Sari Sari Stories: Melo the Umang-Boy/ Si Melo a Mahakay a Umang
Have you traveled North to Batanes? If not, you must go. I think it may be the most unique and most beautiful place in the Philippines I have visited. It is no wonder the official tourism hashtagh is #BreathtakingBatanes. You can read our visit 3 years ago in these posts.
“Melo is a painfully timid Ivatan boy who one day finds himself in a magical adventure under the sea. He meets quirky talking sea creatures and ends up rescuing them. A wonderful tale of self-discovery that ignites the imagination.”
Something to appreciate about the Sari Sari Stories is that they contextual and frame the story. Since many of their books are in two languages, usually in English and an Austronesian language specific to the Philippines, they reference where the language is primarily used and shares context for the location within the Philippines. As you can see the text is reference both in the language used, Ivatan for this story, and also in English. There has been a resurgence in the Philippines to support Filipinos embracing and holding onto their mother tongue. There are more than 181 living languages in the Philippines and Buwan Ng Wika is a huge effort to keep this languages alive. You can read more here.
The story of Melo, a shy Ivatan boy, is full of imagination and again, silliness as he helps save an underwater community of sea animals. I appreciated the bright colors the artist used as a nod to the famous Ivatan artist, Pacita Abad. Her bright circular colors enchanted me during our visit to Batanes and the book brought me right back to that joy.
My hope is that through reading and supporting local authors we will come to know the Philippines better and feel connected to her. When we feel connected to a place we care and when we care we become involved in the positive wellbeing of that place. Pilipinas, I love you!
Sari Sari Stories, maraming salamat po for creating a library that all ages, cultures and tongues can appreciate.