"So many years I wear rubber slippers or sandals because no shoes fitting me. Timbuktu sandals good but London very too cold to have bare toes." - NardoAfter reading this book, it allows me to reflect on issues relating to natural disaster preparedness, culture shock (living, working, studying overseas) and immigration issues. It reminded me of my personal experience during the 1990 (16 July) earthquake that struck the Philippines with a magnitude of 7.8 (epicenter). I dont know but it was a death-threatening moment trying to hide myself under the office table as the whole building moved furiously. Another important highlight of the story is about the eagerness of Filipinos to work abroad. As poverty haunts them back in the Philippines, they work hard only to send remittances to their families. Referrred as Overseas Filipinos Workers (aka OFWs), they have the same fate that Nardo's has, struggling to be heroes - helping their loved ones back home despite the hardships of living/working abroad! The author is clever enough to bring some of the Filipino way of living: giving a name to a child (using best friend's name, a syllable combination from parents' name, using grandparents' name, or father name - becomes Junior/Jr). I was surprised that the author did not use "Junior" (aka Jr) for Bernardo's nickname since his first name is derived from his late father's name. Moreover, I thought that the issue on immigration is a bit outdated and doubtful considering that Bernardo's petition took a long time to process. I assumed that the parents asked a solicitor's assistance to expedite the process which was not explicitly explained in the story. Another minor situation presented in the book that I disagree is Bernardo's arrival to London, a week after his immigration papers was approved by the Home Office. Obtaining a passport, visa and plane ticket need a substantial amount of money, and with the current financial status of Nardo's parents (just bought a house) could probably requires a longer time for him to fly to London. Unless his Aunt Sofia and Uncle have savings to cover the expenses.
"And the truth is, even though I didn't know him, I have missed him just as much as he has missed me" - Amandolina aka AndiFinally, using a best friend's name for her daughter is also unusual (not common but the name itself might came from the friend parents: Amando and Lina) Filipino custom - mostly parents mix-up with their own first names to come-up with a name like my sister got (without her consent and hated it...hahaha) - Rodyma, a combination of the first syllables of my parents' name: Rodolfo (Rudy) and Magdalena! Or another example that might give you a smile - Luzviminda, derived from the three major island groups of the Philippines - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Overall, this is a captivating story that brings hope to everyone - having a positive outlook in life. And of course, the power of prayers that could bring miracles in our lives...God Bless every one! Note: Tall Story has been shortlisted in the following British book awards: Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Blue Peter Favourite Story Prize, the Leeds Children’s Book Prize and the Hillingdon Secondary School Book Prize, Branford Boase, the Redbridge Children’s Book Award, the UKLA Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. The book is now available in the US since February 08, 2011.
Im happy to give away two paperback copies of the book (maybe signed by the author). If you are interested to join my Read-Release Global Challenge 2011, CLICK HERE. Deadline: 15 March 2011 (midnite)
For updates on Japan's earthquake/tsunami, the British Foreign Office can be contacted for advice on 020 7008 0000, or from Japan on +44 20 7008 0000 +44 20 7008 0000, and can be emailed on email@example.com.