“The most important thing was that he read everything out loud to us. From the word go, he trusted in our desire to understand… When someone reads aloud, they raise you to the level of the book. They give you reading as a gift.”
Daniel Pennac, The Rights of the Reader
I’ve always been a firm believer of reading aloud. Whether you do it for enjoyment or instructional purposes – people of all ages would enjoy listening to stories. Usually for World Read Aloud Day, I would pay homage to Dr. Seuss because he celebrates his birthday in the same month. But this time, I’ve been inspired to come up with a Pinoy list. All the books featured here (written in English, Filipino or Taglish) were created by Filipino authors! Let’s celebrate World Read Aloud Day – magkwento, makinig at makibahagi!
FOR THE KIDDIES (and young at heart)
Boom Bang Clang and The Great Duck and Crocodile Race
For preschool-early grades children, Robert Magnuson’s books are fun to read. Boom Bang Clang features the feud between Pamilyang Tambol (drums) and Pamilyang Pompyang (cymbals). The kids love to chant the bangs and clangs throughout the story!
Students will enjoy the friendly banter between the two animals in The Great Duck and Crocodile Race. The race keeps them on the edge of their seats as they try to guess how both animals try to beat each other to the finish line!
Magnuson’s books are perfect for reluctant readers. They are highly visual and the artwork is very appealing to young children.
Many kids these days LOVE ghost stories. Jomike Tejido’s Ma-Me-Mi-MUMU! is a must-have for every classroom library. The book features different kinds of monsters from Philippine folklore. Tejido’s drawings, rhymes and use of playful descriptions will delight children with these creepy creatures. (I would love to see this as an interactive app!)
Taho, Taho, Taho… Tahoooeyy!
All Filipinos would know how a taho vendor sounds like. In Renato Vibiesca’s story, the taho, balut and vegetable vendors’ voices come to life. Students will enjoy singing or coming up with new tunes for the vendors. Shouting tahooooo or baluuuuut will never be the same again!
Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki!
Just saying the title is already fun! Rhandee Garlitos tells the tale of a young boy who is coming into terms with his sexuality. Though the book may have its limitations (and I respect the views of some adults), it’s probably one of the first children’s books in the Philippines to tackle the issue of homosexuality and gender.
Adarna Science Series
Gidget Roceles-Jimenez created a wonderful series of science books for young readers. The books talk about electricity, space, and water. What I love about these books is that they used examples from the Philippines.
And yes, you CAN read aloud non-fiction books! Expository texts can be as exciting as narratives.
FOR THE OLDER ONES (no age limits here!)
Storybooks aren’t the only kinds of books to read aloud. Excerpts from chapter books can also be very captivating for many listeners.
I can vividly imagine a roomful of college students laughing out loud when they listen to an excerpt from the story The Day the Sex Bomb Dancers Came. Carljoe Javier’s Geek Tragedies is a fun and entertaining anthology of, well, geeky stories. His six-word stories are very witty and will surely capture the listener’s imagination!
Reading Cyan Abad-Jugo’s Salingkit will make any child of the 80’s feel like it’s Throwback Thursday. This 1986 diary of a Martial Law Baby will turn back time and make you reminisce about Martial Law, Edsa Revolution, new wave music and what it’s like growing up in the middle of a revolution.
Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin
ABNKKBSNPLA Ko? may be Bob Ong’s most famous work, but Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin is definitely my favorite one! Bob Ong’s use of language is not only witty but it hits you right there as a Filipino – not just as a reader, but you as a true blue Pinoy. This book will make you laugh out loud but at the same time make you think as you absorb the irony and sarcasm of his stories.
Looking Back Series
The Looking Back series of Ambeth Ocampo features quirky tidbits about Philippine history. From trivia about Rizal to funny signs around Manila, reading aloud excerpts from his articles can surely jumpstart any history class!
Jun Balde’s 100 Kislap features stories of love, betrayal, revenge, and crime. The term kislap may refer to any of the following: kwentong isang iglap, kwentong ilaw sa lumabong hinagap, kislot ng pangarap. In less than 150 words, Balde’s stories will haunt, entertain and mesmerize you.
The Parvenu, A Love Story
I chanced upon this old book in a 3 for 99 pesos book sale in Intramuros. While there’s nothing really groundbreaking about the story, I enjoyed reading it because of the way it was written. For me, it felt like reading a traditional telenovela in a language that we’ve forgotten. What makes it doubly fun is that it has one of the best rejection letters inside!
So there you have it – I hope more people try to read aloud to their kids, students, teachers, lovers, friends and everyone else! Let’s celebrate WORLD READ ALOUD DAY!
“The reader’s greatest pleasure: the silence after the story has been read.”
-Daniel Pennac, The Rights of the Reader
Check out this site for World Read Aloud Activities: Litworld.org