Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik is a bilingual children’s book that features text in both English and Cebuano. The book was written by Christina Newhard, author and founder of Sari-Sari Storybooks. She is biracial, born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the USA as a child. Let’s hear more about what inspires her!
What languages do you and/or your family speak?
I speak English and know a few words and phrases in Tagalog. My mother speaks Tagalog. It seems ironic that I create bilingual books, but I have learned so much about the richness of Filipino cultures through the different regional languages of the Philippines.
What was your inspiration for writing bilingual children’s books?
The Philippines has over 180 different languages but most books are published in English or Filipino(Tagalog). There is so much diversity in culture and language within the Philippines and our books were a way to help people see those different perspectives.
The Philippine education system has a Mother Tongue Based-Multilingual Education policy, in which schools use local language as the primary language of instruction and then later introduce English and Filipino, which are the national languages. Our books can be used to support this policy, where there might be a lack of reading material in the local language. And the books are great for Filipinos across the globe to see their mother tongue in printed books, because representation matters!
Please describe what goes on behind the scenes to make a book.
There are many people that helped our books come to life. I worked with writers, illustrators, and community organizations in the Philippines to capture the language and culture of each region. Writing bilingual books requires additional editing and proofing. Since printing books comes at a high cost, I also did a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to for the books. Thanks to our many donors were able to publish 3 titles!
Tell us about your current titles.
Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik is written in English and Cebuano. One of the characters is a tik-tik, a mythical creature also known as an aswang or manananggal, it has wings, a long tongue, and can separate their torso from their lower body. The story has a whimsical twist on this creature that is usually in horror movies.
Melo the Umang Boy is written in English and Ivatan. Melo is a shy boy who goes on a magical undersea adventure filled with talking sea creatures.
Amina and the City of Flowers is written English and Chavacano. Amina is a young weaver and finds inspiration for her loom in diversity and color of Zamboanga City.
And last but not least, what is your favorite Filipino food?
That’s a hard question! I’m gonna have to choose sinigang na bangus (milkfish soup flavored with tamarinds).
Learn more about upcoming books at http://sarisaristorybooks.com.
Christina is generously offering a paperback copy of Kalipay and the Tiniest Tiktik to one lucky winner. The giveaway starts at midnight (CST) 3-22-19 and runs through 1159pm (CST) 3-28-19, and is open to residents of the USA. Good Luck!