One of the easiest ways to help our children learn and appreciate the Filipino language is by reading well-written and beautifully illustrated books to them on a daily basis. It is easy to do that now as Philippine children’s literature is growing and is being supported by publishers committed to producing world-class work.
Other than just reading for language exposure, however, it is important that we, as parents, ensure that our children also learn about and appreciate our country and our culture.
Start your child’s journey to loving Philippine books with the ten titles below. Make sure to expand his understanding and appreciation by connecting ideas to your immediate environment and by doing related activities as suggested below.
1. Ay, Naku! Author: Reni Roxas Illustrator: Serj Bumatay III Publisher: Tahanan Books, 2010 Language: Filipino Award: Best Children’s Picture Book, 2nd National Children’s Book Awards 2012
“Ay, Naku!” is the perfect first Filipino book to read to young children. Author Reni Roxas tells the story of a day in the life of Botbot in only 65 Filipino words. Those include the traditional Opo and the familiar cry of surprise or exasperation, Ay naku!
The wondrous illustrations depict Filipino family life and culture. Point out the uniquely Filipino toys such as trumpo, sipa, and sungka and try playing some of these games with your child! (Learn more: 10 Summer Toys Only Pinoy Kids from the ’80s can Relate to)
2. Si Putot Author: Mike Bigornia Illustrator: Charles Funk Publisher: Adarna House, 1980 Language: Filipino
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Putot is very embarrassed about his short tail. After talking to a worm, however, he realizes that a tail is still a tail, no matter its length.
The story and illustrations are rich with possible topics that you can discuss with your child. You can talk about being content with what you have and what you look like; it’s never too early to gently discuss sensitive topics with children.
The simple, bold colors make it easy to teach the Filipino words for red, orange, yellow, green, etc. In the book, Putot compares the length of his tail with other animals’; this can be a good introduction to sizes and measurement.
Putot complains that he is all tail and no body and enumerates the body parts that he is missing. This is the perfect time to teach your child the song “Paa, Tuhod, Balikat, Ulo” with corresponding actions.