Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays!!!

The slowest laptop in the world + no Internet access = the height of frustration

I have been having problems with my Internet service provider and will be visiting family for the holidays. I'll be back blogging next year!

Happy Holidays, everyone. ~^o^~

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear 16-Year-Old Me

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

If you care about children and the books they read. . .

You'll love and support this proclamation!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: My Mommy :o)

I have the most beautiful mommy in the world. <3 She was a beauty queen and model for many years!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Press Release: eBooks now made accessible to Filipinos through

Filipinos can now have easier access to eBooks through the online eBookstore, Likewise, authors and publishers can now distribute their eBooks more widely and securely through the same website, which was launched on November 11, 2011 from 4-7PM at the Celebrity Sports Club Grand Ballroom. is owned and developed by Flipside Publishing Services, a sister company of Flipside Digital Content. Flipside Digital Content, previously just a conversion house catering to four of the top six international publishers, is responsible for publishing and co-publishing more than 70 Filipino and Asian eBooks on Amazon, Apple iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble just in its first six months of operation. Most of these international eBookstores, however, are not available to the local populace. Filipinos can only buy from Amazon, albeit with an added cost of $2 per book.

Now, Flipside is making eBooks more accessible especially for Filipinos through Readers can download eBooks onto their Apple or Android devices. They can even download it onto their PCs or Macs. Whereas before, Filipinos could only buy eBooks legitimately if they had credit cards, but with Flipreads, they may use other payment gateways such as CashSense and, in the near future, Globe GCash, and Smart Money.

Flipreads also serves as a secure distribution platform for Filipino publishers, authors, and other content providers. Therefore, publishers can now sell their eBooks securely through Authors can also opt to independently publish their titles through the site. Other institutions and entities can also distribute their digital materials safely through Flipreads.

eBooks distributed through Flipreads can be made secure through the use of Adobe Content Server’s DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and is the means by which eBooks are protected from casual piracy. Alternatively, authors and publishers may choose to distribute their eBooks for free through the Flipreads site.

Flipreads also hopes to provide a venue to publishers and authors to bring previously out-of-print titles back into circulation. Since everything is online, these titles will also be available to an international market.

For more information, email or call +632-5709255 or +63917-6206244.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What is literacy?

“'Literacy has always been defined by the technology,' said Nichole Pinkard, founder of Chicago’s Digital Youth Network in a PBS special on 21st century learning that aired in February. 'Before the printing press, your ability to orally recite something meant [you were] literate.' In today’s media-saturated world, the concept of literacy is again changing. According to Pinkard, kids in school today may not be considered literate in the future if they don’t fundamentally understand new forms of media — things like blogs, Twitter and streaming video. To be truly literate, though, you also need to be able to think critically about media, discern fact from fiction, news from opinion, trusted from untrustworthy. These issues have always been thorny, but the explosion of self-publishing has only made media literacy more vital to the preservation of our democratic society.”

- Why New Media Literacy Is Vital for Quality Journalism

Thanks for this, Teaching Literacy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Studentsssssss


And her twin sister of course. :o)

An (my student several years ago) and En are influential fashion and photography bloggers. They are on Preview magazine's Creative It List 2011! Check out their blog here.

P.S. An isn't just a pretty face either. She's smart and her essays for my class were always well-written.

P.P.S. Yes, I will continue to blog and brag about my students here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The first Filipino ReaderCon was a success!

THANK YOU to all the sponsors of the first Filipino Reader Conference:

Vibal Publishing House, Inc.

Primetrade Asia, Inc.

Flipside Digital Content Company, Inc.

Scholastic Philippines

OMF Literature

Hachette Philippines

Tie Me Up, Buttercup

National Book Development Board

The ReaderCon included a keynote speech on "prosumers" (producers who are also consumers/consumers who are also producers), panels on book clubs and book blogging, and book raffles. It felt like a party with fun people eating yummy food, sharing their love and passion for books and social media, and celebrating and promoting the reading COMMUNITY. I'd like to thank the sponsors again, and I'd most especially like to thank the head organizer and my good friend Honey de Peralta. ~^o^~

I look forward to next year's ReaderCon. Par-tay, par-tay!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Author/Illustrator Interview: Zachariah Ohora

Today I welcome into the wardrobe Zachariah OHora, the author and illustrator of Stop Snoring, Bernard! (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2011). As you will see in the book trailer below (and the pictures above), Stop Snoring, Bernard! is a picture book that will induce giggles as well as touch hearts as Bernard tries to find a new place to sleep at the zoo - his fellow sea otters have kicked him out because he is a chronic snorer!

Hi, Zach! Let's talk about your influences and inspirations.

What are the top five picture books that turned you into a picture book author/illustrator? What was it about them that led you down the path to writing and illustrating your own picture book?

The earliest books that I remember loving were Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? and his Rabbit and His Friends Golden Book, the one about the Platypus, I was obsessed with the scene where the Platypus joined the circus and was hanging out eating ice cream and lollipops, it made me want to join the circus! I guess for the ice cream? My mom was pretty into nutrition at the time and we weren't allowed anything with sugar so that must have seemed insane that you could have a job that involved ice cream AND lollipops.


