Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Resources for Parents and Teachers

In my author's website, there are links to resources that might be very helpful to parents and teachers alike.

The parent resources section contains links on introducing children to reading and the importance of reading aloud to children. The photo links point to sites with articles on how to stimulate a child's mind and getting actively involved in your child's education.

The teacher resources section contains free downloadable lesson plans developed by fellow teachers in the field who have tested these plans in their own classes. They are also members of the Reading Association of the Philippines. The section also contains free downloadable papers and articles, as well as links to other websites, which might be helpful for teachers in using my books, as well as other similar books, in their field.

Check them out now by clicking on the highlighted links above.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Bedtime Story*

the other night, i came home very late at night from the week-long trainers' training my PJ colleagues and i were conducting. i was hungry and tired and sleepy, and after a quick dinner and shower, i was set to retire for the day.

as Bea dozed off beside me, Paolo rummaged through my bedside drawer to look for some stuff of his that he placed in there. i was also dozing off too when he nudged me to ask what the thing that he was holding in his hand was.

it was a sealed box of condoms from long ago.

i mumbled something like, "ohhh... it's for my health, palangga (dear). let's go to sleep." and i took it from him and put it inside the other bedside drawer by my side of the bed.

knowing Paolo, he didn't let me off the hook. "yes, but what does it do for your health?"

after a careful pause, i sighed and said, "it's so babies aren't made before we're ready for them."

paolo: how?

me: let's talk about it some other time... when you're more grown up and ready."

paolo: i want to talk about it now. i'm ready!

me: i don't think you are. you're only 9 years old. you have to grow up to be a young man, at least, to understand these things.

paolo: i am grown up now! and i want to understand now. try me. you said im a smart boy!

me (after a very loooooong pause): ok. you already know how babies are made, right?

paolo: yes, when the sperm and the egg meet.

me: okay, good. and you know where the sperm and the egg come from, right?

paolo: yes, from the penis and the vagina. when a man and a woman have sex.

me (a longer pause): okay. that's right. so the thing in the box that you saw is used to wrap the penis in so the sperm doesn't come out to meet the egg.

paolo (long pause too): so why do you have it with you still? are you having sex?

me: nope, not right now. you see how it's sealed? that means i haven't used it even.

paolo: but why do you keep it still? do you plan on having sex?

me (really long pause): i wouldn't call it just sex, palangga. ... i call it making love. someday, when i fall in love again and marry, i would want to make love with my husband, too.

paolo (loooooong pause, and when he spoke next, his voice was breaking, and he was starting to sob): i don't like it. i don't like it at all.

me (quiet)

paolo: why do you have to make love to your husband?

me (sighing): it's one special way that a man and woman who love each other show their love for each other.

paolo: can you not show it some other ways?

me: of course, palangga. you can, and you should. but when you love your husband or your wife very much, you want to share your body with them too, not just your heart. you feel it in both your body and your heart. it's as natural as breathing and eating.

paolo: where will you do it?

me: in the privacy of our bedroom of course.

paolo: what if i want to go inside your bedroom? and where will i sleep?

me: you will have a room of your own palangga. if you want to go inside, you can just knock.

paolo: and you will stop having sex?

me: yes.

paolo (long pause): ok.

me (quiet)

paolo: i'll just make another bedroom for you that says "do not disturb". you can do it there.

me: ok. thank you.

paolo: what if i don't want you to have sex?

me: i'm sorry, then. even if im your mom and i love you very much, it is my body and my heart. it's my choice on whether id want to share it with a man again, and with whom. love means respect, too. if you love me, you will respect my choice, as i respect yours. don't i respect your choices and not force you to do things you don't want to do?

paolo: yes.

me: let's go to sleep, palangga...

paolo: what if your husband does not want to have sex but you do? will you force him?

me: no palangga. i will wait for him. in the same way that he cannot force me too if he truly loves me.

paolo: i heard that in Sunday School! Love is patient.

me: yes. that's right.

paolo (really long thoughtful pause, but his breaking voice was becoming fuller now): now i know why Manang won't tell me about it.

me: about what, palangga?

paolo: about the thing i just saw.

me: ok.

paolo: but i understand now, see? after 5 minutes, i understand!

me (smiling now): yes, palangga. come here and give me a hug. i am proud of you. you're growing to be a fine little man now."

paolo (hugging me back): and i know what a prostitute is, too!

me: what is it, palangga?

paolo: it's someone who shares their body in sex so they can be paid with money.

me: yes, you are right there, too.

paolo: why do people do that?

me: because it's a way for them to earn the money they need.

