Happy Christmas from Pipisin the Pangolin

Pipisin the Pangolin loves Christmas! Last year he made pangolin baubles to hang on your Christmas tree, this year he has his very own pop-up Christmas card.

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To make your own pop-up pangolin card – click on the picture and download the pdf template. Print it out, colour it in, cut along the solid lines of the pangolin and the plants, and fold the dashed lines. Fold in half and place inside a second piece of paper or card.

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Click on this picture for the template without any words:

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Dugong coloring competition

diwa-coverGet the kids coloring to celebrate the forthcoming publication of Diwa the Dugong!

Simply print out and color one of the pictures of Diwa, share it with us (via my facebook page) or send to the C3 office in Busuanga (C3 Philippines, Inc., Salvacion, Busuanga, Palawan 5317 or send it through LBC Coron: C3 Philippines, Inc., Salavacion, Busuanga, Palawan, PICK-UP LBC Coron).

Don’t forget to tell us the name and age of the child who did the coloring (and your address if you post it). You can enter as many times as you like.

dugong-dollsOur favorite three entries will win a copy of Diwa the Dugong and a dugong doll handmade in Busuanga. We’ll contact the winners and send you the prizes – wherever you are in the Philippines.

Please send your entries in by Wednesday 14 December.

Happy coloring!

Click on the image to download a pdf.

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Diwa the Dugong – coming soon

My brand new picture book will be out in a few weeks. It’s published by Bookmark in the Philippines to raise awareness of dugongs. I’ve been working with Reynante ‘Rey’ Ramilo from Community Centred Conservation (C3); an NGO working on dugong conservation in Busuanga, Palawan in the Philippines.

Dugongs once grazed in their thousands on the seagrass meadows of the Philippines including in Manila Bay. But numbers have declined and Palawan is one of their last strongholds in the country. They still face many hazards including entanglement in fishing nets and in the ropes used to farm seaweed. Rey told me that dugongs have no safe haven at the moment and that C3 are advocating the establishment of a dugong sanctuary.

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Dugongs are also known as sea cows because their diet consists mainly of seagrass. I’ve spent a lot of time planting seagrass to make collages for the book. Diwa’s story is about a dugong whose seagrass meadows are destroyed soil washes into the sea from nearby hillsides that have been cleared of trees.

Diwa must swim away from the place she knows and find somewhere new to live. On her journey she encounters many perils but also receives help from strangers who tell of a place with bountiful seagrasses… a place that would be a prefect sanctuary area for dugongs.

Rey shared with me a legend about dugongs from Busuanga. It’s a bleak and disturbing story but the description of the place inspired my thoughts of a sanctuary area for dugongs:

Once upon a time, there was a poor family that lived in a faraway place on a beach, located at the foot of the mountain, where the forest was wild with the tallest trees, crawling vines and shrubs covering the forest floor. Birds would sing the entire day, and when the day turned to night, the crickets would come out to serenade them.

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Dual langauage in English and Filipino, thanks to Rey for the translation.

Coming out in a few weeks at Bookmark The Filipino Bookstore
For enquiries, email or call at 895-8061 to 65.
marketing@bookmarkthefilipinobookstore.com

The premier of Danao: the live show!

Early in November, children in the mountains for the Ipo Watershed in Norzagaray, Bulacan (north-east of Manila) were treated to animated versions of Danao the Parrot and Mayumi the Forest Pig.

Volunteers from Green is Good, which represents environmental projects of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM), visited the area to plant trees and to raise awareness of the impact of illegal logging, kaingin and charcoal-making.

I was delighted that they chose my stories for their storytelling session and that they had made such fantastic costumes.

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Find out more about the books: Danao the Parrot and Mayumi the Forest Pig

 

“We have books in the Philippines”

“…the problem is people can’t afford to buy them.” These words still echo in my head.

I was three weeks into a month-long tour of the Philippines, hosted by Rotary Clubs. Every day, I visited another Rotary-supported school or community; schools that couldn’t afford books for their libraries and children that couldn’t afford books of their own. These visits left me wanting to do something more constructive to help. 12006363_10204518779362064_5002068080558599493_n

One idea was, once back home in the UK, to ask people to donate books then ship them over to the Philippines. “But you would have to raise money to cover the cost of shipping, if you can raise money why not just use it to buy books here.” the same voice, the same Rotarian was telling me. I knew he was right, the idea wasn’t practical.

I never anticipated that six years later, one of the clubs that hosted me, the Rotary Club of West Bay, would be distributing books to schools; books that are published and printed in the Philippines, and, written by me. I have to hold one of the books in my hands to remind myself that it is real. To believe that I am an author of children’s picture books published in the Philippines; picture books about the animals that are found only in the Philippines.

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I have worked in wildlife conservation in the UK all my adult life but the wildlife in the Philippines never fails to astound and astonish me. Whether it’s wide-eyed tarsiers or wide-mouthed whale sharks, shimmering fireflies or vibrant sunbirds; glimpsing just a little of this wildlife sparked my imagination. It began with my daydream of a parrot dreaming of sailing the seas on a pirate ship. Little does he know, as he sets off on his travelling adventure, that he will discover his true home. Along the way Danao the parrot meets some of the unique animals of the Philippines.

The word unique is often over-used but with thousands of animals that are found nowhere else in the world; the Philippines is unique. These animals, and the children I met visiting the schools, are my inspiration. I never intended to write stories but the animals became characters in my mind and I wrote down their adventures. I never intended the stories to be published but my enthusiastic Filipino friends encouraged me and the lovely people at The Bookmark, Inc. liked the stories and agreed to publish them.

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My daydreams about parrots, pigs and pangolins – species that live only in the Philippines – are now in real books beautifully illustrated by Jonathan Ranola and Ingrid Tan, and, some of my own illustrations.

Perhaps, as you read this, one of the books is being read by a child in a school in Bay in Laguna. Thanks to the Rotarians of the Rotary Club of West Bay, nine elementary schools in Bay have copies of my books ‘Danao’, ‘Mayumi’ and ‘Pipisin’. The elementary schools are: Puypuy, Tranca, Masaya, Sta Cruz, Bitin, Paciano Rizal, Putho Tuntungin, Maahas and Sto Domingo.

The books were purchased with funds from selling the books in the UK to family friends, with donations from the Rotary Club of Lindum, Lincoln (who are also donating books to schools in Lincoln) and with donations from my parents and myself.

Thank you everyone for helping children learn more about the endemic wildlife of the Philippines! And thank to the Philippines, the people and the wildlife, for being my inspiration!

It’s raining books in the Philippines for the 32nd National Children’s Book Day

The Adarna House Blog

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The month of July is dedicated to the promotion and development of children’s books. Every year on the third week of this month, National Children’s Book Day is celebrated. It is also a day in which we commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Dr. Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.

This year, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is having two events to celebrate the 32nd National Children’s Book Day.  On July 21, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in partnership with PBBY is holding a literary summit called “Umuulan ng Libro: Philippine Children’s Book Summit.” On July 25, PBBY is holding a librarians’ workshop called Creative Reading Programs for School Libraries Servicing K-12 Learners” and a Children’s Book Fair at the Rizal Library.

Umuulan ng Libro: Philippine Children’s Book Summit (July 21)

This whole-day…

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