ACCORDING to C.S. Lewis, renowned Chronicles of Narnia author, someday we will all start reading fairy tales again.

That time may have come as the National Book Development Board (NBDB) held its Little Lit Festival with the theme, “Children’s Literature: A Coming of Age,“ at the Museo Pambata on May 30 and 31.

The festival sought to foster the love of reading among children as well as help boost the development of children’s book publishing in the country.

Australian writer Christopher Cheng conducted a storytelling session for children.

“Every child should be reading every day and every parent should too,” he said. “They should be able to convince their children that reading is fun.”

“I want to share my knowledge,” Cheng added. “Reading is really fun. I want everybody to walk away, especially adults, saying, ‘I’m going to read to my children.’”

Cheng read excerpts from his own works, Sounds Spooky and Python.

“I used to work in a zoo,” he said about Python. The book and his other works are picture books with very simple texts.

Cheng said his books cater to all ages, emphasizing that adults too can enjoy his books and get the feel of being young again.

“Picture books allow the imagination of a child to develop,” he said. “It’s like the scientists in this world. They imagine what would happen next.”

But Cheng suggested that children read something appropriate for their age.

“A book written for an adult should be read by an adult. Children should be given the freedom to choose what they want to read. Different genres suitable for their age should be introduced.”

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He said whether the traditional book survives is not a problem when fostering the habit of reading.

“I have no problem in reading through an iPad or a computer,” he said. “There’s no really problem with it. It is still reading.”

The festival also included panel discussions, workshops, exhibits, performances, and a book and crafts fair.

Faculty of Arts and Letters assistant professor Nerisa Del Carmen Guevarra served as a panellist in the Poetry Writing for Teens session.

Other international writers who attended the festival were Ken Spillman, Candy Gourlay, Adam Jimenez and Felicia Low-Jimenez.

“This is the first time the Little Lit Fest was held,” said writer and author Ruel de Vera, who moderated the session of Cheng. “We hope to do it yearly.” Jan Dominic G. Leones with reports from M.D.L. Macalino


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