Monday, July 21, 2008

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi

Translated into English by Cathy Hirano


Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, the first part of a ten-book Japanese fantasy series, introduces readers to the interconnected worlds of Sagu and Nayugu. Sagu is the visible world of humans and Nayugu is the invisible world of creatures like Juchi Ro Gai (the Mud Dwellers) and Yona Ro Gai (the Water Dwellers).

Nyunga Ro Im is the Water Spirit from Nayugu that causes rain in both worlds. Once every hundred years, Nyunga Ro Im lays an egg and dies. The egg hatches to become the new Water Spirit and control the weather of the worlds. If the egg is destroyed, Sagu and Nayugu will suffer from a deadly drought. For mysterious reasons, Nyunga Ro Im lays its egg inside one of the To Ro Gai (the Land Dwellers of Sagu) - a human. That human is known as the Moribito, the Guardian of the Spirit.

In this fast-paced, action-packed epic, the Moribito is Prince Chagum, the second son of the Mikado, the ruler of a country known as New Yogo. This is Chagum's tale. He struggles to accept his fate as the Guardian of the Spirit. And he must survive Rarunga the Egg Eater, a horrible creature of Nayugu who can visit Sagu in order to hunt Chagum. Chagum must also survive being hunted by his own father, who believes he has been possessed by a water demon.

This is also Balsa's tale. Balsa is Chagum's brave bodyguard. She is strong in body and spirit, and an expert in the martial arts and a master of the short spear. An amazing female character with an interesting life story!

The first thing I noticed about Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is the beautiful bookmaking. The paper is wonderfully thick (it seems thicker than the paper used for most books). The ink is a delightful dark blue. There are also great illustrations for the cover and for the different parts of the book. (Yes, I love books so much that I get excited about book design and the craftsmanship that goes into making books :o).)

I was actually astonished by how good the writing is. The descriptions in the book are so vivid that every action, every scene, every thought and feeling from a character, and every pearl of wisdom is crystal clear. I daresay that the writing and translation for Moribito is so good, and it stirred my imagination so much, that the book is almost better than if the story had been presented to us as a movie!

Aside from the exciting story and excellent writing, I also enjoyed Moribito because it was refreshing to read Japanese fantasy. (I usually read British fantasy.) And I enjoyed getting a fantastical view of Japanese culture and lifestyle in the Middle Ages.

As a great lover of children's and young adult literature, fantasy, and all things Japanese, I found Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit so good that it is exhilarating.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brillante Weblog Premio - 2008

Natalie of Chickenblog has called me brillante and has given Into the Wardrobe the Brillante Weblog Premio! *blush* Thank you so much, Natalie!

Now I have to pass on the award to seven people/blogs I think are brillante...

First of all, I give the Brillante Weblog Premio right back to Natalie and Chickenblog. Not because she gave me the award, but because Chickenblog is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BLOG. It's a very inspiring blog about a very loving, creative, and fun family, written by a good friend. :o)

I also pass on the award to Sarah and The Delicious Life. I think Sarah is a fabulous food writer. Her posts are always so interesting and entertaining!

Next I give the award to Ariela and Baking and Books. A blog about good food and good books, written by a fabulous person? C'mon, this is a no-brainer for me!

Speaking of good food and good books... Jama writes about food and children's literature over at jama rattigan's alphabet soup. Brillante!

Just One More Book!! is a great thrice-weekly podcast about children's books, from two very nice people. Brillante, Andrea and Mark!

Alvina Ling is the brillante editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She blogs over at the brillante bloomabilities. I love reading bloomabilities to learn about the life of a children's book editor.

Brooklyn Arden is the blog of Cheryl Klein, editor at Arthur A. Levine Books. (She edited the American edition of the Harry Potter books! That's brillante !!!) It's so brillante how she blogs about New York City, her life, and her work.

I hope the awardees spread the love and each pass along the Brillante Weblog Premio to seven blogs. :o) I am curious about what you think is brillante. What blogs do you recommend?


P.S. Check out my blogroll on the right for more great blogs! ;o)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

With just ONE word?!

The fabulous Aves from Trying to Wake has tagged me for this meme. I have to answer each question with one word only (eeeps!) and then tag four people.