Here is a link to a blog that has the entire book scanned, I still look at this for inspiration.

Wow, thank you for the link. That ice cream cone is almost as big as the platypus!

Harold and the Purple Crayon was one of the few books with a limited palette that I liked, and the magic simplicity of it was pretty profound, even as a little kid.

I agree!

I was also drawn to the linework of Syd Hoff, like Danny and the Dinosaur and Margaret Bloy Graham's Harry and the Dirty Dog.

I realize that I'm going over the limit of Top Five here, but the single most influential picture book that made me think, THIS is what I want to do was The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith. This came out when I was in high school, and I was blown away. It was funny, a little subversive and Lane Smith used collage and other techniques in ways that I never saw before.

I was also blown away by The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. (My third grade teacher read it to the class.)

Where do you go, and what do you do for inspiration for your work?

Often I will go to libraries and look at picture books, other times I walk around the city and go record shopping for inspiration.

According to your author bio, you are "known to snore, sometimes loudly." Is Stop Snoring, Bernard! based on a true story?

The truth about the snoring thing, after I wrote my first picture book and sent it out to be roundly rejected, my wife and I brainstormed ideas for a new book. She produced a list of annoying things I do and said I could do a book on each of these things, and uh, it's quite a long list, and snoring kind of leapt to the top.

My absolute favorite thing about Stop Snoring, Bernard! is the amazingly expressive facial expressions on the animals. Can you please share your creative process for illustrating the characters and some character studies?

Sometimes making gifts or decorative objects is a good way to create characters because I am thinking more about the person I am making it for, what would make them laugh or some little nuance of their personality and the character starts to take on a life of its own.

My wife Lydia and I have a long standing game of cute ping pong, where we send each other the cutest possible pictures of animals found on the internet or drawn by hand. At some point baby dachshunds and baby otters started to appear pretty regularly. The first painting I did of an otter that evolved into Bernard, was this one.

Once I have a story or setting in mind, I will visit say, a zoo and snap photos for reference.

What is your favorite reaction to Stop Snoring, Bernard! from a wee one?

There have been some really fun moments during book readings, but I'm especially proud and humbled that my son Oskar who is almost four, and can't read, has memorized every word of Stop Snoring, Bernard! and he "reads" it to me!

Awww. Do you have a message for your wee readers?

If I had a message, it would probably be "Stay Fuzzy and Hopeful." It's also a reminder to myself to try not to let life make you too cynical and to stop and appreciate the little fuzzy moments in life.

Reading Stop Snoring, Bernard! to wee ones is definitely a fuzzy moment!

Can you please give us a photo tour of your studio? :o)

Here is a tour, I have to warn you though, it's in its real day to day, cluttered and messy state. I work out of my house in a room in the middle of the second floor. I have two little boys who like to come in and "work" with Daddy. I also have a couple pairs of good headphones so that I can block out the chaos that seeps through the studio door.

My computer desk and my work desk. Work in progress.

This is the wall I put up character studies and books and manuscripts I'm working on. The images of the gorilla and the little girl are the beginning of a book called Nilsson and Amelia. It's about a Gorilla who throws big fits and a little girl who tries to help him respond in a more civilized way. It's slated to come out Summer 2013 with Penguin. In the center is my lucky bamboo that I've had since before we moved from Brooklyn three years ago.

A shelf of hand painted stacking doll character studies. And a TIE fighter I found with Richard Scarry's Hilda the hippo at the helm.

I'm lucky to have some friends who are super talented illustrators whose work I find inspiring. This piece is by Tim Gough. I love the color palette!

This is my supply closet, it looks neat on the outside, but the inside is a jungle of paper scraps, artwork, office supplies and fun stuff like taxes. The eye chart my wife found in Berlin at an old flea market and the boxes up top are some vintage reel to reel boxes that she gave me for my birthday.

My wife Lydia Ricci is also an amazing artist and designer. The piece on the upper right is some of her collage work and below is my patented Auto-Magnetic-Idea Story Machine Maker. Essentially, a stack of 3X5 cards with story ideas both bad and good to refer to when I'm drawing a blank.

Thank you so much for answering my questions and for the studio tour, Zach! Congratulations on winning the Founder's Award of the Society of Illustrators' 2011 Original Art Awards for Stop Snoring, Bernard!

See you there? =D

Friday, September 02, 2011

What if we had a chance to remember things that we never actually experienced?

A beautiful short film from Wongfu Productions. :o) You know, I actually live for this. For creative people and their work and sharing their work.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This reminded me of my childhood!

Yikes! The still for the video is so NOT RIGHT. But I swear it isn't a lewd video.

"What if adults argued like children? What if the courtroom operated with playground rules?"

EPIC short film from Wong Fu Productions! XD

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So what do English teachers do for fun?

They eat good food.

They visit cemeteries where revolutionaries used to secretly meet.

They visit old houses.

And old churches.

Then they eat again. ~^O^~