Audrey Tan-Zubiri, mom to Adriana, 5, and Juanmi, 3 Columnist in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, businesswoman
How she sparked an interest in reading in her kids: Eversince my kids were babies I read to them. I started with those touchy-feely books so that it would be interesting for them. Later on, we moved on to other books. Dr. Seuss was a particular favorite of both my kids because it was easy for them to understand and enjoy. When tey got old enough, I started buying them books that they were really interested in such as princesses for my daughter. We don’t really buy them toys that often; usually we wait for a special occasion like Christmas or a birthday, but they’re allowed to buy books everytime we go out.
My son is only three, and for a while it looked like he really wasn’t interested in books. I followed the same routine I did with Adriana -- I would read to him whatever was appropriate for his age and follow his interests, but nothing. At night, I would read him a story on Cars which is his favorite, but nothing. In the last 6 months though, he suddenly developed an interest in dinosaurs. So I said, let’s buy a dinosaur book, and he just became so interested. So now if someone gives him a dinosaur toy and he can’t figure out what it is, I’d say, okay let’s look in your book. And then later on he would be the one to say, Mama let’s go check my books. It’s not even a story book, but he loves it. He just sits and listens. Now he's suddenly interested in nighttime storytelling, and with different books. He’ll lie down beside me and listen to the story. He understands that he can learn from books.
Click 'View slideshow' to see Audrey's 5 favorite books of all time!
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
I was a really geeky kid. I’m an only child so I had no playmates, and I wasn’t allowed to go to parties either so I had nothing to do but read. A friend lent me this book when I was 13 and I bought all of Fulghum's books. I loved them until my late teens, then I forgot all about them. A year ago, I was out for dinner with my husband (former Senator) Migz, and we saw a 15th anniversary edition in a bookstore. It was like seeing an old friend! I read the essays again which I enjoyed when I was 13, but now it’s from a different perspective, especially Fulghum's experiences related to parenting. I realized, I had gone through so many authors and genres and themes, but it’s still one of my favorite books.
Photo 2 of 5
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
I like the feel of reading the cover and browsing through a book. The title of this book just really caught me, The Happiness Project. I’m not really interested so much in self-help books, but this one was fun and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s nice to always have a reminder on continuing to be happy and always looking for the things to be happy about in life. Sometimes, especially when you're a parent, you get so caught up in all the little things, you kinda forget, and this was a nice reminder. It also has little practical tips, like, cleaning -- apparently, having a lot of clutter around you causes emotional stress.
Photo 3 of 5
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
Adriana saw it as we were shopping for her books and she said, 'Buy this book mama,' and I said, 'No, it’s not for kids.' But she said 'It’s for you, there’s a little boy in front, let’s read it.' So I bought it. It’s a book about a boy’s near-death experience, and it’s a nice reminder on faith, that there’s something bigger out there. When I explained the book to Adriana, I did it in a way that was appropriate for her age. I didn’t really say that the boy died, I just said that he visited heaven. There are parts that mentioned that while he was on the operating table, he felt really scared and then the choirs of angels came, and they sang, and he sat on the lap of Jesus. I told Adriana that when she's scared, she only has to pray and the angels will come to her, and Papa Jesus will be there. It’s such an innocent and beautiful account.
Photo 4 of 5
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
After finishing school, I traveled on my own for a while. I went to Greece with no reservation, backpacking-style. One time I was on a boat to Santorini, and one of the guys there who was also traveling had just finished reading a book. I just also finished mine, so he said, do you want to switch? Mine was a girly-girl book, so he said he can’t trade with that, so I offered to buy him a beer in exchange for this book. It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. One time when Migz and I were in London we met up with him over coffee. It’s a special book because it reminds me of that whole adventure time in my life, and the story itself is so fascinating. I love how they were able to translate it into a movie, which I saw twice.
Photo 6 of 5
Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper
I bought this for the sole reason that I found Anderson Cooper cute, and I did not expect it to be so interesting. Apparently the reason why he goes to cover stories on war is because he felt for the longest time that he had so much hurt inside him. He wanted to find the same amount outside to match what he felt inside to overshadow that pain. It’s very fascinating.