 13: Favorite Book
What is your favorite children’s / young adult book?
(Must be written or illustrated by a Filipino. You can list more than one book.)

Here are some (can one truly include all) favorites, in no particular order.

NBDB-BT-WK1Ang Ambisyosong Istetoskop
story by Luis P. Gatmaitan, MD
illustrations by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero
published by Adarna House

I love the perspective of this book, and how colorfully (both literally and figuratively!) it tells a story about history. How I wish all my history books growing up were written in the same tone and language.


Also, as an illustrator, I can only imagine the challenging time I would probably have if this book assignment came to me. How does one bring to life the story of our national hero Jose Rizal, while also animating an object such as the stethoscope (!!!) ? We should ask Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, one of my personal illustration idols, who did it beautifully.


NBDB-BT-WK1-4 NBDB-BT-WK1-5I really like how the passage of time was illustrated using different suns!



Tight Times
story by Jeanette C. Patindol
illustrations by Sergio T. Bumatay III
published by Adarna House

One of the most heartwarming children’s books I have ever read! Even as a trying to be grown-up, it still makes me feel fuzzy and a tad bit melancholic, and makes a lot of other things in my life seem innocuous. I just read it again right before taking photos for this entry while the monsoon is raging outside, and for a moment everything was really quiet.

Also, I took a personal finance management workshop before and our facilitator used this book as an intro. The many uses of a good children’s book!


Serg cleverly sets the simple but very witty tone of the book with this title page illustration.


The story is sweet and direct-to-the-point, with minimally-colored illustrations that are just as charming. The use of rats as characters in a book about tight times also drives home a very important point, and adds another special layer to the story.



The Little Girl in a Box
story by Felinda V. Bagas
illustrations by Aldy C. Aguirre
published by Adarna House

This next book is a rather poetic one.


But first! May I briefly direct your attention to the special production quality this little book has.


As a book, with the words and the pictures combined, it tells of a little (possibly an orphan) girl’s journey. But viewed separately, they tell different stories, is what I think! I’ve asked the author about what it really means already (for shame, IDEK if it’s even proper to do so but yeap I did it, I asked), and she told of a different tale, still. And you know what, I still don’t know what exactly the story really is about, which is why it’s beautiful and is one of my favorites.


Aldy’s illustrations captures the calm…


…and the darkness, both in such a soft way.

I’ve been a long-time annoying fan of his, and personally I think it’s his best work yet.




written by Ely Buendia
edited by Jessica Zafra
illustrated by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre

Do you know how it feels like when you’re a teenager who likes to draw and who really likes the Eraserheads, and at that exact part of your life, a book that’s an amazing combination of the things you love manifests itself via a gift from a good friend? Well, I sort of do.


Fruitcake is a not-so-Christmas story featuring songs by the Eraserheads, whose main protagonist is named Frannie Wei. And yes it blew my mind. You cannot imagine how happy I was that such a book existed. It’s an adventure-filled book, and I felt that it was my own story, too.


Probably the Eraserheads as themselves!


Song lyrics!


And Frannie Wei, who looks so much like me at the time when I got the book! I shamelessly declare it.

You know what, I also just recently met Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, the illustrator, and with much glee had my book signed. She is the sweetest!



Twisted and all the other books that followed
by Jessica Zafra

Ok so when I was a young adult, I remember reading lots of Madeleine L’Engle, Nancy Drew, and Jessica Zafra. Such contrast, I know.

I’m sure Twisted is not particularly ~young adult~ but boy did I enjoy it, to the point that I was fake cranky, and tried to write like her (I think Jesus has forgiven all of my sins, thank you). But I really enjoyed reading something with a strong point of view, especially at that age. I was fascinated with how much conviction she wrote with, and reading about all the things that were happening in the proverbial real world which you only heard about from adults, and who you probably didn’t really believe were telling the truth anyway.


I turned a page to take a photo of, and out fell this flyer of a rock concert I had attended 10 years ago. 2005, and I was what, 17. I’m sure I had felt invincible, as all teenagers do, and that I had a good time both with the books and at the concert.


A few that I can’t find my actual copies of:

Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa (Russel Molina, Conrad Raquel, Adarna House)
May Trak Na Darating Bukas (Virgilio Almario, Sergio Bumatay III, Adarna House)
Fast Food Fiction (Anvil Publishing)
Daisy Nueve (Anvil Publishing)
The Dwellers (Eliza Victoria, Visprint)


I’m sure this list will be an ever-growing one, not because I’m part of the industry, or that I naturally love books, even. I’ll keep having favorite children’s and YA books because I think I’m still growing up, no matter how old I am, and I know I’ll keep on finding myself in the pages and characters and plot twists of these books over and over again through time.

I’d love to know about your favorite local children’s and YA books! What are yours?


Join the  32nd National Children’s Book Day festivities!
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NCBD Events Poster
poster illustrations by Aaron Asis


3 thoughts on “National Children’s Book Day Blog Tour, Week 1: Favorites”

  1. FRAN!! I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH! :) You’ve mentioned books I enjoyed reading too! I love Nick Joaquin’s Pop Stories for Groovy Children SO SO MUCH. I was blessed to be given the complete set–my mom supported my reading appetite and the quality of the illustrations there–grabe kakaloka. The stories are not that sunshiny too–I remember being disturbed by several stories there but I really really enjoyed reading them as a kid. Too bad we can’t find those copies now huhu.

    I got myself a copy of The Little Girl In a Box. I also don’t quite understand it but it’s a beautiful mystery. :) I also adored Zafra as a teen! I tried to write like her and painstakingly cut her essays from Today newspaper because I couldn’t afford her books at that time. I still have those clippings today. I faked crankiness too lol group huggg

    Excited to read about your Davao adventures. And your future stateside ones! :) Am so happy for you. Have fun and have lots of adventures there! :)



  2. I loved your list! Tight Times is also a personal favorite though not among my top five. I haven’t read the rest in your line-up but I’m definitely going to grab a copy when I come across one.

    Liked by 1 person

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