Field trip: A literary tour

Students in the States are gearing up for finals as the holiday break approaches, which got us at Children International thinking about our favorite books. But we really wanted to know what our field correspondents' most treasured reads are. The diversity of books might surprise you!

Leo Ganace

Tabaco, Philippines

I have always loved history. Recently, I reread a classic novel written by our national hero, Jose Rizal. "Noli Me Tangere" (Latin for "Touch Me Not") is set in colonial Philippines during the Spanish occupation. It highlights the positive qualities of the Filipinos in a story that also depicts the ills and abuses of the Spanish regime then.

Reading the novel makes me not only look back at our history but also marvel at the power of the written word. The book and its sequel, "El Filibusterismo," indirectly influenced the Philippine Revolution in the 1800s.

In an age of smartphones and other modern-day conveniences, it's always worth the time to grab an old book and read about the history that made us what we are today.

Patricia Calderón

Barranquilla, Colombia

"The Five Love Languages" is the book I am reading currently, and I am enjoying it as if it were an appetizing cake  little by little! And, although I would like to devour it right away, I would rather taste it because it has a delicious story that makes you feel full.

The book explains the root of problems in relationships, and it provides lessons on how to overcome them. This is a short but substantial read that is useful as a reference to nourish successful relationships and rescue couples who, over time, stop enjoying together the delicacy of a good dessert.

Audrey Hamayanda

Lusaka, Zambia

My sister, who was also my Sunday school teacher, used to love reading me Bible stories. I practiced my reading on the Bible. My two all-time favorite stories are that of Joseph, son of Jacob, found in Genesis 37 to 50 and the whole Christmas story.

I read the Bible every day. It keeps me in balance. I carry a regular-size and a pocket-size one. (I also use online versions, but I feel guilty using my gadgets in church.)

It is amazing to observe that, even in remote parts of my country where literature books are not found, there is at least a copy of a Bible (translated into the local language) in almost every household.

Patricia Huerta 

Guayaquil, Ecuador

I love to read! Since I was 3 years old, my dad bought me comics, and I loved to look at the pictures and imagine the dialogue.

Today when my sisters ask me what I want for my birthday, my answer is always "a book." They say I'm boring. Well, that's their opinion!

For me, a book is the opportunity to meet other people, to be other people, to know other cultures, to visit other cities, to travel around the world simply by looking at paper.

My favorite book is "The Keys of the Kingdom" by A.J. Cronin. It's the story of a Scottish Catholic priest sent on a mission to China and how he transmitted his message to this culture so different from his with his compassion, understanding of the others, humbleness, kindness and courage.

I also love crime and mystery novels.

Andrés Rosero

Quito, Ecuador

I recently started reading "Three Cups of Tea." This book has a great message of the humanitarian spirit.

There is a quote from the book that is really meaningful to me: "Here, we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first, you are a stranger; the second, you become a friend; and the third, you join our family. And, for our family, we are prepared to do anything — even die."

I love my family so much. They are my all, and for them I am willing to do whatever  even die.

Carmelinda Carpio

Quezon City, Philippines

This book in my hand is a story in itself. When I was in high school, my dad found this gem in a pile of stuff abandoned by our neighbor. It is a very old paperback. Its cover is dirty and crumpled, and portions of its first and last chapters are badly torn. Despite that, we have kept it for years.

These days, it's always in my bag, even when I travel. For some reason, the thought that I have it with me makes me feel safe.

"The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino goes way beyond its title in that it encapsulates important reminders about life, love, work, habits, nature and even emotions and laughter through 10 scrolls. The 10 scrolls have largely contributed to my present values and perspective toward life.

Despite touching on "serious" matters, it is a light and easy read. It is surely one of my treasured books. It is also one of my fond reminders of my dad, my own treasure hunter.

Shane Alliew

Kolkata, India

My favorite book is the one I wrote. The main idea behind writing the book was to help middle school students to survey, question, read, recite and review  thus enabling them to get a fresh insight into the world of comprehension.

I hope the several passages I have written (with exercises at the end of each piece) will assist students in enhancing several levels of cognitive development. The exercises include vocabulary building, reading and conversational skills, self-assessment in the use of English language (especially for non-native speakers of English) and strengthening the use of correct grammar.

Pauline Paguia

Manila, Philippines

My all-time favorite book is entitled "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman. Of the dozens of children’s books my brothers and I had, this particular one had me begging my mom to read it to me over and over as a child.

I grew up with three brothers and my mom, a single parent who fed us almost five times daily (yes, we're monsters) on the tiny salary of a teacher. My mom read this book to me so remarkably, with the enthusiasm of a theater actress with sounds and emotions. Most importantly though, having the biggest dream of becoming a mom and a teacher someday, storybooks  most especially one that reminds me of how amazing my mother is  will always have a big place in my heart and on my bedroom shelf!

Verónica Arévalo

Guatemala City, Guatemala

I like books that talk about spirituality and overcoming obstacles, such as "Many Lives, Many Masters." In pursuit of this learning, I was introduced  some years ago  to the books of Dr. Brian Weiss. His themes and experiences are an important source of knowledge for the understanding that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Every day we have the opportunity to learn from our experiences and everyone around us, because life on earth is like a school.

I want to continue studying in this school. I still have much to learn!

Anthony Lorcha

Legazpi, Philippines

I got this book when I attended a national youth convention in college. Publishers were invited to display their books, and this one, entitled "The Speaker's Quote Book," caught my attention.

I skimmed its contents, and I thought it was great  and I was right! It features more than 4,500 quotes, stories, anecdotes and illustrations that are really useful when I want to add depth to my essays and speeches that I deliver in public.

As a writer, motivational speaker and youth leadership trainer, this one helps me to stay proactive and optimistic in all endeavors that I engage in. It's indeed my favorite book!