Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Trip to Fantasy and Reality in a Week

Last week, I was overwhelmed by the Komik Kon in Diliman. I can hardly digest how a bunch of grown ups choose to embrace the world of fantasy through comics. I mean it’s one thing to like comics; it’s a whole lot of other thing to live it.

As much as reality is murky at times, I’d rather stick with it. As I see it, it is better to walk the path of life with eyes wide open majority of the time and with feet grounded on whatever trail you opt to trek than to float dreamily thereby missing the good and the bad hits that make up life.

Perhaps it is along this principle that our modern-day children storytellers create their tales. After attending A Day with Weavers of Magic: Writing, Illustrating, and Telling Stories for Children, also in Diliman, I have discovered a new breed of children’s book out in our country.

They are books that tackle reality but are packaged for children. They are primarily intended as therapy for kids with less than perfect lives. And for those children who have the luxury of close-to-perfect lives, these books may open their eyes to whatever it is that’s out there, making them appreciate more what they have now.

I got myself some of those books. Allow me to share them.

Ang Pitong Tanga (The Seven Idiots)
By Severino Reyes

As vulgar as the title may sound, it carries a tinge of humor. But then again, dealing and living with a bunch of fools with no intentions of improving themselves will later prove to be frustrating as soon as its being funny fades away.

Ulkkk! Di ko malunok ang tableta! (Ulkkk! I can’t swallow that Tablet!)
By Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D.

This book could have had me as the lead. As a child and grown up, I am not blessed with the ability to swallow tablets or even capsules. (You can just imagine why, even until now, I try to get away from taking vitamins and medicines—prescribed or otherwise.) Funny, yes it is. But not when you’re the one sick and you can’t run away from the pills. I remember how excruciating it was for me to take my antibiotics when a cyst was removed from my wrist when I was 12 years old.

As much as this book suggests techniques for kids to swallow their tablets, it also alerts parents not to take such problem for granted and to be the constant source of encouragement to their kids as they conquer their inabilities—whether it is in swallowing tablets or other bigger stuff, so to speak.

Sandosenang Sapatos (A Dozen Pairs of Shoes)
By Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D.

This book is a heart-pricking story of a shoemaker dad and his two girls, Karina and Susie. While one daughter enjoys the shoes her dad makes, the other only gets to wear shoes in her dreams because she wasn’t born like most of us are.

Sandosenang Sapatos relays how a disabled child feels “emotionally whole” through the love that comes from her family.

By Augie Rivera

XileF is a story about a dyslexic boy named Felix who, through the help of the people around him, learns to hurdle his reading problem.

Papa’s House, Mama’s House
By Jean Lee C. Patindol

This book, intended for children six to seven years old, relays the story of a child with separated parents. It sees the world from his point of view which is muddled by the uniqueness of his family’s set-up.

The essence of the story assures a child who shares the same fate as the main character that it is not his fault why he lives differently than most of his peers, and that given the two homes he has, he clearly is loved by both his parents nonetheless.

Perhaps it is healthy to expose ourselves to fantasy at times. It may after all, serve as a quick break from the harsh side of what is real.

But if experts say that children can handle reality as the growing line of new-age children's books proves it, why not we, adults, face it, too?

We reside in reality anyway. We might as well learn to appreciate it in the best way we can.

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