paolo: why can't they just work for it some other way?

me: i don't know palangga.... maybe no one will give them work, and they need the money bad. maybe they haven't gone to school and they can't work at other jobs..."

paolo: when you have sex with someone you do not love, you're like being an animal.

me (long, amazed pause): ... yes. you are right, palangga. and it's not a good feeling, too.

me (getting a better grip): " ... and men who have sex with prostitutes; they make the prostitutes even more helpless."

paolo: so love is about respecting choices and being patient.

me: yes, palangga.

paolo (long, thoughtful pause then gives me a tight hug): "good night, ma. i love and respect you ma!"



that was quite a surprising and dangerous call for me!

one never knows when the really important moments and opportunity to mark a young soul's life comes.

children do keep you on your toes.

oohhh, thank you God, i believe i navigated that one well, huh?

*this was originally posted in my other blog, Life Happens.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Story Behind "My One-Boobed Mamma"

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in January 2000; my sister, with stage 2 breast cancer, in August 2003. They have both beautifully survived and are still zestily living their lives today. Both had mastectomy but neither opted for chemotherapy.

My mother simply insisted that if she just had 6 months to live anyway, she would die with her hair and makeup on. Now, seven years later, the doctor who diagnosed her is dead, while she is still beautifully alive!

My sister took to alternative healing paths through diet and lifestyle change and is actually looking slimmer now, aside from being healthier than ever, with all test results looking good.

I also have two best friends and mentors, more than a decade older than I, who were diagnosed with breast cancer at around this time. Like my mom and sister, you would never know they had it just by looking at them, because of their positive spirit and attitude and this glow they had around them.

Both had mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy. They wore beautiful scarves, though, with matching clothes and shoes, and everyone envied them for how fabulous they looked!

Another friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer, had mastectomy, and also had marriage problems soon after with her husband having affairs here and there. One day, she confided to me how she felt very hurt by what her then nine-year-old daughter told her, “It’s your fault that Dad went away. You’re less of a woman now because of your cancer!!!”

Read more of the story here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Story Behind "Tight Times"

When my eldest daughter, Thea, was then four years old and in pre-school, I picked her up from school one day with a report from her teacher that she got into a fight with a classmate.

Apparently, her classmate had been asking her how many cars we have and bragged about how many cars they had. Thea said we had one car, and the classmate said, “Whaaaattt? You have only ONE car? We have five cars. You must be poor.”

At that time, Thea had no understanding of the concept of “poor”, but the way the classmate said it must have gotten to her. “No, we’re not!” she retorted back.

And the classmate said, “Yes you are!”


“You are, too!”

It went on and on that way until they got into a shouting match and Thea cried as her classmates ganged up on her. The teacher soon broke it up and discussed what happened with the group.

She told me she was hard put on how to explain “poor” to the children, and focused on discussing with them about good manners and not shouting at others.

After we got home, I asked Thea for her side of the story and she basically confirmed the details as they transpired. Then, she asked me too, “What is poor, Mama?”

Read more of the story here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Story Behind "Papa's House, Mama's House"

Some weeks after my husband and I separated, my then five-year-old son, Paolo, after a trip to the neighborhood sari-sari store, asked me, “Mama, what is a broken home?”

Apparently, the neighbors, after learning of the changes in our household, asked my guileless son how he felt now that he was a child of a broken home. How adults can be so irresponsibly cruel!

It was hard to come up with a quick answer: “Hmm… I think it’s a house with broken windows. Do you see any broken windows in our house?” And he said, “Nope.” I asked further, “Do you feel broken?” He thought a while longer, then said, “Nope.” So I concluded, “Then the neighbors are wrong.”

Read more of the story here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My 2008 Writing Resolutions

1. Immerse my self in reading Newberry-awarded books for first 3 months of the year, even as
2. I dig into the 2008 Children's Book Writers' and Illustrators' Market, in preparation for
3. Writing a fresh batch of children's stories starting April and keep at it until the end of the year.
4. Sell to international publishers after each story is finished.

Note: Pending the availability of my professionally-made author website (many thanks to Bob : >), my "interim" author website, which I had fun setting up just yesterday (main pages, subpages and file links to be completed today and tomorrow, at the latest) is now up:


Friday, January 4, 2008

The Books

Papa’s House, Mama’s House won the 2004 Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) Alfredo Salanga Prize for Children’s Literature Award. It was also a finalist for the 2005 Manila Critics’ Circle National Book Awards – Children’s Literature category. The PBBY is the Philippine National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a world organization founded in Zurich in 1953 that promotes international understanding through children’s books.

