Filipino writers win top honors in the 2014 Scholastic Asian Book Award

SCHOLASTIC AND THE NATIONAL BOOK DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF SINGAPORE ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF THE 2014 SCHOLASTIC ASIAN BOOK AWARD

The results of the 2014 Scholastic Asian Book Award were announced during the Awards Presentation Ceremony on 30 May 2014, in conjunction with the launch of the 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content at the Singapore National Library Building.

The award was presented by Mr. Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s Minister of Culture, Community and Youth.

Winners of the 2014 Scholastic Asian Book Award are:

  • Grand Prize Winner: SOPHIA MARIE LEE from the Philippines for her story entitled WHAT THINGS MEAN
  • 1st Runner-up: CATHERINE TORRES from the Philippines for her story entitled SULA’S VOYAGE
  • 2nd Runner-up: VIVEK BHANOT from India for his story entitled ROBIN AND THE CASE OF THE SUMMER CAMP KIDNAPPING

The Scholastic Asian Book Award is a biennial search for new Asian children stories that is written in English. Sponsored by Scholastic and organized by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) since 2011, the objectives of the award are as follows:

  • To recognise excellence in fiction in Asian stories for children
  • To showcase the diversity of literary talent within Asia
  • To encourage and inspire more books and stories with Asian content

Entries received were judged by an international panel of literary experts and renowned authors which was led by Sayoni Basu (India) as head judge, and comprised of Ken Spillman (Australia), Marjorie Coughlan (Canada), Sarah Odedina (United Kingdom), Wanitcha Sumanat (Thailand).

“We [the judges] were pleasantly surprised with the high quality in the manuscripts submitted this year, which demonstrated greater depth and diversity in their stories, and more sophistication in writing craft as compared to previous years. The universality of the themes will enable all children in Asia and across the world to identify with the stories”, said Sayoni Basu.

The award carries a cash prize of SGD 10,000 and is awarded to an unpublished manuscript or translation of an original work in English targeted at children aged 6 to 18 years. The winning entry will be published by Scholastic. Selected shortlisted entries will also be considered for publication. Scholastic has published six stories that were discovered via SABA of past years. They are:

  • Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
  • The Girl Mechanic from Wanzhou by Marjorie Sayer
  • The Mudskipper by Ovidia Yu
  • Bungee Cord Hair by Ching Yeung Russell
  • Not In The Stars by Pauline Loh
  • Hidden In Plain Sight by Ang Su-Lin

“Asia is so rich and diverse in its history and culture; there are so many experiences and stories to tell. However, most of these stories are passed on by word-of-mouth, very little is published and distributed globally. I grew up surrounded by books, but there were mainly stories of western children, of their family and friends, and of their adventures in their neck of the woods. Asian children deserves to have a rich legacy of stories that celebrates their Asian heritage and their coming-of-age experiences. The Scholastic Asian Book Award is one of our long-term projects to support development of Asia children literary landscape and we are so pleased to find a partner in NBDCS who also champions the same cause,” said Selina Lee, Director of Scholastic in Asia.

The 2016 Scholastic Asian Book Award is now open and entries must be sent in by September 1st, 2015. Details and the Entry Form are available at
www.scholasticbookaward.asia

About Scholastic
Scholastic Inc. is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. For over 90 years, Scholastic has been providing quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, classroom and parenting magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys.

About the NBDCS
The National Book Development Council of Singapore is a non-profit charitable institution founded in 1969. The Book Council’s objective is to establish and develop Singapore as the Asian centre for publishing and literary arts.


PR courtesy of Scholastic Philippines

Congratulations, everyone! 🙂

Guest Post: “Raising Kids in a Multicultural Environment” by Marie Claire Lim Moore

The “Don’t Forget The Soap” promo blog tour makes its second stop here at The Girl Who Read and Other Stories with a guest post (the very first that I’m hosting) by the author herself!

Marie Claire Lim Moore is now raising her kids in an environment similar to where she was raised–surrounded by various cultures. In this guest post, she talks about the advantages of raising her kids in a multicultural environment and the challenges she encounters as a mother.

The advantages of raising kids in a multicultural environment are endless. Children gain exposure to a diverse set of cultures and values that reflect a microcosm of the world, which often leads to unique opportunities. My brother and I were fortunate to have had this kind of upbringing and to this day I’m so grateful for these enriching experiences.

That being said, there are also challenges for parents when they set out to provide a multicultural environment for their kids. It is far simpler to bring up children in a setting where everyone has the same culture and values that you do. The “no sleepovers” rule is easier to maintain in an environment where slumber parties are few and far between. When I was growing up in New York City and it was the cultural norm for kids to date and have boyfriends and girlfriends in their early teens I know my parents sometimes wished they were back in the Philippines where they recalled only group outings at this age were socially acceptable. I also caught them wincing on occasions upon hear stories about grandparents being put in nursing homes not because they were sick with special care needs but because their children didn’t want them living with them.

