Just launched my first solo children's book, Hating Kapatid at the Manila International Book Fair. I was gratified that so many people were buying it and asking me to sign.
I'm glad of course that people appreciate the book and pleased for the appreciation directed toward the concept and story. That's my part. Of course there are others involved in the production of a book, and I'd like to thank them too: The publisher, of course, Adarna. The illustrator, Fran Alvarez, whose bright-colored cover alone drew so many people to study the book more closely.
There are others too, some of whom might be surprised at their role. One is my daughter's CDC classmate Elijah, who reacted when a classmate seated at another table took dumplings from the serving dish at Elijah's table: "Ang daya!" ("That's not fair!") We grown-ups present (it was a class party of sorts) laughed. One of his teachers, Teacher Gab, jovially processed the situation with him. I remembered the boy had an older sister and I figured that accounted for his advanced awareness, at only 3 years old, of the idea of fairness.
It also reminded me of a story I had begun a year or so back, in response to Adarna's request for math-related stories. I drew from my childhood memories and started writing a story about fractions centering on the common conflict of two siblings over how to divide and share their food. I had stopped writing as I had been stuck for a resolution, but the classroom situation helped me reboot. I drew on Elijah's angst, realizing that my character was too innocent and meek to resolve her situation on her own. I made her character strong enough to bring the story to crisis and have her take part in resolving it as well (By the way, though it can't be told from the story as it is, the main character was conceived as a girl. It was clever of the illustrator to use bugs instead, which broadens the possibility of the gender being male or female. It doesn't really seem important to the story in the end, anyway.)
So I should thank CDC too. And last but not the least my daughter, whose anxiety over the impending birth of her baby brother gave me the inspiration to complete this story. I was searching for stories about sibling relationships and I found very few on Philippine publishers' websites at that time. A story about waiting for a new baby would have seemed more natural, but I found there were several already. In any case, the baby would have arrived before my story could be published. The baby is now a toddler, in fact, so my book about good sibling relationships (and fractions) has come out at the right time for my kids. And it seems to suit a lot of other people as well. I'm glad.
The book fair is ongoing until the 15th. I don't know if I can make it back, as it is far from my home. But I'm glad I went.