My Favorite Pinoy Children's Books

I'm celebrating National Children's Book Day with a post!

I've always loved working for/with children, so I guess it's only natural that even as an adut, I gather inspiration from children's books. And I don't mean just the popular ones from Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss or Sandra Boyton. The local scene is just overflowing with children's books that have touched me in a special way.

Here are some examples (in no particular order)--some of which are my son's favorites as well:

Ang Unang Baboy sa Langit
Author: Rene Villanueva
Illustrator: Ibarra Crisostomo
How can you resist a tongue-in-cheek story about a pig who sacrificed his life by being the first ever lechon? Complete with a reference to Nora Aunor's blockbuster movie, this story is a hit among, not only children, but also adults.

Alamat ng Ampalaya
Author: Augie Rivera
Illustrator: Kora Albano
My son still doesn't like ampalaya, but he loves this book. Through this imaginative tale, we find out how the bitter gourd got its name--and disposition.

Salamat Po!
Author: Russel Molina
Illustrator: Tokwa Peñaflorida
I'm a sucker for children's books that use words sparingly, and this is one of them. I love the authenticity of the young character's voice, and how the story reads like a prayer.

Gusto ko nang lumaki!
Author: Liwliwa Malabed
Illustrator: Domz Agsaway
My son also loves this book; both the illustrations and story were so wacky! I don't think I'll ever get to read the phrase Barbie na nagiging sitaw in another book in this lifetime.

The Girl in a Box
Author: Dang Bagas
Illustrator: Aldy Aguirre
Somber and musical, the tone of the narrative, coupled with the whimsical drawings, packs a punch. No wonder it was chosen as one of 2014's Best Reads at the National Children's Book Awards.

Papel de Liha
Author: Ompong Remigio
Illustrator: Beth Parrocha-Doctolero
Such a simple story with a lot of heart. I read this for the first time when I was an adult, in a bookstore, from cover to cover. After reading it, I bought it, wanting the words to echo within me.

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