‘Let young adult and children’s literature flourish’

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FILIPINOS should begin to appreciate the value of young adult and children’s literature here.

This was the message of writers belonging to the two genres in a roundtable discussion at the Tanghalang Teresita Quirino of the UST Graduate School last March 29.

“Sa Pilipinas, kaunti pa lamang ang panitikan at dulang pambata, dahil siguro sa mahal ang magproduce nito. Pero hindi ito hadlang dahil marami pang devices na puwede pang gawin,” said Christine Bellen, a multi-awarded children’s playwright.

Bellen, who has retold the classic “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang,” said the genre shapes the awareness of children on national and social issues.

“Sana ay makita natin ang mahalaga at malaking potensyal nito (panitikan at dulang pambata) bilang mabisang behikulo ng pagkatuto ng mga bata sa iba’t-ibang usapin ng kanilang buhay, mula sa pinakapersonal na naratibo hanggang sa naratibo ng kanilang bayan,” she said.

Palanca awardee Cyan Abad-Jugo urged writers to empower readers.

“If you’re concerned about writing for children and if you really like to write for young adults, there has to be some degree of empowerment,” said Abad-Jugo, who is known for her young adult books “Behind The Old Aparador” and “Salingkit: A 1986 Diary.”

Poet and fictionist Gabriela Lee highlighted the “world-building” technique, which appeals to readers of the fantasy genre.

“When you think about writing of the story for young adult audience … you have to remember that you’re not just creating something for making a book, you’re actually creating a world for your characters to live in,” she said.

The event, “Why Young Adult and Children’s Lit?” is part of the USTingan Series, a bi-annual gathering of writers, teachers, students, and lovers of literature that discusses topics of contemporary interest in writing, publishing, and popular culture.

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