Filipino children’s books are now talking about ‘taboo’ topics

Titles that tackle controversial, sensitive, or difficult topics are beginning to occupy significant space in the lexicon of Filipino children’s books. Pictured above: “Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy,” a book about a boy who is bullied by classmates for having two fathers. Photo courtesy of TAHANAN BOOKS

By Anna Bueno/cnnphilippines.com – In “Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy,” a new children’s book published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers, Billy is bullied by classmates for having two fathers.

“Sabi ni Jay, sabi daw po ng nanay niya bakla daw po kayong dalawa ni Papa kaya bakla din daw po ako,” the young Billy tells his fathers in the book. “Ano po ang bakla?”

It’s not a question that often appears in children’s books in the Philippines. But if one will visit the young readers’ shelves in libraries and bookstores, titles like “Dalawa ang Daddy ni Billy” (written by Michael P. De Guzman and illustrated by Daniel Palma Tayona) — which tackle controversial, sensitive, or difficult topics — are beginning to occupy significant space in the lexicon.

Adarna House, for example, also recently released a board book, titled “My Family,” written by Kata Garcia and illustrated by Borg Sinaban. The title sounds traditional enough, but flipping the book open reveals horizontally split pages, allowing readers to explore and decide for themselves the many different forms a family can take. In 2017, Adarna House also released “Ito Ang Diktadura” and “Mga Uring Panlipunan,” books that take on the perils of an authoritarian regime and diligently explain class differences.

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