What makes writing books for children difficult is that kids are still not equipped to digest an abstract concept. A writer must break this concept down to chewable pieces with matching visuals to make it edible.
Nationalism, for one.
How does one explain to children “identification with one's own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations?” How does one present it so that they would feel it in their gut—where nationalism should reside.
Thanks to Facebook, I read one post by a teacher, which, for me, explains what nationalism means in succinct language and one photo. And what a photo!*
“This young girl stopped walking and stood still under the rain during the singing of the Philippine National Anthem!”
The first opens the eyes of the main character to the beauty of his country, which he has ignored, through the eyes of a balikbayan. The second illustrates how townspeople come together after a natural disaster to re-build their community.
And so, as a children’s book author, I continue to look for ways anywhere and everywhere so I could teach my readers values through abstract concepts such as this.
I am grateful for grace—it is my compass; it shows me directions and helps me find my bearings.