Sawaga River Press Discusses Decolonizing Children’s Book Publishing + Other New 2022 Year Events and Updates

Happy February, Everyone!

Spring is (prematurely) here and our almond, peach, nectarine, pear trees are in bloom. They’re pretty!

We’re switching back to this blog after realizing that we’d like to share many events that are happening but they’re not specific to the Mungan book. So here we are again!

We started the year with a presentation + talk with Dr. Robyn Rodriguez through her Liberation School and in collaboration with the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at UC Davis. Titled “Decolonizing Children’s Publishing”, my presentation launched the Liberation School’s series of talks tackling relevant issues in our Fil-Am community, especially those that focus on our collective liberation. It was so exhilarating to be with people who are all working in solidarity for our Fil-Am community’s well-being!

At the end of January, fellow children’s bookmaker and historian, Kirby Araullo, who also provided the baybayin scripts for our Jack & Agyu book, hosted a fundraising online event to benefit those affected by Typhoon Odette (aka Typhoon Rai) last December. The typhoon took a lot of lives, homes, and properties, especially in the Visayas regions.  We started out by talking about water deities in the Philippines but then veered into community-based publishing and its challenges and joys. I hope it was informative for those who tuned in!

In February, a fellow teaching artist whom I met last year at the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp connected with me to create a music-focused curriculum that includes Jack & Agyu. Ami Molinelli, founder of Music Is First, works with the San Francisco School District and understands that there are many Fil-Am kids in the district who would enjoy our book/s. We’re so excited about this!

Just last week, I was also part of a virtual story hour hosted by the Filipino American Educators Association of California. Three other Fil-Am children’s books writers read with me: Gayle Romasanta, Conrad Benedicto, Robin Aquilizan. It was totally motivating to hear them and their inspirations and processes. The participants asked all sorts of good questions, from the craft of writing to the discipline of writing and the industry challenges. Thank you for the opportunity to engage with the community, FAEAC and Tracie Noriega!

This year, the press is branching out to publishing anthologies! Our first, Rooted in Practice: Pinays In Law, gathers first person narratives from those who identify as Pinays in law, whether as attorneys, paralegals, law students, JD holders, or however way that may be interpreted by the participating writer. We are collaborating with Pinay Powerhouse, a collective of Pinay attorneys across the United States. Through Pinay Powerhouse, Union Bank is sponsoring this anthology. Additionally, Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA) and the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies at UC Davis are collaborating with us. We hope this is only the beginning of more anthologies and readers in the future! Pinay Powerhouse will be hosting a reading event this March 12 to celebrate the submissions we have so far and to solicit more entries for the final reader that’s slated to come out in August 2022 during the 5th Pinay Powerhouse Conference in Seattle. Here’s a flyer for the event. (Illustration Credit: Angel Trazo)

Finally, for our Mungan Update, we are so pleased to let you know that we now have initial studies for the characters, including the siblings and the mamas. It’s so exciting to see them slowly come to life on the pages! Here are the initial sketches for Ate and Kuya and manghud. Please see our Mungan website for more updates and thoughts on the process for this book.

Illustrations by Happy Garaje

We hope you continue to support us! Thank you!

Published by sawagariverpress

Exploring, celebrating, and sharing children's experiences in the Filipino diaspora through books and art.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: