Dimples Romana, actress and TV host Wife to Boyet, businessman, and mom to Callie, 11 years old. Two months pregnant with their second child
How did you raise a child who loves to read? When Callie was younger, about 2-4 years old, I read to her every chance I got. Randomly I'd make her choose a book I practically scattered around the house and I would read it to her, then I'd ask her questions and she'd even draw her answers at times.
It was extremely important for us that she grows up loving books because that was how I was raised. We have tons of books at home, and it would be a shame if these books would just stay in the attic and remain unread. Just as much as we've exposed Callie to travelling, so it is with books. We explain to her that reading is a form of exploration and it makes the soul rich and powerful. Until now she prefers buying books than clothes or toys.
Dimples's favorite books
1. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks When I get books, it’s usually not just because I like the book but also because I like the author. In this case, I really like Nicholas Sparks because of The Notebook. It's one classic that I really, really, really like. Besides being very inspiring, this book has an autograph by Nicholas Sparks.
2. For One More Day by Mitch Albom Mitch Albom is known for tackling topics about the afterlife. On a personal level, it gives me hope when I read a Mitch Albom book that 'heaven' could actually exist. Of course I do not know that, I can only say that I believe in it -- but reading his books helps me visualize it and sort of helps me heal. I’ve never really gotten over my sister Pebbles’s passing and my dad’s passing so reading these stories makes me feel hopeful.
3. Love Letters of Great Men and Women by Ursula Doyle This is a compilation of love letters by people from ancient times, including Jane Austen and Anne Boleyn. It’s a delight to read – hindi kasi ako nakaka-receive ng ganyan kay Boyet kasi he’s not that expressive. It shows you how people express love. Can you imagine that these letters were passed on from one person to another before it actually reached the one for whom it’s intended? Can you imagine that magic? It makes you wonder if love has really evolved over the centuries.
4. Warrior of the Light by Paulo Coelho I got this from a second-hand bookstore. It’s the book that was really with me during my darkest moments, when I was really sad about something, or when Boyet and I were going through a rough patch in our marriage. While it’s a very spiritual book, you don’t have to be with any particular religion to appreciate it. It is titled such because it says that we’re all warriors of the light – that there’s always light within us, even in our darkest moments. It’s my most-highlighted, most-flagged book. I’ve lost my copy five times already but I managed to keep this.
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Most of the books I like have something to do with history. I think this one was set during the time of World War I. I’m fascinated by this story because the protagonist -- the girl -- managed to keep a book nung time na lahat ng books ipinapasunog, because she really wanted to educate herself, and it's just touching to read.
6. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. This book helped me understand better not just my daughter, but also my husband. We grew up in very different family environments, so we have different ways of expressing love: his is service, mine is touch, and words. Because my sister was sick (with leukemia), I grew up na ma-‘I love you’ kami, kasi we knew we could lose her anytime. So as newlyweds, it took a while for me to adjust to Boyet’s ways. Eventually, I learned that when I tell him “I love you” and he says “Hmm,” that meant “I love you too”.
7. This is the Child by Terry Pringle When my sister was diagnosed with leukemia, she was five and I was 9 years old. When you’re a child you don’t understand what leukemia is. We used to fight a lot and I was so jealous of her kasi s'ya 'yung may sariling room, she was so pampered, my parents would give her whatever she wanted to eat. My uncle gave me this book to help me understand things. Come to think of it, I haven’t read it again since that time, and although I want to re-read it, I’m having second thoughts because I’m not sure what kind of memories it will bring back. I don’t think I’m ready.
I remember that my mom became very paranoid after Pebbles was diagnosed with leukemia, and I could understand why. One day, puro pasa lang katawan ni Pebbles; the following week, natanggalan sya ng dalawang ngipin and the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Nu'ng dinala sa doktor, leukemia na. That was a very difficult time for us. That’s why when we had our daughter Callie, I was very vigilant whenever she would have bruises. It’s also why it took a long time before we tried for another baby, because I was worried that if I had the same genes as my sister, I might pass it on to my children.
8. Q & A: A Day for Kids by Betsy France This book is supposed to be answered one page daily. Ideally, you use it for several years, and it's nice because you get to see how a child’s thinking evolves, how he or she matures over time.
9. The Tropical House by Elizabeth V. Reyes I bought this book because I wanted to find inspiration for a house that we’re going to build in Tagaytay, and I think this is perfect. But at this point we’re still gathering ideas.
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Click 'View slideshow' to see the covers of Dimples's favorite books!
Photo by Vincent Coscolluela. Hair and makeup by Anne Castano