Art Workshop

Art Workshop

FEATURE | Friday Book Club: One book, one child at a time

by Joana Marie E. Verdeflor

In order to understand my cause, let me tell you a story about one life. In order to understand that life, let me tell you about its skies.

I was born under the bright summer skies of Albay where I loved to talk about its bright summer skies at the age of six. I would fall asleep thru the humdrum of words uttered by my mother as she reads “My Bible Friends and I” —to realise years later, I will be installed as a church lector/commentator. Where Judy Abott danced in my idle mornings, my ballet classes have become more bearable at seven. I met Francine Pascal’s Wakefield Twins thru an old copy of Sweet Valley Kids in our school library when I was eight, and then at eighteen, I kept a clipping of Patricia Evangelista’s “Blonde and Blue Eyes” in my dorm room, reminding me what matters more than “seeing snow outside my windows in a bright Christmas morning”. Thirteen, the year when I transitioned from being a child to a teenager— the same year when Harry transitioned from the “cupboard under the stairs” to a Gryffindor dorm room. Fifteen was the harder year of high school; Chemistry seemed so strange and unloveable— but I had two other books in my hand: first came Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist and then Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. In the later years, little will I know that I will major in a profession that specializes in the molecular development of technologies that will cure diseases.

My early adult years seemed to have passed in a blur. Experiences and people came like vulnerable beads in a bohemian bracelet tied confidently around my neck for the world to see. I have been challenged by so many aspirations that danced in a number of worlds. One day I was caught in isolation with Marieb as a Pharmacy student, the next with Nick Hornby over a pyjama weekend. Many times, both fates have been challenged, inspired—aspired. Friends have come and go. Dreams have been lost and gained and in some instances, lost all over again. Prime time gave me an avid narration of how cities and humanity rose and fell yet gravity remained 3.2 meters per second squared according to my Physics book, that is without air resistance. Harry Potter graduated successfully in Hogwarts leaving Hagrid in tears of joy. The Wakefield Twins left Sweet Valley and went to college. And Judy Abott, well she still dances.

What I want to say is Carbon remains to be one of my most favourite chemicals which with high temperatures and pressure is transformed it to the hardest gem ever known— diamonds. What I want to say is Patricia Evangelista became a successful columnist in a national paper telling stories about “standing beneath dragons and singing beneath swords”. What I want to say is The Alchemist remains to be one of the Best Selling Novels of all time. What I want to say is Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic” will remain to be my first exposure to poetry. What I want to say is the thoughts, truths, and aspirations in my shelves that have helped shaped me to what I am today have already been passed on to our first ever beneficiaries at Taculod Elementary School on 08 July 2016 in hopes that it will enliven in them the bright summer skies smiling brightly to brighter tomorrows.

What I want to say is I believe in the power of passion and purpose— the pillars that anchor our cause firmly.

What I want to say is it has already been 10 years, and still I am writing about how vividly I grew up in the bright summer skies of my hometown.

Pupils of Taculod Elementary School in Canaman, Camarines Sur pose with their newly-acquired books donated by Friday Book Club. A local initiative to promote reading and education, Friday Book Club is a brainchild of Albayana Joana Marie Verdeflor.


We are a group of young adults anchored in the belief that every child deserves equal and convenient access to education.
We work hard to awaken this sense of passion in our generation because we believe we are responsible for our own future. We aspire that these passion will in turn spark a sense of purpose to others because we also believe that by creating stable ripples, we are also creating stability in our 
children’s future.
Our mission is to promote awareness that in fact, there is a vast pool of knowledge yet to be acknowledged, desired and even challenged.
To journey to ourselves and our own personal legends, to be able to share this light to the younger generation and to read it forward— that is who we are and that is what we do.

Public Relations/ Social Media
Twitter: @fridaybookclub
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