Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our 33rd Manila International Book Fair Experience

There were some changes in our plans last weekend but it was still a great weekend for me and the kids.


We still went to the Manila International Book Fair as part of our field trip.  But we went there a day earlier than scheduled because I needed to attend a press conference last Friday.  I called up the Adarna House to check their schedule of activities.  I found out that there was a scheduled storytelling session last Thursday afternoon.  So, off we went -- my two kids and our two househelps.  We went straight to the Adarna House since their blog said that the storytelling session was at 2 PM.  Unfortunately, they seemed to have changed their schedule.  I asked one of the staff if they will still have the activities mentioned in their blog.  She said that they will start with the activities in a while.  Meantime, we checked out their books. 
Yanthy liked looking at the pages of the children's books.  He was so eager to read them but when he sees that they are in Filipino, he would put them down again.  He looked for the books written in English because he can only read English at this time.  He seemed to be overwhelmed by the books with a lot of text also thus the bilingual books didn't attract him much.  After a while of checking out their books, I decided to bring the kids to explore the other booths since the storytelling activity hasn't started yet. 
We checked out ETL's booth which gave us free tickets to the book fair aside from the e-tickets from the Adarna House blog.  Yanthy played with Walter (a battery-operated toy that comes with ETL's set of knowledge books), read some books and played with their magnetic board with letters and numbers.
While Yanthy was having fun at the ETL booth, I requested one of our maids to go back to the Adarna House booth to ask what time they would have the activities so we could go back.  The staff said that they will start when we come back.  We said goodbye to our friends at the ETL booth first and headed to the Adarna House booth for the storytelling activity.
A boy and a girl joined our group as we listened to Kuya Jay tell the story of the town of Alikabok from the storybook When Color Came to Town.  Kuya Jay did a good job in telling the story.  I even learned some new techniques from him as I watched and listened to him.  Even Mateo was paying attention and making sounds as if trying to answer his questions.

There was a facepainting activity after the story.  But Yanthy didn't like his face painted so he asked the artist to paint a frog on his hand instead. 
We then bought the books that Yanthy liked -- The Life of Jesus and Jonah and the Big Fish
I was trying to convince him to choose a story that we don't have at home yet but he really liked the story of Jonah.  Since it's his first time at the book fair and it's his field trip anyway, I gave in to his request. :)  We got a loot bag with some bookmarks, note pads, folder and a whistle as promised in their blog.  It also has a catalogue of their products.  Yanthy was so happy to get a red whistle and he used it right away.  He hanged it around his neck (because it had a string attached to it) and whistled as we went to the next booths.  To discourage him from whistling too much, I told him that he should only use it when he gets separated from us or he gets lost in the fair.  It did not stop him though from whistling quite often.  He was just so happy that his long time wish to have a whistle has been granted and in an unexpected way.
We went to the Scholastic booth too.  I heard that they have a free reading assessment and they will also give a surprise to those who will try.  I've been wanting to have Yanthy's reading skills assessed so I thought that this would be a good time.  I was wrong!  Yanthy was so obsessed with his new toy -- the whistle he got!  He kept whistling even while we were having the reading assessment.  He was so distracted.  The crowds and the many things around the fair distracted him too.  So, to help him focus more on what he needs to read as part of the reading assessment, I told him that he can whistle at the end of each page.  It limited his use of the whistle but it was not enough for him to really focus on what he was reading.  He was in a hurry to answer the questions without much thinking because he wanted to whistle and he heard through the public address that there are robots in the fair.  We got to answer some questions but he still didn't finish it eventually.  We stopped when he said he didn't want to do it anymore.  I was disappointed but I didn't force him when he said he didn't want to continue.  We were about to look for the robot exhibit when one of the staff from Scholastic told us that Yanthy can still get a book even if he didn't finish the assessment.  She said that it's his prize for still trying.  What a wonderful surprise!  Yanthy was asked to choose from a number of books on the shelf.  Below is the book he chose.
We went around more booths in the next hours after having our snack.  We had our picture taken with people in Bible character costumes.  We went to the Heartshaper's booth, which is owned by one of my former employers (Danny Lim).  Danny introduced me to a publisher who is his friend, who gave me some advice.  Yanthy watched a video about Moses while in their booth.  We went to OMF's booth also and Mateo and I won a prize as we were entering their booth.  Incidentally, they were having a bring me game and as we stepped into their booth, the emcees asked that we bring a loved one with us.  It was so funny!  I was wearing Mateo using the Ergobaby carrier then and we were in front of their stage area when the female emcee said that.  I stepped into the stage as soon as I heard it. :) I got a free journal for that.  I also found out that there's an Oh, Mateo! Series of books when the emcees asked for our names.
We inspected more toys, educational materials and plenty of books.  We had so much fun going around that we didn't realize it was almost closing time, 8 PM.  Sadly, Yanthy lost his red whistle while we were at the last booth we visited. 
It was raining last Saturday.  There were even warnings from PAGASA due to the bad weather when we woke up.  We were not able to join the dolphin mural painting anymore at Q.C. Science High School.  We checked out one of the venues we were considering instead for Mateo's first birthday before lunch before heading to SMX.  Mateo and one of our househelps joined me in the free literacy seminar hosted by Adarna House.  Yanthy and our other househelp accompanied my husband to Asian Hospital for his follow up check up.  There were 3 wonderful speakers.  The first was a mother who is a children's book author herself.  The second one was a pediatrician while the third one was a reading expert. 
It was a big blessing that I got to listen to all of them!  I learned a lot from their talks and sharings.  God affirmed my desire and plan to write a children's book/s in the future through the seminar.  The people from Adarna House said they are actually encouraging more authors to write children's books in Filipino especially for young readers.  Their readng program to help the children of poor families inspired me to write a book based on one of my childhood memories as a student.  Moreover, I learned that I can go ahead in teaching Yanthy how to read in Filipino now because he is already good in reading English on his own most of the time.  I was also happy to get loot bags for attending the seminar.  Each loot bag contained a bilingual board book among other things, something that Mateo and Yanthy loved as soon as they saw it.  They were reading the board books while we were on our way back home.  (My husband fetched us from SMX after his check up.)

Our experience at the MIBF ended with a bang.  I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Isagani Cruz's talk Write Your Own Book organized by Central Books.  It was SO INSPIRING!  God spoke to my heart once more and encouraged me even more to write not just one more book but more books.  Thus, I now have THREE (3) book projects in mind.  Other authors who published their books through Central Books' Publish on Demand service shared their experience.  One of them was Rose Fres-Fausto, a mother of three boys and the author of the best selling book Raising Pinoy Boys.  Her sharing moved me and inspired me so much to write about my experiences with my boys as well. 
After the talk, we got our sample copies of ETL books and the toy that goes with it, Walter.  I'll be writing a product review on the books and the toy that goes with the set soon.
It was an amazing and blessings-filled weekend for us, me most especially!  It's just like what one author said before that the universe conspires to give you what you desire and need.  I'm so excited and humbled at the same time to realize that God truly wanted me to do these projects at this time of my life.

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