Bato, bato sa langit…tamaa’y huwag magalit.*

Panahon na para itaas ang antas ng pagsulat ng panitikang pambata.  Para mapairal ang disiplina sa sining ng pagsulat ng kuwentong pambata.  Para mapigil ang akala na isang santuwaryo ito para sa mga retiradong guro’t bigong manunulat ng kuwentong pangmatanda.

–Virgilio S. Almario, mula sa back cover blurb ng “Panitikang Pambata sa Filipinas”

(It is time to raise the standard of writing in children’s literature.  So that there will be discipline in the art of writing of stories for children.  So that it would be disabused of the notion of being a haven for retired teachers and unsuccessful writers of stories for adults.)

*Stones, stones hurled at the sky.  Whoever gets hit, should not get mad.

Yey, after several weeks of waiting and checking at National Bookstore, I finally got a copy of Sir Rio’s Panitikang Pambata sa Filipinas.  Have just quickly scanned through it, and if it’s any indication of its contents, the first chapter is entitled “Warning:  Isang Kasaysayang Pinersonal Ito” which I will translate roughly as “Warning:  This is  History Personalized” (or “This is Personalized History”?). Hmm, am not sure if I translated it well.  But it’s the best I can do. “Warning:  This is Personal History” sounds too lame.  It lacks the bite Sir Rio had doubtlessly intended with his choice of words. And he knows what he’s doing; he’s the National Artist for Poetry, for goodness’s sake.

Consider, too, the title of another chapter “Picture Book Po, Hindi Komiks” which I will translate as, “(With all due respect) It’s a picture book, not a comic book”. From all indications, in Panitikang Pambata, Sir Rio takes a hard look at what is setting back children’s literature in the Philippines and keeping it from reaching its golden age, and makes his candid and unapologetic—if at times, by his own admission, even tactless (taklesa)—comments about everything and anything in the sun concerning Philippine children’s literature.

2 thoughts on “Bato, bato sa langit…tamaa’y huwag magalit.*”

  1. I’ve been wanting to buy this book but at PhP 320 but I’ve been holding out until I absolutely have to get it. I’ve heard about some of the things Rio Alma talked about from Russell Molina and now your blog entry has me very curious.

    But I’m wondering what he meant by “Picture Book Po, Hindi Komiks”? Is this the part where he talks about children’s books being too wordy? I hope he doesn’t disparage comic books though. ;P Because I’d be really pissed off if he did. I think I have to buy this book…

    1. I couldn’t find my copy right now, but I remember reading the article. I don’t think Sir Rio had meant to be disparaging of komiks (even as it is the type of komiks Carlo J Caparas is trying to revive, and not at all the emerging popular graphic novels and glossy comic books). From the general tone of the essays in the book, though, he bewails how some people snub and dismiss picture books in the general category of komiks, when there are obvious differences. From what I know of some background stories, I think the title of this particular essay may be taking a dig at a personal critic (who writes an opinion column in a daily broadsheet) who deliberately belittles this genre of picture books which Sir Rio had helped popularize.

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