Reading in Infancy Boosts Literacy – Study

If you are still looking for a sign to start reading books to your child, this is it.

According to Carolyn Cates, PhD, lead author of the study that involved 250 pairs of mothers and their babies, findings suggest that reading to children as early as infancy gives a boost on their language, literacy and early reading skills.

“What they’re learning when you read with them as infants,” Cates said, “still has an effect four years later when they’re about to begin elementary school.”

This is the finding of “Early Reading Matters: Longterm Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” which was presented at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco last May 8.

This is indeed exciting news for us reading advocates slash new moms. My 10-month-old has just recently started to be interested in actually flipping pages (not just drooling on them). I have already bought a few books for our personal collection, and I have more in the school library. This gives me further motivation to try and engage her in reading, even if she just wants to tear off the paper for now.

How about you, mom? Do your kids love reading? How did you make them love to read? Share it in the comments below!

Happy National Children’s Book Month!

Thanks to Natasha Hall @ideanaire for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Are Adarna’s Books on Martial Law “Radicalizing” Children Against the Government?

“Not good.”

I am not the type to pay attention to foreigners making content about the Philippines. (You: Oooohhh… a “I’m not like other girls” type.) But when Neil Gaiman captioned his retweet of Rappler’s news on the red-tagging of Adarna House’s sale of its books on Martial Law by sitting government officials, I was alarmed.

Adarna House was accused by Alex Paul Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, of “subtly” radicalizing children against the government. Lorraine Badoy of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict called the publishing company “demonyo” for allegedly “planting hate and lies” in the hearts of its young readers.

I promised my husband that I will refrain from writing about Philippine politics in this blog. But as a librarian and a reading advocate, whose love for books was influenced by Adarna House, I take offense.

The bundle consists of five illustrated storybooks that tell about Martial Law in the Philippines. Here are brief summaries of the books:


Idea at titik: Equipo Plantel; Guhit: Mikel Casal

A translation from Spanish, “Ito ang Diktadura” is a non-fiction illustrated book written during the times when many countries in the world are under dictatorship. It describes the general environment under these autocratic regimes and shows Ferdinand E. Marcos among other dictators.


Kuwento ni Augie Rivera; Guhit ni Brian Vallesteros

“Si Jhun-Jhun” is one of the five books that tell about different important periods in Philippine history, created in collaboration with UNICEF. It is a coming-of-age story of a boy whose family was torn apart by human rights violations.


Kuwento ni Russell Molina; Guhit ni Sergio Bumatay III

How can a counting book ever radicalize its reader against the government? Because this just a picture book with a few words. The words are terms and phrases popularized by the People Power Revolution of 1986.


Story by Bolet Banal; Illustrations by Korinna Banal

“The Magic Arrow” is a beautifully illustrated magical story of a king who repressed his kingdom and got defeated by one man’s bravery.


Kuwento ni Augie Rivera; Guhit ni Rommel Joson

A personal favorite, “Isang Harding Papel” is a story of a child whose mother is a political detainee. It shows how a mother’s love can grow hope and happiness in the midst of darkness.

I am adding this short comic book although not included in the original bundle:


Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo

“12:01” is the story of a local band who experienced the horrors of Martial Law on a night they accidentally violated the curfew.

How are these books radicalizing children against the government? Is the Philippines:

  • in a dictatorship
  • in an abusive dictatorship
  • going to be in an abusive dictatorship

again? If not, why should the government be offended? Why should the government be afraid?

Perhaps NICA and NTF-ELCAC should listen to Imelda Marcos:

Perception is real; the truth is not.


Buttttt I digress. Instead, let us read this beautiful poem by Alberto Ríos in 2017:


The library is dangerous—
Don’t go in. If you do

You know what will happen.
It’s like a pet store or a bakery—

Every single time you’ll come out of there
Holding something in your arms.

Those novels with their big eyes.
And those no-nonsense, all muscle

Greyhounds and Dobermans,
All non-fiction and business,

Cuddly when they’re young,
But then the first page is turned.

The doughnut scent of it all, knowledge,
The aroma of coffee being made

In all those books, something for everyone,
The deli offerings of civilization itself.

The library is the book of books,
Its concrete and wood and glass covers

Keeping within them the very big,
Very long story of everything.

The library is dangerous, full
Of answers. If you go inside,

You may not come out
The same person who went in.

13 Quotes for Working Moms

One place suits one person, another place suits another person.

(Beatrix Potter, 1918)

Hi, friend! Welcome and welcome back to the blog.

I really love how The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse, Beatrix Potter’s adaptation of Aesop’s The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, ended. Instead of judging that one way to live is the better choice, the characters realize that they simply have different tastes, and their tastes are equally valid.

The same goes for moms. Whether someone is a stay-at-home mom or a working mom does not make one a better or worse parent. Neither has it easier, especially in a society that will judge you no matter your choice. In the end, we have reasons for choosing how we live, and we have to stop comparing ourselves to other moms.

In this first blog, I have compiled 13 of the most beautiful and inspiring quotes about, by, and for working moms. You can pick the one that resonates most with you and make that your personal reminder that, dear working mom, you are doing a great job.


“We should go after our dreams and not be apologetic about it, but it’s scary. Whether you want to work or not, you have to do what makes you a fuller person. You have to love yourself.”


“If I’m pursuing my goals, my kids are seeing me at my best. I am filled up, I am happy, I am not feeling empty, depleted, and therefore resentful about the fact that I’m missing out. I don’t want them to feel like I’ve sacrificed, I don’t want them to feel that burden. I always remember that a happy working woman is a happy mother.”


