It's nearing the end of August and I haven't posted a thing to celebrate Buwan ng Wika or language month.  I hate to admit it but I lack a mature appreciation for the Filipino language. Whenever I read Filipino, I admire  the depth of the meaning but the words elude me . I have to make an effort to grasp it all- usually by reading it over and over.

I remember how as a child, I didn't like that I didn't get Filipino the way I got English. So, one summer I read a Filipino children's bible out loud everyday. I'm pretty proud that I finished it. But my reading has pretty much stayed at that level. So now, I collect children's books. Most of them are written in Filipino but have convenient English translations on the side. When unsure, I just check the English version.

I'm glad that find that they've created a Children's Book Award (NCBA). The awards are for the best children's books published in the Philippines (2008-2009). There are no categories and no rankings. Nominated books are evaluated based on text, illustration, book design, and even the materials used in printing and binding are evaluated to find the "best reads" for 9-12 year olds.

So here are the NCBA batch of winners for 2008-2009: 

Tuwing Sabado (Every Saturday)

Written by Russell Molina
Illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III
Lampara, 2009
(In Filipino, with English translations)

The child in this story anticipates every Saturday, as it is the only day he can be with his father. 

Tagu-Taguan (Hide-and-Seek): A Counting Book in Filipino
Written and illustrated by Jomike Tejido
Tahanan, 2009
(In Filipino, with English translations)

As the title suggests, these backyard creatures are not always obvious. 
They are surprising finds when one cares to seek them out

Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub
Written by Russell Molina
Illustrated by Jomike Tejido
Bookmark, 2008
(In English)

The great Dr. Fe del Mundo's passion for her profession is retold from the point of view of a child.

Just Add Dirt
Written by Becky Bravo
Illustrated by Jason Moss
Adarna, 2009
(In English, with Filipino translations)

One morning, Miguel wakes up to find little mung bean seedlings growing out of his ears. 
"That's what you get for not taking a bath," his mother says quite nonchalantly.

Can We Live on Mars?: A Book About Space

Written by Gidget Roceles-Jimenez
Illustrated by Bru
Adarna, 2009
(In English)

Written, illustrated, and designed as a handy collection of facts and activities about the study of space.

Araw sa Palengke (Market Day)
Written by May Tobias-Papa
Illustrated by Isabel Roxas
Adarna, 2008
(In Filipino, with English translations)

The market is hot and noisy, smelly and muddy, but it's also fascinating and colorful, 
because it's seen from a point of view that's only about three feet tall.

Let us celebrate this month of August by buying these great reads.  
You can get them at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked.
Some you can order online directly from Adarna House
Ain't that cool? I love buying books online.