It has been included in the list of the Philippines’ best books for children in The Bookworm Buddy: A Guide to the Best Philippine Children’s Literature,” by Rica Bolipata Santos and Amy Vijaynagar (illustrations by Robert Magnuson; published by Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation Inc., 2006). It is also included in PBBY board member and children’s book reviewer Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz’ list of favorite books for children.

Tight Times won the 2007 PBBY Alfredo Salanga Prize for Children’s Literature Award. This was first featured in Newsbreak’s Christmas 2006 issue, and described as, “this is the second time (the author has) bagged the annual prize in just three years. But the bigger story is that in both occasions, her winning entries tackled serious family issues that parents and traditional educators wouldn’t expect to find—or would refuse to find—in children’s books."

Both books are published by Adarna House, Inc. and are currently open for international licensing and distribution.

My One-Boobed Mamma is currently being published by Living Waters Publishing Company for international distribution and will be available by 2009, at the latest. It was used by the Philippines’ National Book Development Board in its 2007 Illustrators’ Contest.

Author Website

My very own author website,, is presently under construction. Thanks to my very special friend, Bob Mankivsky, who inspired the idea and offered his professional expertise to help me set it up. I take care of the copy; he takes care of the technicalities and logistics. I have never had a friend support me in my deepest and lifelong Dream this way before, and for this, I am forever touched and grateful.

The website is designed primarily to help parents and teachers who are looking for resources to help them help the children in their care.

The site introduction goes like this--

One of the toughest tasks for any parent or teacher is helping a child cope with a challenging life situation.
When your child asks questions that deal with painful truths, how does one find the words to answer them?

A child’s book can help answer these questions.

Writing kids’ books with important lessons for life is what Philippine-based author, Jeanette C. Patindol, has become known for. Her award-winning children’s books, tackling life-challenges like marital separation, money problems and breast cancer, have also become popular among adult readers, described by readers as: “(the books) minister to both adults and children alike”[1], and “written simply but with a mystical meaning.”[2]

[1] Mervyn Misajon, PhD., Development Studies and Futures Studies professor, University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City, Philippines

[2] Regina Groyon, M.A., former English Literature professor and Languages Dept. Chair, University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City, Philippines

When the author website is up, this blog is intended to complement that site. It will share experiences, ideas and information here on anything and everything related to-- as this blog's blurb says-- "kids, life with kids, books, reading, writing, lessons for life".

Thank you for visiting!

To keep your self posted to this blog, please click on the RSS feed button (click on "Subscribe to Posts" at the bottom of the page) in this site.

2008: I'm Coming Out

I have always been writing, ever since I learned how to write. I made my first journal at 8 years old, and started writing freelance for national magazines at 14 years old.

But, writing has always been a guilty pleasure, if not a guilty secret altogether. Family and friends saw it as a "hobby"; I treated it as my life-preserver, if not life-saver during the darkest moments of my life. Still, I believed what other people thought and said more than I believed what I thought and said of my writing and my own life.

So, along the way, for most of my life, I publicly announced I wanted to be a doctor, then a nun, but ended up first, a businesswoman, then a wife and mother, then a teacher, then a single parent and reborn woman reclaiming and reinventing herself and handcrafting her life on her own terms this time-- this last occupation starting only in 2002, after I heeded the louder rumblings of my soul around the year 2000, when I also decided to get serious with my creative writing dreams, wrote my first tentative fiction, attended my first creative writing workshop and had one of my first fictions published in a U.S.-based popular book collection at that.

In short, I traveled all over, took many detours, only to finally give in to the tugs of my heart and come back to my first love and passion, creative writing, at 32.

It has been a wonderful journey since then, and I never regret following my heart in this path. In the last five years alone, I have been granted three more fellowships to prestigious and highly-competitive national writing workshops, won 2 national awards for my children's stories, and lately, signed my first Contract with a U.S.-based publishing company for the publication in storybook form and international distribution of another one of my children's stories.

Still, I have always been half-in, half-out with my writing-- teacher, researcher, entrepreneur, and mother by day, then writer only in the depths of the night, when everyone else is asleep and I can finally unclothe my self and just be me, sitting and watching and writing with my mind, heart and soul.

Writing has been like a devoted, faithful lover all throughout my life, frequently spurned or set aside for other more "important" things and pursuits, yet the one thing that also consistently saves me from my self, and keeps my spirit alive and the fires inside aflame.

It is time to give this lasting lover its due and make it my husband for life now, and declare it so for all the world to hear and see.

It deserves nothing less.