“You are not a bad mom because you go to work each day. Similarly, you are not a failure because you left your career altogether. Choices regarding work and family are personal – there is no one-size fits all method. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.”


“A happy mother is a good mother, and if work makes you hum, your whole family sings along.”


“Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”


“Get rid of the guilt….When you’re at one place, don’t feel bad that you’re not at work; when you’re at work, don’t feel bad that you’re not at home.”


“For me, being a mother made me a better professional, because coming home every night to my girls reminded me what I was working for. And being a professional made me a better mother, because by pursuing my dreams, I was modeling for my girls how to pursue their dreams.”


“I want her to know something that I feel is important. I love work. I love her and I love work, and I want her to know work’s a good thing. It’s not something you’re dragged off to.”


“As a working mother, I know that women can be both professionally ambitious and deeply committed to their families.”


“It’s not wrong to be passionate about your career. When you love what you do, you bring that stimulation back to your family.”


“I think it’s good for moms to work. I have three daughters, so I like them to see me working and doing something I’m passionate about.”


“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job.”


“The balancing act of motherhood and a career, and being a wife, is something that I don’t think I’ll ever perfect, but I love the challenge of it.”


One place suits one person, another place suits another person. For my part, I prefer to stay at home. But we will not survive on my husband’s current income, and so I am a working mom.


5 Completely FREE Ways to Celebrate Children’s Book Month

Hi, friend! Welcome to the blog.

And just like that, half of 2022 has passed. It’s July 1 and with it comes… National Children’s Book Month!

For the whole month, we are celebrating the timeless stories that shaped our young minds and, thus, played a huge role in moulding us into the adults, and more importantly, the society, that we are.

Our Sprout is only ten months old, and still has no interest in books (except to tear and bite off the pages). I hope that when she grows up, all my reading will pay off and she ends up loving books as much as I do.

For that to happen, she should be surrounded with lots of good books. That is not a problem for me as a school librarian: I literally work in the midst of storybooks.

But then I know that for some families, books are a luxury. There are more basic needs – food and shelter – to be addressed with their hard-earned money. After all, no one will buy a book before buying bread, right? Erm… right?

I hope that other children can also have the opportunity to grow up listening to and reading stories that nurture their imagination and enable them to see a bigger world. This is the purpose of children’s books, and this is the power and influence that we are celebrating this month.

In this blog, I list five COMPLETELY FREE ways to celebrate National Children’s Book Month.


Philippine public libraries are FULL of children’s books. They also hold storytelling sessions for kids. I am sure that children’s librarians will be really active in their outreach activities this month, so better maximize that. Public libraries are totally free for everyone.


Stories that do not have exclusive intellectual copyright belong to the public domain and may be read free of charge. Also, the Department of Education* has published various teacher-made storybooks on Globe E-Library and LRMDS portal. You may ask the help of your public school teachers to access them. (Look for “Si Kasanag at ang Huling Bakunawa” and thank me later!) DepEd storybooks are also available in the YouTube channel of BLR-LRMS.


In my line of work in resource development, I have learned to appreciate the hard work and passion that authors and illustrators put in their works. They deserve so much appreciation and love. After all, without them, we will have no storybooks to read. If you’re lucky, the creator/s of your favorite book, or their living relatives might notice your TikTok.


Some of us may remember pleading our grandparents to tell us the same stories over and over again when we were children. You may want to revisit those stories and see them with brand new eyes.


Finally, and most importantly, write your own children’s story. The world will never run out of stories as well as audiences for these because, as Yuval Noah Harari said, “Humans think in stories, and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories.” Who knows? Maybe yours will be one of those children’s books sold in book stores and read in libraries!

How about you? Do you have other ideas on how you can participate in celebrating children’s books in your home or school?

Happy National Children’s Book Month and may the odds be ever in your favor.


I do not love my job and that’s okay.

Find a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life.

Or so I thought. I grew up thinking that I am only getting a job I am passionate about. I thought I do not want to waste my precious years being in a place that does not spark joy.

But, you see, here I am.

For my librarian friends, let me clarify: I do not hate being a librarian. In hindsight, my love for books, learning, history, and stalking research since childhood makes librarianship – specifically school librarianship – the perfect job for me. I cannot express the peace and contentment I feel when I am surrounded with books (which also makes me a perfect bookstore owner). And I was in the perfect job until I transferred.

Found this tucked in a book returned by a student way back when I was still at a public school.

I dislike, though, my current job, because everything is far from my ideal version of librarianship.

Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) said it is a mistake to only do a job we are passionate about. Many times, we have to do something we dislike, even loathe, because it is what enables us to follow our passions. That job we hate is what allows us to do the things we love.

So, I am still here because this job pays the bills. It pays for my books. It pays for this domain. It pays for my professionally unrelated lessons and trainings. It pays for my travels. It paid for Taylor’s cardigan. I hate it, but I am still thankful for it, because it finances my various passions. That is why I’m okay with being in a job I don’t love, because this job is my means to do what I love. This is so much better than not having anything. To be honest, this is so much better than the job I had before, the job I loved, but which limited my capacity to follow my other passions.

I really hate it when people ignore rules.

Of course, I find bits and pieces in this job that make things better, more tolerable. I love the process of creating resources. I love reading manuscripts. I love helping our writers improve their stories. I love learning how to use different applications. I love it when clients find what they need. I love the friendships I made in it. It is not totally deplorable.

That I found my husband here also gives it bonus points.

I still have my heart on working for a specific agency whose mission and ideals resonate with me. (Human Rights Victims Memorial Commission Library Librarian IV Cutie!) But right now, I am just thankful that I have a job.

After all, where I am at is where I am supposed to be.