In 2008 the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) began putting more emphasis on programs to ensure cultural diversity, conducting educational activities and building Asia-Pacific networks with the goal of protecting and maintaining diverse cultures around the globe. One of the many events that resulted from their commitment, was the “Artists of Children’s Books in Asia, Africa and Latin America Symposium,” which Corinne blogged about in August.
Among the people invited to present on the realities of book creators and publishers in different parts of the world and the role of picture books in culturally diverse societies was Karina Bolasco, founder of Anvil, a Filipino publishing company. In her paper “The Complicated Pleasures of Children’s Books,” she offers that, in her opinion, young Filipino writers, as a result of the country’s history, “have been unwittingly weighed down by a long tradition of moralism and didacticism,” something she believes has led to many moral tales and “issue” books, and not enough stories “children can just read for pleasure and delight in.”
Her views of where her country stands in terms of writing and publishing for children and where it may/should be headed, add depth to our current focus on children’s books from/about the Philippines. For more on the topic, read her article “Towards Homes Filled With Books.” Both her texts help us learn a little more about the challenges publishers, authors, illustrators and promoters of literacy face in the Philippines, as well as the opportunities and possibilities that lay ahead of them.