Watch Out for New Young Adult Literature from the Philippines! ~ by Tarie Sabido
Part 2 of 3 (read Part 1 “Best Reads from the Philippines at the 3rd Asian Festival of Children’s Content” here)
In the Philippines, very young readers have many excellent local picture books to choose from, but it’s slim pickings for young adult readers. There just hasn’t been a lot of young adult literature (excellent or not) published in the country. So when young Filipino readers grow up, they turn to young adult literature from the US, the UK, Australia, and other countries.
The good news is that Philippine young adult literature is slowly growing. The local publishing industry is starting to recognize the desire for much, much more young adult literature with Philippine content. Just last month, Summit Media launched Kwentillion, a bi-monthly young adult science fiction and fantasy magazine that includes comics, short fiction, book reviews, writer and artist features, resources for young writers and artists, and much more. Co-editors Paolo Chikiamco and Budjette Tan have put together an entertaining and eye-opening first issue with stories of Philippine mythical creatures, monster-fighting plumbers, comic book superheroes, alternate histories, and deep space-swimming Filipinos, along with previews of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels, an article on fan fiction, interviews with two rock stars of the Philippine comic book world, a directory of Filipino artists to follow, an art tutorial, and a primer on folk magic.
I wrote an article for Kwentillion about the need for more Filipino young adult literature. It’s important for Filipino teens to read stories from around the world, but it’s even more important for them to read local stories. Young adult literature is about being relevant to teens, and context and distance matter when it comes to relevancy. It isn’t enough for Filipino teens just to know through stories that there are others who share their problems, concerns, hopes, and dreams. They need to know that other teens going through very similar emotional journeys are around them every single day, on buses and trains with them, in their churches and neighborhoods, at the same schools and malls.
Filipino teens can now look forward to books like Horror: Filipino Fiction For Young Adults, an anthology of horror stories edited by Dean Alfar and Kenneth Yu, to be published by the University of the Philippines Press. Flipside Publishing will soon release four young adult e-books: the first two installments of a paranormal romance series by A.S. Santos (tentatively entitled The Voices in the Theater and The Corpse in the Mirror); The Woman in the Frame, an art mystery and historical romance by Raissa Falgui; and The Viewless Dark, a paranormal mystery by Eliza Victoria. Other Philippine publishers also have young adult books in the pipeline. I can’t wait! This may seem like a very small number of books compared to other young adult markets, but this is the most number of Philippine young adult books to be published in recent years. This is something to be excited about.
Fans of young adult literature, especially Filipino teens, please watch out for many more stories that feature Filipino settings, culture and heritage, legends and folktales, creatures, characters, and more!
Tarie Sabido is an English teacher and editor in the Philippines. She blogs about children’s and YA books at Into the Wardrobe and Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind, and writes for Kwentillion, the Philippines’ first YA science fiction and fantasy magazine. Tarie was a judge for the 4th Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (CYBILS) and the 1st Philippine National Children’s Book Awards.
We are thrilled to have Tarie join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of June. Part 1 of her series “Best Reads from the Philippines at the 3rd Asian Festival of Children’s Content” was posted here. Part 3 will be posted on June 20th.