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A Bookshop's Birthday Party

Cupcakes made by Sugarhigh
at Cranberry Bakeshop
For Mt Cloud Bookshop's third anniversary, the Big Little Sister and I decided to throw a children's party. We welcomed about 30 kids, aged 2 to 12, plus their parents. We played Simon says, statue dance, and we read stories. The Monkey and the Turtle, a Philippine folktale retold and illustrated by Jose Rizal, and The Grand Parade, a story about a town fiesta taken over by children, by Carla Pacis and Nanoy Rafael.

We handed out prizes to the winners and the good listeners who responded to the story-tellers' questions. We fed the kids cupcakes and cookies. We gave them loot bags filled with stickers, erasers, pencils, puzzles, marbles and a sipa each. We gave away board books and story books provided by Adarna House. Two fine arts students from UP Baguio did face painting for the kids. Luchie Maranan launched and read her new children's book, The Pangat, the Mountains, and the River, published as part of Bookmark's Modern Day Heroes for Filipino Youth. Members of Dap-ayan ti Kultura ti Kordilyera sang songs about Macliing and about remembering that this earth is for our children's future.
Author Luchie Maranan reads The Pangat, The Mountains and the River
(Photo by Big Little Sister)
The Occupation.
(Photo by the Outrigger)
It was exhausting. We had to shout above the children's loud voices, hold their attention, respond to their questions, manage small flaring tempers, keep tabs on toddlers climbing the stairs. Walking across the bookshop was like walking across a minefield -- every bit of floor space was occupied by a child! We walked gingerly to avoid stepping on little fingers busy flipping pages of a book, playing with stickers or fumbling with puzzle pieces. By the time the crowd had left, we were shell-shocked.

As we cleaned up half-eaten cupcakes and cookies and empty juice packs from our bookshelves, peeled stickers off our floor and extracted marbles from nooks and crannies, we half-jokingly, half-seriously declared we would never do something like this again. But then a conversation earlier that afternoon with journalist Pryce Quintos helped me to verbalize why we did this; why a kids' party.

Firstly, it was our way of saying thank you to our top clientele. Rarely does a child come into Mt Cloud Bookshop and then leave empty-handed. They are our best customers and we are grateful for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who indulge their kids' appetite for books.

Secondly, these kids are the future. They could become avid readers, future bookworms. It was important to us that we give them an afternoon of fun in a bookshop, that we give them the experience of a bookshop as a warm, welcoming place for discovering different worlds and new ideas in the pages of a book.

After everyone had left, one ten-year old boy lingered in the Kiddie Corner with an open book in his lap.



Babeth Lolarga said…
Happy 3, Mt Cloud! Hope our little Kai spends a lot of her growing time there :)
padma said…
Thanks, Tita Babeth. And we hope we'll be around for all of Kai's growing years!

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