I am a poor book detective, but I have a mission: to read all Genaro Gojo Cruz’s children’s books. I am afflicted by his “childhood-drama effect” after reading his YA, Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay. However, I do not buy his children’s books; I just have my own copy of his YA. As you know, I scrimp on books I want to treasure for the posterity since I dream of building my very own private library as big as half of my house. Besides, I regret spending 75 pesos because I can spend this amount on two or three books at Book Sale, the famous second-hand book store in the Philippines. I will just get a book if I can no longer resist myself from it, a best-seller hyped up by my friends on Goodreads.
Although Gojo Cruz is now one of my favorite children’s books writers, I still put him into a pigeonhole, on the list of the books I want to hoard and display in my library someday. So, what I am trying to rationalize is that I drop into National Book Store branches to check upon some of his works and read them privately. (One time, I was even caught by a clerk burying myself in a book I held for more than 30 minutes, so I was blocked by the guard at the exit area to check my bag for SOP. Come on, guard, I was not born yesterday. SOP stands for Security Operation Procedure. What an acronym! ) Luckily, I have read seven of them at different NBS branches such as:
- Ang Batang May Maraming Maraming Bahay
- Ang Aking Photo Album
- Noong Nakaraang Taon
- Saling Pusa
Why do I appear so addicted to reading Genaro Gojo Cruz’s children’s books? You can understand me if you start reading his first YA I mentioned above. I noticed that same reaction from another fan on Goodreads. In his YA, Genaro told a story about a boy, himself , who cried deep inside for the poverty and being “incomplete” in his life. So, through reading his children’s books, you can penetrate the depth of the story as if they have been drawn from deep experiences. You may not burst into tears , but you can feel the burning sensation smarting in the deepest part of your heart that you cannot even pour it out. It just moves there around without cease until they appease for goods.
The only problem is his books are always out of stock. They may be best-sellers. If so, I am happy for Mr. Gojo Cruz. His books are indeed worth reading. Thus, I have a hard time finding his other books. I drop into from one book store to another since there are three malls adjacent to another near our place. Gee, you may now find me idiosyncratic. Yes, I am a walking dead -bookworm zombie moving from one mall to another clockwise. I have no compunction for this. 🙂
After a fairly long time, tadaaa!!! I have found one of his books, TOLITS. I found it at another NBS branch nearer our place where I had never thought of dropping by , for I do not like its ambiance.
Little did I know that TOLITS is a match stick. I thought that it was a character of a young boy because we moniker someone like that here in the Philippines. Besides, I have understood that a young boy is also called TOLITS because he is scrawny. So, the story turns out to be about a scrawny young boy match stick who is curious about why his parents and other relatives try to hide him underneath them once the window is opened by big fingers.
The story is a little bit disturbing. Perhaps, I detached myself from the reality, or I am more used to reading Gojo Cruz’s books which reflect in the real mirror of life and permeate through my heart. Besides, I have still been confounded at how I can relate his story to other situation and even squeeze its moral lesson out of me. Nevertheless, Gojo Cruz has proved his skills in being a children’s raconteur in this story once again. A match, full of sticks, is enough to materialize his imagination. Besides, I liked the fact that reading it did not give me any clues of what the story is all about. As usual, his common trademark at the end of the story is a tear-jerker although it is not that as emotionally penetrating as his Ang Batang May Maraming Maraming Bahay. .
It is now my 8th Genaro Gojo Cruz’s children’s books. I am now more driven to hunt his other books. I am going to gallivant like a madman at another National Book Store outlets if the need arises. So, my next missions are:
- Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas
- Ang Malaking Kahon ng Sorpresa
- Pitong Angel
- Hello, Tatay!
- Ang Aking Pamilya
- Ang Bahaghari
- Maghapon Namin ni Nanay
- Malaking-Malaking Bahay
- Si Nanay Mining at ang Tatlong Kuting
- Ang Lumang Aparador ni Lola
- Ang Asul na Kariton
- Ang Kamisetang Dilaw
And his newest ones: Pwede Na Ba Akong Mag-alaga ng Kuting? which was published last year and Gaano Ba Kalayo ang Paaralan? which he launched last Saturday at SM North EDSA. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend his launching and book signing because it was too late when I found it out on his Facebook status. Besides, my copy of his YA was not with me.
I admit that after reading TOLITS, I have now this desire to buy all Gojo Cruz’s books I have read already. I should not just read them. I want to share them with my younger sister and young nephews and nieces and keep them for the posterity. (sighs) I wish I did not have to scrimp and save for books that make my mouth water whenever I see and touch them at NBS.
Book Title: TOLITS:
Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )