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September 11, 2012

Winners of the 2nd National Children's Book Awards (NCBA) 2012

The National Book Development Board and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) proudly present the winners of the 2nd National Children's Book Awards (NCBA) 2012. The award given this 2012 is for books published in 2010 and 2011, and is originally envisioned as a yearly event to honor significant children's books which exemplify the marriage of text and art.

The NBDB and PBBY began awarding the NCBA in 2010, in recognition of the best Philippine-published children’s books, including both works of fiction and nonfiction. The 2010 winners were picked out of 131 nominated books published in 2008 and 2009.  Only six titles from four publishers were selected by a board of judges who publicly discussed the merits of the books during the awards ceremony. The competition guidelines stipulate a maximum of ten noteworthy titles for possible citation.

The 2010 NCBA winners were Araw sa Palengke (Adarna House) written by May Tobias-Papa and illustrated by Isabel Roxas; Tuwing Sabado (Lampara Books) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III; Can We Live on Mars? (Adarna House) written by Gidget Roceles-Jimenez and illustrated by Bru; Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub (Bookmark) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; Tagu-Taguan (Tahanan Books) written and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; and Just Add Dirt (Adarna) written by Becky Bravo and illustrated by Jason Moss.  
The 2012 Best Reads winners are the following:

Ay Naku!
Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing, Inc.  – Publisher
Reni Roxas – Author
Sergio Bumatay III – Illustrator
The thing that strikes you when you pick up this book is the sparseness of the text and the movement in the illustrations, and you know that it was planned that way. This is a book that pulls it off. 

Ay naku. Botbot is a walking disaster, and the single verbs and adjectives that accompany him only accentuate that. He wears his clothes inside out, falls down the stairs, bumps into objects, breaks the fishbowl. He hides under the sofa while his family cleans up after him. Ay naku. Lucky for Botbot, there’s a tolerance we reserve for our bunsos, our youngests, and we always love them anyway. (Citation by Ma. Elena P. Locsin, one of the judges for the  NCBA 2012.)  

Ang Sampung Bukitkit
LG & M Corporation Publisher 
Eugene Y. Evasco - Author
Ibarra C. Crisostomo - Illustrator
And it doesn’t even matter that you don’t know what a bukitkit is. This book is a friend, a quiet friend that holds your hand and lets you be. There’s a hidden rhythm to the words that flow in the wind that takes the puffballs away. The drawings are executed in colored pencil, so they’re accessible, but they dance, and they shift your perspective in very subtle ways. The layout is loose, and you never get the feeling that you are confined to the pages that you hold in your hand.  This counting book doesn’t condescend. It is playful but never silly. We need more books like this. (Citation by Ma. Elena P. Locsin, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.) 

Doll Eyes
CANVAS (The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development) - Publisher 
Eline Santos  - Author
Augie Rivera - Translator
Joy Mallari - Illustrator
In the crowded streets of Quiapo, things happen, like thievery, or strange magic. When a street child goes missing, hardly anyone notices. But Ella is lucky to have a loyal friend in Tin, who senses that something is amiss. Tin follows where her heart leads, with nothing but a stranger and a plastic gun to aid her. And then, when most in need, a miracle happens.
Doll Eyes is a thrilling read, a thrilling ride, through the labyrinth that is Quiapo. The illustrations capture the mystique as well as the mess of the place, join together the marvelous with the everyday, and paint eerie portraits of a terrible dollmaker and her terrified and helpless dolls. This gripping horror story confirms our worst fears, withers our hopes, then restores us to the strength of friendship, reassuring us that help is just a prayer away. (Citation by Celeste Aida Abad-Jugo, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.) 

Tall Story
Cacho Publishing House – Publisher
Candy Gourlay – Author
Yasmin S. Ong – Illustrator
The experience of reading Tall Story was as exhausting as climbing a small hill when you’re forty and out of shape. I’m still catching my breath.

