Tired of seeing your teens hopelessly glued to their cellphone, tablet, or laptop? Instill in them the love for reading books. Despite this being the digital age, a good old-fashioned book is still a pleasurable way to unwind or spend your free time. It also offers a host of health benefits—from building vocabulary and preventing cognitive decline to alleviating depression, reducing stress, and even lengthening your lifespan!
My Pope Philippines recommends the works of Candy Gourlay, award-winning UK-based Filipino author. Once a journalist and editor in the Philippines, she was living as a wife and mother in the United Kingdom when she decided to write fiction for Young Adults, infusing Filipino characters and settings into her stories. (Read: ICYMI: The 2021 Philippine Children’s Book Summit Will Be Happening On July 31)
These five titles will not only fire up your teens’ imagination, but they’ll also make them appreciate their unique roots.
Book by Candy Gourlay: Tall Story (2010)
Basketball-crazy Andi’s half-brother Bernardo isn’t just tall—he’s a towering eight-foot-tall boy with size 22 shoes to match, a result of the condition known as gigantism. Winner of the National Book Award in the Philippines, Candy’s debut novel bagged the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe, received a nomination for the Carnegie Medal, and was shortlisted for 13 other children’s book prizes. Available at Lazada.
Book by Candy Gourlay: Bone Talk (2018)
Situated in the isolated Mountain Province, this is the coming-of-age story of Samkad, who courts dreams of becoming a warrior like his father. So too does his best friend Luki, except she’s a girl. Their idyll lives change when a visiting boy from the city brings stories of “invaders”—Americans planning to take over their peaceful village. Available at anvilpublishing.com. (Read: New novel ‘Patron Saint of Nothing’ inspires Fil-Ams to help the Philippines)
Book by Candy Gourlay: Is it a Mermaid? (2018)
If it looks like a dugong (sea cow) then it must be a dugong, right? Not so, says this particular dugong that tries to convince Bel and Benj that it’s a beautiful mermaid—and sings to prove it. Available at Amazon.com.
Book by Candy Gourlay: Shine (2013)
Shunned by her community in the rainy island of Mirasol for being mute, Rosa turns to the internet for virtual companionship. There she meets Ansel95, a boy with the potential to become a real friend. But what are his motives? Candy’s second book won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe in 2014. Available at Lazada. (Read: Hidilyn Diaz Inspires Children to Dream High With New Book About Her Life)
Book by Candy Gourlay: Ferdinand Magellan (2020)
With its easy-to-read prose and humorous ink drawings, this book is sure to keep your youngsters interested and engaged in the history of the Portuguese explorer who attempted to circumnavigate the Earth. It’s part of The First Name Series of books on historical figures. Available at Amazon.