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    bookwatch magazine


Bookwatch Volume 19 No.4




A Roadmap of the Book Industry of the Philippines

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Citizen's Charter




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The 2nd National Childrenís Book Awards Best Reads 2012


The NBDB and the PBBY proudly present the winners of the NCBA 2012: 



Ay Naku!




Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing, Inc.  – Publisher

Reni Roxas – Author

Sergio Bumatay III – Illustrator




The thing that strikes you when you pick up this book is the sparseness of the text and the movement in the illustrations, and you know that it was planned that way. This is a book that pulls it off.


Ay naku. Botbot is a walking disaster, and the single verbs and adjectives that accompany him only accentuate that. He wears his clothes inside out, falls down the stairs, bumps into objects, breaks the fishbowl. He hides under the sofa while his family cleans up after him. Ay naku. Lucky for Botbot, there’s a tolerance we reserve for our bunsos, our youngests, and we always love them anyway.


(Citation by Ma. Elena P. Locsin, one of the judges for the  NCBA 2012.) 


Ang Sampung Bukitkit




LG & M Corporation Publisher 

Eugene Y. Evasco - Author

Ibarra C. Crisostomo - Illustrator



And it doesn’t even matter that you don’t know what a bukitkit is. This book is a friend, a quiet friend that holds your hand and lets you be. There’s a hidden rhythm to the words that flow in the wind that takes the puffballs away. The drawings are executed in colored pencil, so they’re accessible, but they dance, and they shift your perspective in very subtle ways. The layout is loose, and you never get the feeling that you are confined to the pages that you hold in your hand.


This counting book doesn’t condescend. It is playful but never silly. We need more books like this. 


(Citation by Ma. Elena P. Locsin, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.)



Doll Eyes





CANVAS (The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development) - Publisher 

Eline Santos  - Author

Augie Rivera - Translator

Joy Mallari - Illustrator



In the crowded streets of Quiapo, things happen, like thievery, or strange magic. When a street child goes missing, hardly anyone notices. But Ella is lucky to have a loyal friend in Tin, who senses that something is amiss. Tin follows where her heart leads, with nothing but a stranger and a plastic gun to aid her. And then, when most in need, a miracle happens.



Doll Eyes is a thrilling read, a thrilling ride, through the labyrinth that is Quiapo. The illustrations capture the mystique as well as the mess of the place, join together the marvelous with the everyday, and paint eerie portraits of a terrible dollmaker and her terrified and helpless dolls. This gripping horror story confirms our worst fears, withers our hopes, then restores us to the strength of friendship, reassuring us that help is just a prayer away.


(Citation by Celeste Aida Abad-Jugo, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.)



Tall Story









Cacho Publishing House – Publisher

Candy Gourlay – Author

Yasmin S. Ong – Illustrator




The experience of reading Tall Story was as exhausting as climbing a small hill when you’re forty and out of shape. I’m still catching my breath.


Tall Story is the story of a boy with a gigantic identity crisis.  Is his life cursed or is he the destined savior of his town in Montalban?  He is torn between leaving his home and being one with his family in a foreign land. To get home, he will have to escape the wrath of a witch, a prophecy, and the desperate cry of his people. To survive these, Bernardo will have to ask, from which giant could he draw strength from? Could it be from? Bernardo Carpio or Michael Jordan?


Tall Story is the story of a girl who is on a field goal and is about to take the greatest three-point-shot of her life. Without warning, she loses possession. She then moves from being point guard to providing defense to a brother she has not seen in years. As Andi stands for the jump shot, she will need to ask herself, will she pass the ball to Bernardo or will she grab it to make the shot for herself?


Reading Bernardo and Andi’s story forces you to be keen and sensitive reader. You want the story to end well, but how can it? And so you keep on reading no matter what and you pay attention to everything that happens. The plot pushes and surprises at so many different points. And you invest emotionally on characters that you discover you have loved long before the story reaches midway.


(Citation by Victor Villanueva, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.)



The Great Duck and Crocodile Race







OMF Literature, Inc. - Publisher        

Robert Magnuson - Author and Illustrator



Choosing this book was a brave decision on my part. I thought I'd be looked on as a fool picking this book. It was so simple and juvenile - but I loved the book.

Apparently I wasn't the only judge who loved the book. Everyone did. It was a clear unanimous decision to pick "The Great Duck and Crocodile Race" as one of the top children's books of 2011 - 2012. The story is delightful and the illustrations are wonderful. It is everything that will make a child want to fall in love with reading.

Congratulations to Robert Magnuson, author and illustrator, OMF Literature Inc. and the rest of the team who brought this book to reality!


(Citation by Robert Alejandro, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.) 




The Secret is in the Soil






Conquest for Christ Foundation, Inc. - Publisher

Gidget Roceles Jimenez - Author

Flor Gozon Tarriela - Author

Liza Flores - Illustrator




If we ask children today “How can you SAVE our earth, its air and its oceans?” taglines, slogans, quotes easily flow from their mouths. When you ask what YOU DO on a daily basis to save the earth, its air and its oceans, there is a tangible pause in their thinking and paucity in their concrete actions. In leading discussions with children, they seem to know our atmosphere is polluted, our oceans are polluted, and mountains of garbage are clearly visible  – yet there seems to be a disconnect between their personal actions and what they observe in their environment.


Loosely paraphrasing an advertisement, “We do not own the earth, we merely take care of it for the next generation”; or borrowing a Native American proverb, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – we are moved to begin translating the wisdom of these words into actions that involve both adults (hopefully, parents) and children.


In the book, The Secret is in the Soil, there is an excellent mix of the needed science background for the intended age group, tips to initiate AND sustain an action plan, appetizing yet healthful recipes that can be tried even before the garden bears its fruits, appropriately placed photos and well-captioned illustrations. It is easy to imagine a motivated child using this book as a resource for a project he or she wishes to embark on. It is also easy to envision a wholesome family project that will lead to – who knows, an organic farming industry? By focusing on creating healthier and wealthier soil (rich in nutrients and micro-organisms) as the producer of life-giving foods, children will begin to overcome learned responses that dirt is dirty, worms are gross or, sadly, creatures to be halved, mud is not to be stepped on, and garbage will soon stink up and therefore banished immediately from the kitchen.


There is something innate in children that make them intensely curious about living creatures and the outdoors. We believe that this book could be the effective vehicle to develop this curiosity – most naturally. Many successes begin with a germ of a seed. Without a child feeling that they have to solve all the earth’s problems spawned (by adults) through the decades, by starting in one’s own backyard, “The Secret is in the Soil” can inspire anyone who wishes to put teeth into their answer when asked, “What do YOU do to the save the Earth?”


I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn.  ~Author Unknown


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.  ~John Muir


Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values.... God made life simple.  It is man who complicates it.  ~Charles A. Lindbergh, Reader's Digest, July 1972.


(Citation by Ana Maria Rodriguez, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.) 



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