New CHamoru Children Book I Malingu na Påtgon to Launch This Weekend

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Taiguini Books of the University of Guam Press will be releasing its second in a series of four CHamoru language children’s books created in preparation for FESTPAC entitled I Malingu na Påtgon.

Guam – I Malingu na Påtgon, the latest in CHamoru Language children’s book, tells the story of a young girl named Bella, who feels like she has been forgotten by her large and very busy family. 

Senora Rufina Fejeran Mendiola said, “Little Bella always wanted attention and to play or to sing but because everyone has their chores to do, she was always left alone. Then she goes to the family garden where it became a place where it’s peaceful and maybe the flowers are listening to her.”
 
Author and CHamoru Language Advocate Senora Rufina Mendiola tells us that the character “Bella” was based off her childhood experience. “It tells about my family. The names are real, my siblings, my parents and I included my granddaughter. It’s dedicated to her and that’s the reason why I call it “malingu” or “the lost child,” she explained.
 
Written entirely in CHamoru, I Malingu na Påtgon depicts key CHamoru values, particularly the importance of family and working together. 
 
Mendiola said, “Perpetuating the language and the culture. Without the language, there’s no culture. Without the culture, there’s no language. You show your culture by the practices you have in the book, the things that happen in the story, that’s the culture.”
 
Mendiola explained that the main message in her story is that family time is valuable. “There’s two messages I want to put out. No matter how busy you are, your family comes first, whether they’re far away, they’re always in your heart. Also when someone comes to you to try to get your attention, pay attention, be a good listener and listen to what they have to say. What they have to say might be very important or it makes a difference,” she said. 
 
It’s not just the story that portrays the CHamoru culture, even the illustrations do, from the daily chores to the scenery.
 
Illustrator Joseph Flores Sablan said, “I had a ton of influence because there’s a lot of florals and fauna of local plants and the flowers and the trees. Where I’m living at there’s a ton of inspiration and research. It really helped bring the story to life.”
 
If you want to get a copy of I Malingu na Påtgon, the book launch will take place this Saturday.
 
Mendiola said, “I’m inviting the whole community of Guam. Please come by the RFK Library this Saturday from 10 to 12 noon. You get to meet my illustrator Joseph and I’ll be signing your book.”
 
The book launch will feature a special reading of the book by the author, followed by a free digital illustration workshop with the illustrator. The books will be available for sale at $16 per book, and both the author and illustrator will be present to sign the books.
 
For more information please contact UOG Press Managing Editor Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero at (671)735-2154 or victorialola@triton.uog.edu.