Filipino Friday (2): Kids and Books


This week’s Filipino Friday question is something close to my heart. Well, it is books so that’s a given, but it’s also about children’s books (which I’d include young adult fiction).

What were your favorite books as a kid or while you were growing up? Do you still read children’s books? If you could give your younger self a book to read, what would it be?

Difficult, difficult question. I had a lot of favorite books when I was a kid. Every weekend my parents would let me buy one toy or book, and my godmother/aunt would give me books every birthday and Christmas. Not to mention the people I could borrow books from: other aunts and uncles, friends, the library.

I suppose if I had to trim it down, my favorite books would be the works of Enid Blyton, my Lolo’s big book of stories, the Nancy Drew series and Sweet Valley Twins. Enid Blyton was the first British writer I’ve ever read, so at a young age I was already aware of pixies and brownies and lorries and bobbies. Her stories were those of mischievous kids and other-world beings that spoke of grand adventures, treasure hunts and mysteries.

Nancy Drew, of course, is a classic. To a young girl, she embodied the “girl power” kind of mantra. Because Nancy goes out and solves mysteries, fights bad guys and always wins in the end. The Sweet Valley series gave me glimpse into a world very different from my own. Middle school (or in my case, Intermediate) for me didn’t have cliques or bullies or cheering squads. Girls and boys don’t date (but crushes are all right) and we were still kids by Pinoy standards, but in Sweet Valley, twelve seems so mature.

The book my grandpa had was one he brought home from the time he studied in the U.S. It’s a very thick book filled with hundreds of stories: some fairy tales, some excerpts from other works, some adaptations and the like. Unfortunately, someone borrowed it and lost it, which breaks my heart.

Ok, I’ll stop at these because if I don’t, this post will reach a thousand words. 😛

Young Adult Books
Couple of YA books that I have, still fairly new. The rest I’ve got stashed back in Zamables.

Now, to the question do I still read books like these? Of course I do. I love going through the Young Adult section of bookstores looking for new reads. I think that a lot of the works geared towards the YA crowd are often more interesting and fun to read. I’m not a fan of zombies or vampires, but I do enjoy reading fantasy. I’m a fan of Diana Wynne Jones’ works, and I honestly prefer Neil Gaiman’s YA books over the ones geared toward an older crowd (but then, even his YA works have dark themes). Chris Colfer’s “Land of Stories” (both books) are also fun reads. Recently, I finished reading “Escape from Mr. Lemonciello’s Library” and that was fun too. I gobble up as many YA books as I do the other genres I read. I am currently reading Rick Riordan’s “The House of Hades”.

And I realized that I still qualify as a kid (well, teen, if you want to nitpick) when Harry Potter came out so that definitely counts as one of my favorite books while growing up. I remember trying to read “The Sorcerer’s Stone” while on a holiday in Bicol. My cousin and my brother were slow readers, so I was impatient reading with them. Snuck the book out one time, and I was hooked ever since.

Finally, what book will I give my younger self? Hmm. I would like to give my younger self (MYS) a book that will inspire her to be fearless, to take her dreams and make them come true. At the same time, I want to give MYS something that she’ll enjoy. I can’t think of a specific book though.

Looking forward to reading your answers!

P.S. Don’t forget Filipino ReaderCon this November 9 at the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila!


  1. Sharing my friend Sara’s post from years ago (2006!). She lists a few books which I enjoyed reading back then, and I forgot about these, tsk. How could I have forgotten my “first heartbreak” of Jo and Laurie? Or knowing the story of Sara and Cedie and not realizing that I read them before I saw the anime? I also liked reading encyclopedias (I had Childcraft, Charlie Brown and a couple of others).

    Obviously, I am having too much fun with this meme. 😀

  2. OMG I love Enid Blyton and those books! Do you remember those small, pocket-sized books about classic stories (Huckleberry Finn, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc.)? We had loads of that in our grade school library at ang parati kong inuunang basahin yung captions under the illustrations. 😛

    1. Yun ba yung mga manipis tapos parang mini-hardbound books sila? If yun, I think that’s the Ladybird series. I loved those! It helped me become familiar with a lot of classics, some of which I read full versions of later haha.

  3. I have yet to read Enid Blyton! Thanks for bringing her up. 🙂 I see Nancy Drew is also on your list! Reading children’s books (including YA) never gets old. Hooray!

    1. If you could find “The Treasure Hunters” that’s a good place to start. I also love her Five mystery series (one of the character’s name is Fatty and he loves disguises). Yes! Nancy Drew is an all time favorite. My cousin, on the other hand, loves Hardy Boys and we spend time talking about those two series. 😀

        1. Nancy siempre haha. I liked the boys din naman kaso I always though Nancy was awesome since mag-isa lang siya and there were two of the Hardy’s haha. Girl power, ika nga. 😛

  4. Ahhh!! Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley! We had those, too. My sister collected Sweet Valley High when we were in high school and our first hardbound fiction book was Nancy Drew. Reading Nancy Drew introduced me to the wonderful mystery and whodunnit genre.

    I discovered Diana Wynne Jones and was able to read her books because of Hayao Miyazaki’s works. 🙂

    1. I blame Nancy Drew for my fascination with mysteries too haha.

      I discovered Diana Wynne Jones through Miyazaki’s adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle too! After that I started collecting her works. I haven’t gotten the latest of the Chrestomanci yet, but I think I have most of the past books. 🙂

    1. Yeah. I wasn’t even high school when I first started reading it. I wish I’d get it back, in a rather dramatic way like stumbling across it in a secondhand bookstore, and buying it for a couple of hundred pesos. Haha. It has my grandfather’s name on it, plus the year when he purchased it. It also looked like those old books you’ll find in libraries, the kind that you think would have magic spells. 😀

      “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” is kind of like a Charlie & the Chocolate Factory meets Jumanji sort of story. Twelve kids are locked up inside this really cool library, and they have to solve puzzles in 24 hours in order to escape. I am also now able to relate to the references of the Dewey Decimal Classification System haha. Whoops, long comment. 😀

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