1. Where is your cell phone? BEDROOM
2. Your significant other? NONE
3. Your hair? BROWN/BLACK
4. Your mother? BEAUTY
5. Your father? FAR
6. Your favorite thing? BOOKS
7. Your dream last night? NONE
8. Your favorite drink? GINGER (ALE :P)
9. Your dream/goal? CHILDREN
10. The room you’re in? JP'S
11. Your hobby? READING
12. Your fear? LOSS
13. Where do you want to be in six years? UNIVERSITY
14. What you’re not? QUIET
15. Muffins? YES
16. One of your wish list items? LAPTOP
17. Where you grew up? VEGAS
18. The last thing you did? SHOP
19. What are you wearing? SHORTS
20. Favorite gadget? NONE
21. Your pets? KLITUS
22. Your computer? NONE
23. Your mood? PANICKY
24. Missing someone? NOPE
25. Your car? NONE
26. Something you’re not wearing? MAKEUP
27. Favorite store? FULLY BOOKED
28. Like someone? NOPE
29. Your favorite color? PINK!!!
30. When is the last time you laughed? WEDNESDAY
31. Last time you cried? WEDNESDAY

Tagging: Yanka :o), Natalie, Jonette, Nice

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Woot!

Today is the 25th Philippine National Children's Book Day. Happy National Children's Book Day everyone! I can't celebrate just yet because of work and schoolwork, but I will eventually! How are you all celebrating? :o)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The 12th Philippine Academic Book Fair

sponsored by the Association of Booksellers for the Academe and the Professions (ABAP)
July 8-12
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Megatrade Hall 1, SM Megamall
Mandaluyong City, Philippines

I must go! Who else is going? :o)

The 25th Philippine National Children's Book Day

July 15 is the 25th Philippine National Children's Book Day! Here are some of the activities to celebrate it:

National Children's Book Day Ceremonies

July 15
Cultural Center of the Philippines

The annual ceremonies celebrating National Children's Book Day include the announcement of new books coming out in 2008, courtesy of the country's leading children's book publishers; the awarding of this year's Salanga (writers' prize) and Alcala (illustrators' prize); and the induction of new Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) members.

25 Best-Loved Children’s Book Characters Exhibit

July 15-22
Atrium, Cultural Center of the Philippines

After surveying hundreds of Filipino children, here is an exhibit of life-size sculptures of the 25 best-loved children’s book characters. The sculptures are done by members of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang InK), an association of artists committed to the creation and promotion of illustrations for children.

25 Author Visits

July

Twenty-five schools will be visited by their favorite children’s book authors. The visits are a joint project of PBBY and the members of Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting (Kuting), a group of Filipino writers for children.

Museo Pambata Activities

July
Museo Pambata

Museo Pambata, the Philippines' premier children's museum, has lined up the following activities: Pop Stories Exhibit; an opinion corner for child visitors; a book donation corner; and a cosplay day where people can dress up as their favorite children’s book characters.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Giant Girl Rampages

I received an interesting friend invitation on Jacketflap, the social networking website for the children's book industry. The friend invitation was from Melly Mills, the protagonist of a middle grade/young adult novel. Now this is not what made the invite interesting; there are other social networking accounts for fictional characters. Melly is extra special because she is the main character of Giant Girl Rampages, the very first blog-novel for middle graders and teens!

From Melly's Jacketflap profile:

"Melly Mills is very tall. Freakishly impossibly tall. Basketball hoops come up to her hips, and most people are only a bit taller than her knees. She looks down on giraffes, and has to bend down to peek into a second-story window. She's just a bit shy of 18 feet, and as far as she can tell from the Book of World Records, nobody else has ever been anywhere near as tall as that.

Worried for her safetly, Melly's parents kept her sheltered from public view in the middle acres of their family farm. When her parents passed away, Melly found herself alone in a world that knew nothing of her existence--until the day she strolled into town and caused a bit of a scene. The name of her blog is taken from that day's newspaper headline: 'Giant girl rampages through town'.

Melly has been taken in by the Appletons, who own an orchard adjacent to Mills Farm, which makes it convenient for her to continue caring for her beloved cows. She is being tutored by her physician, Dr. Crisp, and expects to attend public school for the first time, starting in the fall."


That sounds like a promising story to me!

Now what is a blog-novel? According to Making Melly Mills, the behind the scenes guide to Giant Girl Rampages, a blog-novel is a traditionally-structured work of fiction published in blog format by one or more blogging protagonists in real time. This seems like a fun work of fiction and I am truly fascinated by it. The Giant Girl Creative Team is a team of four authors who have come together to create a story using web technology, instant-publishing, and real-time storytelling techniques. They have a combined total of 27 years experience writing for children and young adults - fifteen published novels and non-fiction books. And right now they are anonymous! I am getting curiouser and curiouser. I can't wait till the authors reveal who they are!

Check out Giant Girl Rampages. I want to know what you think too. :o)