How did your partnership with Sambat Trust start?
Early this year, Bookmark formally launched the sixteen titles of the Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series. I requested the kind Ms. Zarah C. Gagatiga, Sambat Trust Library Consultant, for a simple, objective review of the series. She gladly accepted my request and informed me that the books would be donated to Sambat Trust.
I endorsed it to my Editor-in-Chief Eddie Yabut and he approved it since Bookmark has been supporting public and private schools through donating textbooks and other trade titles. We are glad that we have helped Sambat Trust in promoting reading among children through their library project.
The Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series is a project conceived by Bookmark's president, Ambassador Bienvenido A. Tan, Jr., back in 2008. His primary goal was “to give proper role models to our youth and to teach English.” He was looking for new Filipino heroes from the 19th and 20th centuries to be endorsed to the present generation. He then listed Filipino revolutionaries who remain or have the power to inspire. He saw them as modern heroes. All of them have spent their lifetime working to effect a change in Philippine society.
Together with Editorial Head and EIC Eddie Yabut, Ambassador Tan collaborated with authors and artists. They then started printing the books later that year. Each story generally contains a main topic that shows a value, characteristic, or a good example of an incident in the life of a modern hero.
Bookmark embarked on these nonfiction children’s books to turn the life of each hero into an interesting read for today’s children, who are more attuned or familiar with so much Internet, cartoon characters, and celluloid heroes.
Primarily, early reading for Filipino children is what we encourage.
The Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series highlights the value of hard working individuals in various fields, other than politics and show business, who might otherwise go unnoticed by students and adults alike. Bookmark plans to continue the series by putting out more books and presenting more new role models for the youth.
The series is an excellent introduction to the abundance of heroes to the youth today. Teachers can use this for relevant, nonfiction, real-life classroom instruction, especially for the K to 12 Basic Education Program by the Department of Education.
The range of books so far is on religious individuals, the radicals, the martyrs, and the mentors. This reflects and celebrates the vast diversity of lives worth emulating: new heroes have risen among the rest of us.
In developing books for the Filipinos and the youth, Bookmark is committed to providing and empowering minds and spirits. By publishing the Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series and other titles, we disseminate knowledge and information, propagate values, and develop wholesome attitudes.
Winning the NCBA Kids’ Choice Award for "The Day of Darkness" by Gutch Gutierrez and Zig Marasigan was very humbling because we develop and publish children’s books simply to support the local children’s book publishing and contribute to addressing the dearth of Philippine titles and reading materials for Filipino children. It gave satisfaction to the authors, artists, and publishers for all their sheer hard work.
Being judged by kids and selected as a winner inspires Bookmark to produce more and more quality children’s books in English and Filipino; to promote reading while they are young and make them lifelong readers.
To the supporters, keep supporting Sambat Trust. We hope here in Bookmark that their endeavour of setting up and building libraries for children lasts for a long time and will spread nationwide. Help them nurture the culture of reading!
To the beneficiaries – the teachers, librarians, and students – keep reading. Be a hero in small ways both at home and in school. May you become inspiring role models and truly selfless leaders admirable enough to be worth documenting in books about modern heroes!