Featured Book

The Playful Genius by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz

The Playful Genius draws us into the life of the extraordinary scholar, Father Horacio de la Costa, SJ.

It takes us into his adolescent journey of self-discovery, when he decided to become a priest. This sets him on the path to becoming a brilliant history teacher and writer, and in his spare time, even a builder of model ships. Nostalgic scenes of his times come to life in ink illustrations as well as a timeline with photos shared by the Archives of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus and the Ateneo University Archives.




Flor Marie “Neni” Sta. Romana Cruz is chair of the National Book Development Board (NBDB). She is a children’s book reviewer, freelance journalist, and teacher. She is a regular contributor on education and literacy to the op-ed section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and a trustee of Teach for the Philippines. She is the director of Where the Write Things Are, a writing center for writers of all ages.

Sta. Romana-Cruz graduated from St. Scholastica’s College as Cum Laude and holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University. Before her role as chair of the NBDB, Sta. Romana-Cruz presided the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and was a board member of the “Sa Aklat Sisikat” Foundation, an organization which promotes book reading and lifelong learning.

Among her famous works are Why the Piña has a Hundred Eyes and Other Classic Philippine Folk Tales About Fruits (Tahanan Books, 1993) which won the 1993 National Book Award for Children’s Literature; a biography of Gabriela Silang which received a National Book Award citation for excellence in 1992; You Know You’re Filipino If…: A Primer (Tahanan Books, 1997) and Don’t Take a Bath on a Friday: Philippine Superstitions and Folk Beliefs (Ilaw ng Tahanan Publishing, 1996) among others.


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