A note from today’s visiting author, M. Evelina Galang:
“This (TKBC) was a fantastic experience! I think the campers here are among the most sophisticated readers I’ve met — worldly, thoughtful, complicated. One of the activities they did was to take scenes from the book, translate passages with Tagalog and then act out the scenes. We also did a little free write and they wrote beautiful imaginings of the kids in the photos using details they had picked up from the book and planing conflicts of their own too. Best one day workshop ever.”
Today was the second day of the teen sessions. We were meeting with M. Evelina Galang, author of Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery, which is a coming-of-age-novel about a girl who emigrates to the United States from the Philippines. The book features a lot of untranslated words and phrases in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines. In preparation for our visit with Evelina, we spent most of the day thinking about language and communication. We started off by forming a circle and playing the “Yes” and “No” game. The rules were simple: we had to communicate with each other using only the words “yes” and “no.” The idea was to convey a variety of moods or messages using just these two words. We also played a version of the game using just our names. It was amazing to see how much we could say with only a few words.
For our next activity, we got into groups and each group was given an excerpt from Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery that featured some use of Tagalog. Our job was to use context clues to translate Tagalog words and phrases into English. Then we acted out the dialogue using our translations.
Next, we wrote our own plays which incorporated either words from another language or words we made up ourselves. How much could we infer about a situation if we didn’t necessarily understand what the actors were saying? The results were all really great to watch and hear. We watched a rejected marriage proposal and a pair of bickering sisters, among others.
Then it was time to meet M. Evelina Galang, who started off by reading the first few pages of Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery. She wanted us to get a better sense of her use of Tagalog and how the language has an almost musical quality to it.
She brought us photos from her research in the Philippines and asked us to imagine the story behind the pictures and write about them.
Many of the campers were able to incorporate some Tagalog words into their stories, and Evelina was very impressed that we were able to imagine what life in the Philippines is like.
After lunch and a game of Capture the Flag, we headed back to camp and discussed tomorrow’s trip to the New York Public Library, where we will be seeing an exhibit on the history of children’s books. We listened to E.B. White read a section of Charlotte’s Web and brainstormed a list of our favorite books from childhood. Then we moved to the Thalia stage to read letters written to some of our favorite authors by Ursula Nordstrom, an editor from Harper Collins. It was fascinating to hear about how iconic books such as Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are might have been different if not for Ursula’s advice. It gave us a whole new perspective on our childhood classics, and we are really excited to see the exhibit tomorrow. We’ll also be meeting Jordan Sonnenblick, author of Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, so it’s bound to be a great day!