My parents somehow managed to embraced new cultures and opportunities while maintaining traditional Filipino values at home. It took a lot of conscious effort on their part to make sure they continued to be the biggest influence in our lives. This was done through continuous open discussions, sitting down together for dinner every night, and regular family bonding — many times over karaoke or mahjong!

❤ ❤ ❤

Don't Forget the Soap Book CoverDon’t Forget the Soap (And Other Reminders From My Fabulous Filipina Mother) is a collection of anecdotes: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force.

Share this inspiring book with the awesome women in your life! The book is available online via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also pick up a copy at Fully Booked (Php650). If you are in Singapore, copies are available at MPH and Kinokuniya (SGD 18.60).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
marie claire lim moore - author photoMarie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore.

Don’t forget to join the GIVEAWAY! Just click on the image below:

GiveawayPrizes

Read my review of “Don’t Forget the Soap” here.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with “Don’t Forget The Soap” by Marie Claire Lim Moore +Giveaway!

Don't Forget the Soap Book CoverDon’t Forget the Soap (And Other Reminders From My Fabulous Filipina Mother) is a collection of anecdotes: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force.

Share this inspiring book with the awesome women in your life! The book is available online via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also pick up a copy at Fully Booked (Php650). If you are in Singapore, copies are available at MPH and Kinokuniya (SGD 18.60).

DFTSteaser02

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
marie claire lim moore - author photoMarie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore.

And now it’s time for a GIVEAWAY! Just click on the image below to join.

GiveawayPrizes

Read my review of Don’t Forget the Soap here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard-working moms out there! 🙂

New Release: “Savor” by Kate Evangelista

When Kate Evangelista released her first novel, “Taste”, I definitely wasn’t alone in experiencing “second lead syndrome”, gravitating more toward Luka Visraya rather than the male lead (see, now I forgot his name! *facepalm*).

So now we get an entire book about Luka. Hell, yeah! 😀

200 x 300Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old.

Yup, you’ve got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Here’s an excerpt:


 
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryCrescent Moon Press

About Kate Evangelista: When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she lives in the Philippines and writes full-time.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook PageGoodreadsAdd Savor to Goodreads
 

The “Don’t Forget The Soap” Blog Tour: Book Review

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Don't Forget the Soap Book CoverDON’T FORGET THE SOAP (AND OTHER REMINDERS FROM MY FABULOUS FILIPINA MOTHER)
Author:
Marie Claire Lim Moore
Read Date: 25 November 2013
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

At the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”

Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.

I normally shy away from reading any form of memoir by someone I do not know or recognize. But it’s not them; it’s me. I have nothing against people who write memoirs, but I don’t want to be reminded of just how boring my childhood was (gasp! this will put me on Ms. Moore’s and Mrs. Lim’s hit lists, but seriously if my life were any more interesting, I would have already joined the ranks of people who have written said memoirs), of all the regrets, and of how far I’ve come compared to other people near my age (not very far at all, no.)

But I decided to lock the cynicism inside the closet for a while and join this blog tour because after reading the synopsis of the book:

  1. I got curious about how someone who was born abroad can have “the immigrant experience”;
  2. If an author can admit that some of what she wrote is corny, she sounds like someone I’d like to get to know more;
  3. I really wanted to know more about that titular soap;
  4. Regulating Christmas sounds like something I should be implementing with my nephew;
  5. No, really. The soap. Really.

And it was worth making this book an exception. Who knew I’d be getting something like “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, but a Filipino version, with cultural quirks and situations that I can relate with?

It was interesting to read about how what we experience here in the Philippines is very similar to the experiences of those who were born abroad to Filipino families and communities.

And it was great to read about what it’s like at the other end of the balikbayan box odyssey, considering I’ve only ever been on the receiving end. Certainly, I knew my aunts lived by similar rules like “Don’t Forget The Soap” (they also practiced Don’t Forget The Silverware and Always Bring A Ziploc To A Crab Leg Buffet), being vigilant of yearly department store sales and buying in bulk, and being able to make one packet of Swiss Miss go a long way.

More than the familiar anecdotes, though, I appreciated that Ms. Moore shared all those other invaluable insights her mother taught them. What resonated with me were:

  1. How Balance is important in everything and how it can save you a lot of stress.
  2. As a corollary to Balance, how important taking on challenges and playing to your strengths at the same time can be.
  3. Give back and don’t forget the people who have touched your life.
  4. There’s no need to wait to do what you’ve always wanted to do just because your plate seems full. Just manage your time. (Maybe easier said than done, but I guess there’s no need to wait to try to implement this either.)
  5. Regulate Christmas. *evil laugh*
  6. All the parenting tips.

I also appreciated how earnestly written this book was. And it seems that all the “Tone it down a notch” advice and efforts to un-corny-fy the stories worked, but I can still feel the author’s sincere admiration for the people she wrote about, especially her mother.

I don’t know about other readers, but personally, I deem a book based on personal stories a success when it makes me feel like the author is someone that I would like to meet in person, whether it be to get the chance to talk to them more over coffee or to perhaps give them a satisfying punch in the face (it happens). In this case, I think I’ll leave the punching to Manny Pacquiao.

☼☼☼❤☼☼☼

 
If you haven’t read “Don’t Forget The Soap” yet, you can check out the following links:

DON’T FORGET THE SOAPGoodreadsOrder via AmazonOrder the E-book

To know more about MARIE CLAIRE LIM MOORE, visit her on: Twitter.

Visit BOOK JUNKIE BLOG TOURS for other exciting book tours!
 

The “Cover (Story) Girl” Blog (De)Tour: Review and Scoring the Book

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Cover Story Girl Book CoverCOVER (STORY) GIRL
Author:
Chris Mariano
Read Date: September 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.

So this blog tour made a detour back here, and this time, I’m posting my review of “Cover (Story) Girl”.

It is more difficult for me to review novellas compared to full-length novels because my reading list for the past few years consisted mostly of novel series. I’ve taken a liking to reading about a lot of story details, and I’ve learned to be patient when reading about how character relationships play out. And so when I read novellas, I feel like it operates on a different time frame, and more often than not, I feel like things are rushed, especially when it comes to the development of relationships.

That’s exactly how I felt for most of “Cover (Story) Girl”—that things moved a little too fast for our couple. Considering that Min Hee is from a different country and culture, I felt like Gio should have had a little more of a challenge adjusting to Min Hee, and vice-versa.

I’m not averse to a whirlwind romance in a romance novella, of all things, but because of the character profiles, I expected that Min Hee’s foreign-ness would have played more of a part as a challenge in the relationship than her mysterious circumstances. This would have “slowed” things down a little for them (emotionally, perhaps, more than time-wise), and the development would have felt more natural. But that’s just me. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Korean dramas that I already half-expect there to be a lot of roadblocks in romance plot lines, and for someone to push for extra episodes to prolong the agony if the ratings are high enough.

I did not feel Min Hee’s foreign-ness much, actually. The author has said that because it was difficult to get into Min Hee’s mindset as a foreigner, she wrote the character with a lot of caution, and it looks like this is how that caution became most evident. But, on hindsight, I’d rather have this cautious writing of the character than a forced, unbearably awkward caricature.

I did enjoy reading this story very much despite the above. It was well-written and fun and peppered with a lot of cute moments.

I love that Boracay felt like another character, so much so that the island seems more…real than how some other travel documentaries and blogs describe it. Believe it or not, I haven’t been to Boracay, but how it is described in this novella is probably how I will expect it to be if I finally get the chance to visit. I suppose the love that I can feel Gio has for the place reflects the author’s own love for her hometown; it’s a nice feeling to get from reading a book.

As was already obvious from my author interview, Chris Mariano and I share an interest in Korean entertainment. I appreciated all the references to dramas and music, celebrities and the fan culture. Fellow fans will surely spot all the meta, but for those who aren’t, those references serve to build Min Hee’s world a little more.

I also like that this was written from the guy’s perspective. It’s hard to resist using fan-ish fiction defaults even when writing original stories, so this could just as easily have been a foreign-guy-meets-a-local-girl thing. I’m glad it’s different because man, the climactic scene was worthy of a k-drama, and it wouldn’t have had the same effect otherwise.

My song choice as the book’s theme music/musical score is, of course, by a Korean artist and one of my favorite bands: Nell. People who have been reading this blog for a while now will be familiar with how much I like this band; I’ve used their song for a Scoring the Book post before.

The song is called “Beautiful Stranger”, and it’s sung entirely in English, so I’m not going to link to translations anymore. Enjoy!

Safe
I barely know you,
but yet I feel secure when I’m with you.

Strange
I don’t even know you,
but yet I feel so strong and bold when I’m with you.

My beautiful stranger.

☼☼☼❤☼☼☼

 
If you haven’t read “Cover (Story) Girl” yet, you can check out the following links:

COVER (STORY) GIRLGoodreadsOrder via AmazonOrder via Smashwords

To know more about CHRIS MARIANO, visit her at the following sites: FicsationTwitterGoodreadsTumblr

Visit BOOK JUNKIE BLOG TOURS for other exciting book tours!
 
 

The “Cover (Story) Girl” Blog Tour: Author Interview and Giveaway

CSGHeader
 

Cover Story Girl Book Cover1) She has amnesia.
2) She’s on the run from her father’s creditors.
3) She’s enjoying her last days on earth.

Ever since Jang Min Hee walked into Gio’s small museum, she’s given him one excuse after another about why she’s vacationing at scenic Boracay Island. Rarely has Gio’s neat and organized world been shaken like this. Soon he finds himself scrambling over rocks, hiding in dressing rooms, and dragging her out of bars. But how can Gio tell what’s true from what isn’t? Their worlds are getting unraveled — one story at a time.

As of this writing, there is a tropical depression that’s moving nearer and nearer to where I am in the Philippines, so it’s been raining for the past few days.

Chris Mariano’s “Cover (Story) Girl” is the perfect book to read on days like these because it’s set in sunshiney Boracay Island. Not that it never rains there, but…well, reading the book is like entering a portal to a place where the lovely weather never changes. I’m so envious of all the fun things the characters got to do, the yummy food they ate (calamansi muffins!), and of course, the sea, the sea! I’m pretty sure that if we had the chance to ask her, Min Hee would say that falling in love is more fun in the Philippines. 😉

I’m sharing my Q&A with Chris below. I’m also including my comments and reactions to her answers, as well as additional questions which I never got to ask her / tell her as I would during a face-to-face interview. Feel free to join in the conversation via the Comments section. 🙂

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The “Interim Goddess of Love” Blog Tour: Author Interview and Giveaway (Int’l/PH)

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College sophomore Hannah Maquiling doesn’t know why everyone tells her their love problems. She’s never even had a boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop people from spilling their guts to her, and asking for advice. So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise when the cutest guy in school tells her that she’s going to have to take on this responsibility — but for all humanity.

The Goddess of Love has gone AWOL. It’s a problem, because her job is to keep in check this world’s obsession with love (and lack of it). The God of the Sun, for now an impossibly handsome senior at an exclusive college just outside of Metro Manila, thinks Hannah has what it takes to (temporarily) do the job.

This is my first time to participate in a blog tour. I’m excited! Yay! I don’t normally sign up for tours because my schedule is erratic, and I’m worried that I will not be able to do my part after I’ve committed. But “Interim Goddess of Love” is special to me because it’s a great story, and I tagged along with both Mina’s and Hannah’s journey from the beginning.

Back when the first book came out, I was able to interview Mina for an author profile for GMA News Online. We talked about a lot of things, but the profile ended up mostly chronicling how she got published—both independently and traditionally—and her aspirations as a writer.

When we did the IGoL Trilogy Audio Commentary, it was Mina’s turn to ask questions. And so I still haven’t managed to ask her things about IGoL and other random stuff. I finally got another opportunity through this tour!

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Review / Giveaway [Int’l]: “All’s Fair in Blog and War” by Chrissie Peria

✈ NOTICE (2013.08.05): The Giveaway is now CLOSED. ✈

allsfairAll’s Fair in Blog and War
Author: Chrissie Peria
Read Date: 12 July 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when the Macau Tourism Board invites her over for an all-expense-paid blogger tour in exchange for blogging about Macau. But while she happily signs up for the trip, she didn’t sign up to be travel buddies with the infuriating Jesse. Will her dream vacation turn into a nightmare junket? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

 

For someone who’s a self-confessed “First Time Everything”, Chrissie Peria managed to turn out a cute, fluffy, feel-good romance novella in “All’s Fair in Blog and War”.

#ArmchairTraveling – One of the things I loved about the story, and perhaps its strongest aspect, is how vivid the setting was. I actually felt like I was in Macau! When I asked her about it, the author said that she did actually go to Macau on a press junket before, so many of the things she did, sights she saw, and food she ate during her trip made its way into the story. As someone who has never traveled to Macau, I really appreciated all the details.

#VisceralThrills – Let’s just say that…maybe, just maybe, I’d consider signing up for the world’s highest commercial bungee jump…but only under similar circumstances. 😉

#ItsSoFluffy – There are a lot of super sweet moments here that romance junkies (and pretty much anyone who is a romantic at heart) will definitely enjoy. Wait, this needs a GIF.

#ClearProse – Peria’s writing style is straightforward, which serves the novella well.

#PointsForImprovement – There wasn’t a lot of conflict in the story, so we don’t see different facets of the characters. And also, considering the emphasis on Five as a blogger and social media user, I expected blog post excerpts or tweets, but there were none. Peria created actual character social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram, but that serves more as a post-read appreciation or expanded universe thing.

#Verdict – It’s a fun, fluffy, sweet literary getaway! Make sure a store that sells egg tarts / egg pies is just a stone’s throw away when you read this.

And I look forward to what Peria will write next. 🙂
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