If I didn’t have to work for money, I’d probably run my own little bookstore for kids – similar to Meg Ryan’s character in the movie You’ve Got Mail. Just like her Shop Around the Corner, I’d host different events with authors, illustrators, and even take on the role of the Storybook Lady! My husband knows this and it’s probably the reason why he gave me this chapter book as a gift during my maternity leave.
Si Tito Libro at Ako was originally published in English with the title Book Uncle and Me. It won the Scholastic Asian Book Award in 2011 and was written by Uma Krishnaswami. The local translation was written by Nanoy Rafael and brought to life through the illustrations of JC Galang.
“Tamang libro para sa tamang tao para sa tamang araw. Iyan ang palagi kong sinasabi.”
The story begins as nine-year-old Yasmin zigzags her way down the street and straight to Tito Libro’s library. She’s a certified bookworm and her goal is to read one book each day for the rest of her life. Because she was Tito Libro’s number one customer, imagine her dismay when one day, Tito Libro was sent a notice from the local government. He was being asked to close his little library in the streets! What can a nine-year-old bookworm do to save her library?
Ang punto ng kuwento ay hindi ang wakas. Ang punto ay: ano ang ibig nitong sabihin?
As Yasmin tries to resolve this conflict, she introduces us to the different characters around her colorful neighborhood. What caught me by surprise while reading this book is that it’s more than just a charming story about a little girl saving a library. It’s a story of a little girl who becomes inspired by the meaning behind the stories she’s read – it’s a story of a little girl who realizes she can make a difference and that children can have their own voice in a world run by adults.
Apart from having another Filipino chapter book published, what I like about Si Tito Libro at Ako is that it will help you learn about Indian society and culture. We don’t have many books written in Filipino for young readers that talk about a different country and culture.
I would recommend this book for Filipino classes in the lower – middle grades (depending on the children’s comfort level with Filipino). It’s a fun and short read and it would also be interesting to read the original text in English. Some big themes that you can talk about in class include: the power of stories, elections and political will, family issues, and more.
If you liked Supremo, then this one’s for you!
Si Tito Libro at Ako is available at Adarna House: firstname.lastname@example.org