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At Large

New books for new times

/ 05:08 AM November 05, 2017

Recently my two-year-old grandson Kin was fretting because his yaya, on orders of his parents, had hidden the iPad he had been playing with. I called him over. “Look, Kin, let’s read instead! Here’s the Peek-a-boo book!” I told him, holding out a storybook that had been read to him several times before. He approached, frowning. Then he grabbed the book, threw it on the floor, and started stomping on it. You couldn’t think of a better way to show dislike — nay, disdain — for books than that!

I’m just hoping that in time, the book-lover in him will emerge. Still fresh in my memory are bedtimes spent with my children, including Kin’s father, putting them to sleep with storytelling time. Often the time meant to lull them to sleep would stretch into an hour or more, with two or three rereadings of the chosen book, or readings of other books on hand. Those were moments of bonding and quiet, moments I looked forward to as a way of destressing as well.


My husband once commented that I could read one book in a day, staying up well beyond midnight (though failing eyesight these days stretches the time to almost a week). “It’s like she has an exam the next day,” he laughingly told a mutual friend.

I have a friend who always carries a book with her wherever she goes. She says it’s a handy means of whiling away time in waiting rooms, long queues, or while waiting for friends and associates. I suppose she could be carrying a Kindle or some such device with her now, though knowing our shared love for print, the odds are she still lugs around paperbacks.

(As an aside, I read a report that sales of Kindle and other ebooks have been steadily declining, while “brick-and-mortar” bookstores are making a comeback, proving that the lure of print and newsprint remains strong.)

For the most part, I read for leisure, for pleasure. I don’t quite “get” people who enter bookstores and head straight for the “business” or “reference” bookshelves.

But when I was in grade school, I awaited the arrival of brand-new textbooks with anticipation. And this was not just for my own textbooks but even for those of my siblings. I especially liked the textbooks of my brother Boboy who went to Xavier School for his elementary grades. The books were almost all imported, printed in full color, redolent of fresh bookpaper. I would often have read all of his textbooks (as well as mine) weeks before the start of the school year.

Now I hear that in some schools, students no longer have to lug around backpacks or wheeled mini-luggage filled with heavy books. Instead, all they need are tablets that contain all their textbooks and references, and when in need of research, they just have to search Google.

Recent guests at the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel were executives of SC Mardison Corp., a “printing, publishing, importing and bookselling company” that is launching five new series of textbooks meant to match the curriculum of the K-to-12 program.

The five textbook series are: “Araling Panlipunan sa Bagong Panahon” (Social Studies in Current Times), “Get Engaged in English” for students from Grades 1-6, “Spark Science” that teaches learners “content and skill development through exploring and investigating,” “Filipino sa Bagong Panahon” (Filipino for Current Times) reading and language textbooks for Grades 1-6, and “Get Engaged in MAPEH,” a textbook series for Music, Art, Physical Education and Health.

The authors of these textbooks are active and retired teachers from both public and private schools, including Dr. Florencia Domingo as executive editor. SC Mardison itself is an acronym for Simon Crisostomo, founder of the company, and Crisostomo’s wife Ditas, and their children Paolo, Antonino and Ulysses (the current managing director). SC Mardison engages in book production and distribution, along with businesses in realty development and management.


It’s good to know that while the K-to-12 program launches a new direction in the country’s basic education, students can now avail themselves of textbooks responding to these new challenges.

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TAGS: At Large, books, ebooks, Rina Jimenez-David, tablets
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