Bookstore to release bilingual picture books in local dialects

Jun. 11, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Bookstore Sari-Sari Storybooks announces the launching children’s books that will promote language renewal as it is set to release into the market picture books written in local dialect.

In a press statement, Sari-Sari Storybooks said the picture books are written in Cebuano, Chavacano and Ivatan dialects.

The launching is set on June 23, Friday, from 6-8 p.m. at the Morning Light Art Gallery here.

Three picture books will be featured during the launching – the “Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik” (Cebuano), “Amina and the City of Flowers” (Chavacano), and “Melo the Umang-Boy” (Ivatan).

The bookstore said Meranaw author Hanna Usman will also share a preview of her story, “Jalal and the Lake,” during the launching.

“Jalal and the Lake,” a Meranaw tale, will be the 5th book in the Sari-Sari Storybooks series.

Ten percent of the book sales during the launching will be donated to an organization involved in providing relief assistance to the thousands of affected families in Marawi.

“Sari-Sari Storybooks revitalizes Philippine languages by creating beautiful, bilingual picture books for ages 5–8. Each book is in one Philippine language, as well as English. The first three stories are Cebuano, Chavacano, and Ivatan. Waray, Meranaw, and Ayta stories are also in production and will release over the next two years. The books are designed as teaching tools—each includes a bilingual glossary and discussion/activity questions. The stories teach core Filipino values (community, respect for elders, tolerance) and Philippine subjects (weaving, folklore, migration),” the statement said.

Filipina-American Christina Newhard, a graphic designer based in Brooklyn conceptualized and wrote the picture books.

Driven by her concepts on language renewal, Sari-Sari Storybooks said Newhard left her job at the Columbia University and explored into publishing Filipino picture books written in local dialects.

“Christina was born in Manila. She inherited her love of reading and literature from her mother, Zenaida Buhain (a journalism major at the University of Santo Tomas). Christina lived in Manila until age 10, when her family moved to the United States, but the Philippines has always pulled her back. As a backpacking young Fil-Am adult, the diverse creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Philippines broadened her own thinking about career choices,” the statement said.

The bookstore further said: “Over several trips back to the Philippines, Christina developed stories with the support of friends (such as creative consultant and co-author of the Ivatan story, Alyssa Sarmiento-Co), and by working with talented illustrators, translators, and authors. She funded the print runs of two books via Kickstarter in October 2016. Over 300 backers in 10 countries pledged support for Philippine language diversity, which shows the broad appeal of these children’s books. Kickstarter staff also chose ‘Modern Filipino Children’s Stories: Sari-Sari Storybooks’ as ‘A Project We Love.’”

The author also hopes the picture books will encourage children to imagine themselves as authors of their own mother tongue stories.

“A new generation of multilingual creators would ensure that Philippine languages truly survive and thrive,” the statement added.

Sari-Sari Storybooks also announced that the storybooks “Melo the Umang-Boy,” “Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik,” and “Amina and the City of Flowers” will be available for sale by mid-June 2017.

The retail price of each book is P200. In Davao, the books will be available after June 23 at Morning Light Art Gallery and Shop (address: Door 2, AFE Building, Ruby corner Garnet Streets, Marfori Heights, phone: 82 2980152 / 82 2246885), the store added. (

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