Tall Story is the story of a boy with a gigantic identity crisis.  Is his life cursed or is he the destined savior of his town in Montalban?  He is torn between leaving his home and being one with his family in a foreign land. To get home, he will have to escape the wrath of a witch, a prophecy, and the desperate cry of his people. To survive these, Bernardo will have to ask, from which giant could he draw strength from? Could it be from? Bernardo Carpio or Michael Jordan?

Tall Story is the story of a girl who is on a field goal and is about to take the greatest three-point-shot of her life. Without warning, she loses possession. She then moves from being point guard to providing defense to a brother she has not seen in years. As Andi stands for the jump shot, she will need to ask herself, will she pass the ball to Bernardo or will she grab it to make the shot for herself? Reading Bernardo and Andi’s story forces you to be keen and sensitive reader. You want the story to end well, but how can it? And so you keep on reading no matter what and you pay attention to everything that happens. The plot pushes and surprises at so many different points. And you invest emotionally on characters that you discover you have loved long before the story reaches midway. (Citation by Victor Villanueva, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.)
The Great Duck and Crocodile Race
OMF Literature, Inc. - Publisher        
Robert Magnuson - Author and Illustrator
Choosing this book was a brave decision on my part. I thought I'd be looked on as a fool picking this book. It was so simple and juvenile - but I loved the book.
Apparently I wasn't the only judge who loved the book. Everyone did. It was a clear unanimous decision to pick "The Great Duck and Crocodile Race" as one of the top children's books of 2011 - 2012. The story is delightful and the illustrations are wonderful. It is everything that will make a child want to fall in love with reading.

Congratulations to Robert Magnuson, author and illustrator, OMF Literature Inc. and the rest of the team who brought this book to reality! (Citation by Robert Alejandro, one of the judges for the NCBA 2012.) 
 The Secret is in the Soil
Conquest for Christ Foundation, Inc. - Publisher
Gidget Roceles Jimenez - Author
Flor Gozon Tarriela - Author
Liza Flores - Illustrator
If we ask children today “How can you SAVE our earth, its air and its oceans?” taglines, slogans, quotes easily flow from their mouths. When you ask what YOU DO on a daily basis to save the earth, its air and its oceans, there is a tangible pause in their thinking and paucity in their concrete actions. In leading discussions with children, they seem to know our atmosphere is polluted, our oceans are polluted, and mountains of garbage are clearly visible  – yet there seems to be a disconnect between their personal actions and what they observe in their environment. 
Loosely paraphrasing an advertisement, “We do not own the earth, we merely take care of it for the next generation”; or borrowing a Native American proverb, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – we are moved to begin translating the wisdom of these words into actions that involve both adults (hopefully, parents) and children.
In the book, The Secret is in the Soil, there is an excellent mix of the needed science background for the intended age group, tips to initiate AND sustain an action plan, appetizing yet healthful recipes that can be tried even before the garden bears its fruits, appropriately placed photos and well-captioned illustrations. It is easy to imagine a motivated child using this book as a resource for a project he or she wishes to embark on. It is also easy to envision a wholesome family project that will lead to – who knows, an organic farming industry? By focusing on creating healthier and wealthier soil (rich in nutrients and micro-organisms) as the producer of life-giving foods, children will begin to overcome learned responses that dirt is dirty, worms are gross or, sadly, creatures to be halved, mud is not to be stepped on, and garbage will soon stink up and therefore banished immediately from the kitchen. 
There is something innate in children that make them intensely curious about living creatures and the outdoors. We believe that this book could be the effective vehicle to develop this curiosity – most naturally. Many successes begin with a germ of a seed. Without a child feeling that they have to solve all the earth’s problems spawned (by adults) through the decades, by starting in one’s own backyard, “The Secret is in the Soil” can inspire anyone who wishes to put teeth into their answer when asked, “What do YOU do to the save the Earth?”
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