With numerous aboriginal tribes spread over several thousands of the Philippine islands, our country is rich with legends, myths, and folk tales that speak so much about our history and culture.
It is an embarrassment, therefore, Filipino children are more familiar with the tales of the Western world. Mother Goose rhymes are sung and read from the time babies are in the womb, and fairy tales are told and retold in the early years. And why not? These are much more reachable than our own people’s stories that are usually found in uninspiring and outdated anthologies.
With technology and globalization, our children are certainly soaked in Western books and culture. It is our accountability as parents to present to them the wonderful world of Filipino folk tales and start telling them the tales we have heard in our own childhood. Or better yet, we can start learning about our country’s treasure trove of legends, myths, and folk tales together with our children.
Three new children’s books based written by Filipino-American author Christina Newhard was launched on Monday, June 26, 2017 at the Casa Gorordo Museum, Cebu City. Part of her Sari-sari Storybooks, Newhard releases her first offerings in Cebuano (Si Kalipay ug ang Kinagamyang Tiktik / Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik), Ivatan (Si Melo A Mahakay A Umang / Melo and the Umang-Boy), and Chavacano (Si Amina Y El Ciudad de Maga Flores / Amina and the City of Flowers).
The stories were developed during her many trips back to the Philippines and the illustrations by working together with talented illustrators, translators, and authors. The books are designed as teaching tools; each includes a bilingual glossary and discussion/activity questions. The stories teach core Filipino values (community, respect for elders, tolerance) and Philippine subjects (weaving, folklore, migration). Brooklyn-based, Newhard left her graphics design job at Columbia University to pursue this passion-project as homage to her Filipino roots.