Storytelling Session at Mater Dolorosa Parish, East Rembo
When people ask me why I like children’s books—or making them—the answer is quite simple. There’s nothing like the sight of a child engaged with a children’s book. Once he opens it, the book starts a life of its own, engulfing the child in a myriad words and images, bringing him farther and farther away from the real world. He leafs through it over and over. His eyes light up. And then you lose the child; he is now trapped in the book’s pages.
Last Saturday, when we had the privilege of storytelling to the kids of the Ayala Intel Computer Clubhouse at the Mater Dolorosa Parish (East Rembo), the experience with books was just as enchanting, but the books were brought to life by the Rock Ed volunteer storytellers. Their eyes lit up when Ebong Joson unleashed the beginning of the tale of the Ibong Adarna—there were around 40 pairs all in all. The kids hung on to Ebong’s every word. Astarte Abraham’s storytelling was spunky and energetic. The kids cackled with her, like little witches and warlocks, as they read the story, Bru-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, Bru-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi. Ronnie Lazaro read the tale of the unloved ampalaya, with such simplicity, and the children were thrilled to actually have a TV star read a story to them. And of course, who could forget the way music and prose melded, when it was Lourd de Veyra’s turn. The musician-poet read stories, while his brother Francis was strumming a guitar in the background. There was also a young storyteller from Museo Pambata who was only a two or three years older than her audience.
It was, for me, the best kind of storytelling-- no flashy costumes, complicated props or large visual aid--just a storyteller, aided only by his voice and a book, enthralling a wide-eyed audience. This is the kind of magic that Rock Ed wants Filipino kids to experience. This is the kind of magic that will bring kids to the next Rock Ed storytelling site, to listen to storytellers armed only with children’s books and voices that carry.