Rita Avila on life as a children's book author
MANILA, Philippines – Actress turned author Rita Avila will be releasing 4 new books at the Manila International Book Fair this coming weekend. One is the third installment to her popular children’s book series, The Invisible Wings Part 3: Honoring God and Man.
During the blogger’s conference on Saturday September 9, Rita revealed that her passion for writing started at an early age. She started composing poems back in grade school but never thought that she would get to be an author someday.
Now that she’s a children’s book writer, her goal is to help parents teach their children about the importance of acceptance, kindness, and self-worth.
“We encourage parents to read with their children. Ang purpose talaga nung (The purpose of the) book series is to develop more angels on earth. So the kids can imagine themselves growing invisible wings every time they do something good. Kasi 'di ba malakas ‘yung imagination nila and baka (Because they have strong imaginations and hopefully) it will make them follow their parents more.”
Her other 3 books, How To Be A Superhero: The Tale of Bentot Lembot and Ginging Astig, What Completes the Color of the Rainbow: The Tale of Popi Puti and Mimim Makutim, and What Is Missing In Having Everything: The Tale of Ronron Meron and Lala Wala, which will be launched on September 17, were also inspired by real life problems that children face from day-to-day—from living up to society’s standards of beauty and what is “normal” to using wealth as a measure of happiness.
Meanwhile, director FM Reyes, Rita’s husband, also stressed the importance of reading to children in the age of technology.
“When they [children] are in school already and they’re asked to come up with a project, kapag ‘di na-train ang bata in reading, hindi malakas ‘yung imagination, not just creative side, even scientific, like science projects. Sad, ‘di ba, kasi with the advent of technology parang it makes us all lazy,” he said.
(When they [children] are in school already and they're asked to come up with a project, if the child is not trained in reading, they don't have a strong imaginatio, not just the creative side, even scientific, like science projects. It's sad because with the advent of technology, it's like it makes us all lazy.)
By making Rita’s new books interactive, not only will it sustain the children’s interest, but will also help develop their creativity.
“There are portions for kids to answer or color, parang (like an) essay, then there is a test on values. Sa lahat ng bagay ngayon (Considering everything that's happening), it’s nice to go back to the basics, to read, teach the children about values,” FM added.
On using the gift of writing to help others
After losing her 3-week-old son Ellia Jesu in 2006, Rita poured her emotions into writing her first book, 8 Ways to Comfort with Grace – a guide to how to console those in pain from losing a loved one.
Her coloring book, The Invisible Wings, got a thank you letter from Pope Francis.
Almost 11 years after the tragedy, Rita revealed that she still can't help but get emotional when talking about her son’s death.
“I still cry whenever I talk about what happened. Siguro yung ibang tao iniisip nila, ‘Ano ba 10 years na.’ May nabasa ako about grief means love. Sabi ko nga, love and pain will always intertwine, as you continue to love, you continue to feel pain, ‘di ba? Bilang mother siguro, of course I won’t ever forget the baby, so parang kahit siguro hanggang ilang taon [I’ll still feel the pain.]"
(I still cry whenever I talk about what happened. Other people would think 'It's been 10 years already.' I read somewhere about how grief means love. As I said, love and pain will always intertwine, as you continue to love, you continue to feel pain, right? As a mother, of course I won't forget the baby, so I guess no matter how many years pass by [I'll still feel the pain.]"
That is why Rita vows to help use her gift to comfort those in need.
“It is a given assignment ata by God kasi siguro parang sino pa ba ang maghahawak-kamay kundi ‘yung nag-undergo ng same experience. Kaya nga kapag Holy Week, I get invited to give talks sa mga church.”
(It is a given assignment I think by God because who else would comfort each other but those who went through the same experience. That's why when Holy Week approaches, I get invited to give talks at churches.)
“Maraming nag-DM [direct message] sa Instagram asking, 'How did you cope?' saying 'Bilib po kami sa inyo.' Naa-uplift ko sila. Somehow I become useful in another way.”
(So many would send DM [direct messages] on Instagram asking, 'How did you cope?' saying, 'We admire you.' I'm able ot uplift them. Somehow, I become usefulin another way.)
The Invisible Wings Part 3: Honoring God and Man launches September 16 at the Manila International Book Fair. While How To Be A Superhero: The Tale of Bentot Lembot and Ginging Astig, What Completes the Color of the Rainbow: The Tale of Popi Puti and Mimim Makutim, and What Is Missing In Having Everything: The Tale of Ronron Meron and Lala Wala will be released the next day, September 17. – Rappler.com