ADARNA Books: A Review

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As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to hoard books for less. So, I attended the 40th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) last September 2019 and spent my half-a-month worth of salary for reading materials—reference and textbooks and novels for me and my kids. Yes, I have already influenced my kids to read. Yay for small mommy victories!

Just so you know, my bff, Vanessa and I purchased children’s books from Adarna House. If I remember it right, each of us bought 50 pcs of books at a very very low price . I honestly forgot if it was P20.00 -P25.00 each or 3pcs for P100.00. It was incredibly low at that time. I told her, we could gift these books to our godchildren, nephews and nieces on Christmas.

I chose award-winning titles and I went home as if I also won something huge from the book fair.

As we all know, Adarna books are locally published reading materials written and drawn by both neophytes and decorated writers and illustrators. It creates books for babies, toddlers, school-aged children, teens and even the out-of-school youth.

For those not familiar, Adarna House was established by the National Artist for Literature, Virgilio Almario and is now managed by his family.

So, to cut the long story short, I’d like to share my personal  favorites (yes, personal because I read them first) from my Adarna book haul from last year’s MIBF.


Story: Kristine Canon

Illustration: Mariano Ching

Recommended for kids  7 years and up

This tells the story of all kids who experienced waiting  for their parents after school. That when either mommy or daddy fails to show up on time, kids imagine all unnecassary things as to why their sundos are not yet there (at their school grounds or the designated waiting area for pick up and drop off). Some would blame heavy traffic or flat tires. But there are children who would wrinkle their faces or would cry because they think that their parents do not love them or care for them anymore because they did something bad. But eventually, when their sundos show up, their faces would automatically light up and all the sadness would become a joyful end-of-the-day reunion.


Poem: Mabi David

Illustration: Yas Doctor

Translation: Karla Rey

Recommended for kids 8 years and up.

The poem used an extended simile in associating colors of fruits and vegetable with the daily activities of children.
Mornings :
Bughaw na ang langit sa parang ng malalagong damo.
Ang lasa ng berde ay lasa ng paglalaro
Ang lasa ng dilaw ay sikat ng araw, naghahari tulad ng pinya.
Sagana tulad ng tamis ng mangga, o kaya mais na maamo ang timpla.
Ang lasa ng kahel ay gintong dapithapon.


Story: Dr. Luis Gatmaitan

Illustration: Beth Parrocah-Doctolero

Recommended for kids 9 years and up.

It tells the story of cousins who used to see each other during summer vacations. Raquel, the girl with wonderful hair in various colors-blue, yellow and red–is pretty and flawless as compared to her cousin from the province, Ana. She is eloquent in English but is down-to-earth at the same time. But she always tells her cousin, “Ana, you are more blessed than I am.”

                Then one summer break when Raquel was not able to come to the province, Ana and her family decided to give her a visit. She then discovered Raquel’s real condition—she was not white but pale and her hair, colorful yes, but made of wig.

Why I support and love Adarna Books?

1. Adarna books are all age appropriate. So, mothers need not worry about the content of the books their children are reading. But it is always best to read for yourselves first before giving the books away to children.

2. Adarna books are colorful. Kids will surely have a good time scrolling back and forth or reading the materials. Toddlers and graders will surely understand the stories easily. Some, like my pre-schooler, could even translate the stories for their friends just after one reading.

3. Adarna books have stories written in two languages—English and Filipino. Like  the three above, mother tongue could be easily taught and understood by non-native language speakers (and vice versa).

4. Adarna books discuss common familial experiences  but not usually talked about inside traditional Filipino homes. Normally, children would cry when parents could not pick them up from school on time for some reasons. However, they would not be able to discuss how they felt (while waiting). Therefore, they would grow up misunderstanding each other.  “Bakit Matagal ang Sundo Ko?” clarified what feared our kids so we could assure them that we love them no matter what.

                Most parents have a hard time teaching their kids to eat healthy. Most of us fail to train our children on the importance on vitamins and minerals they could get from fruits and vegatables because we could not afford the time we could lose while we explain these to our kids. So, most of us would resort to easy ways out—fried eggs, fried chicken, hotdogs and other preserved foods. “Paano Kumain ng Kulay” colored each kid’s day with fruits and vegetables. It described their playtime, naptime, lunch and snack times, even their afternoons and night times and compared them with the tastes of good and healthy foods.

                And lastly, “Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel,” is very sensitive in dealing with cancer in children. The author uses the colors found in wigs to signify hope for a young girl’s future. The way the relationship of the cousins was narrated is very touching, that you would hope more summer vacations for Raquel and Ana.

5. Adarna books cost less than other local publishers. Do I have to explain further? Hehe.   

So, there. I hope you could include Adarna and other local bookstores in your list for the next MIBF. If you want to buy or look more about them, go to:

Disclaimer: Wala po akong bayad dito. Hehe.

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