As a child, we are used to short stories, fables, and fairytales that let us be whatever and wherever we want. These let us develop our imagination, improve our literacy skills, and learn moral values which ingrained in us as we grow older.
Storybooks are a strong foundation for a child in dealing with his feelings, emotions, and situations. Little did we know, it has become a part of the values and principles that we have today. With that, children’s books should gradually introduce concepts and ideas to their readers—and that includes their journey to self-awareness and expression.
In celebration of National Children’s Month and National Reading Month, we must take time to ponder and learn the same way we want the children to do. Through the creation of young writers and illustrators, we can learn and understand the diversity, inclusivity, and equality of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions (SOGIE).
SOGIE inclusivity from Mulat Sulat
Aiming to fill the needs of Filipino children’s books to SOGIE, the Mulat Sulat project launched its five books on National Children’s Book Day in 2018. Let us read and learn from them.
Dumating na si Manang Elisa is written by Godfrey T. Dancel and illustrated by Gabbi Ramirez. The story aims to teach children that one’s changes in appearance do not change their character. Apart from that, readers can also learn some words from the Ilocano dialect.
Do you like dogs? Then, surely, you will love this one!
Written by Angelo P. Benavidez and illustrated by Aiko Shimuzu, Si Chowchow narrates the story of how our gender expression empowers us to our strengths and abilities. Also, it reminds us that it’s efficiency and dedication that matter.
What’s My Power Gear is written by Mondi Ruedas and illustrated by Ruthie Genuino. The book wants to enlighten the readers to let the children have the freedom to choose what they want to wear and what they want to be.
Bukás na si Cajon is another creation by Gabbi Ramirez. In their storytelling event, Ramirez shared that its writer Jesh Alberto wished he could have read this kind of story when he was a kid. The book aims to break out from conventional male and female imagery or stereotypes.
Join Kenny as One of the Boys and learn how he saved the City of Toyland. Through the words of Arkin Frany and the illustration of Pepot Z. Atienza, the story tells how being different is marvelous.
The books are available for free download through Google Drive.
Room to Read’s first Filipino languange children’s books
In partnership with Lampara Books and other Philippine publishers, the global non-profit organization Room to Read marked their first children’s books in the Filipino language last year. It focuses on themes that include and portray “children with disabilities or living in diverse and often difficult circumstances.”
As the child joins his mother on her jeepney trip, he learns about gender equality. Through the words of Reina Beatriz P. Peralta and the illustration of Pepot Z. Atienza, Ang Nanay kong Drayber lets the readers have a new take on gender roles and diversity.
Learned something from them? Share it with us!
Sheldeen is a writer who loves to watch series and to play with her dogs in her free time — ways to pause and take a break.