A Mum’s Guide to Children’s Books by Singaporean Authors

Published on 25 May 2018

By: Shireen Netto

As a Singaporean mother to two little blessings, I am always eager to expose my children to home-grown talent. Giving my children access to Singaporean writers, playwrights, actors and artists sets them on a path of inspiration and introduces them to stories about the world they will grow up in.

Our literary scene is bursting with books for all ages, penned by well-loved veteran authors and a few notable award-winning new writers.

Here are ten of my favourite children’s books by our very own crop of talented writers.

Picture Books – Ages 2-6 Years

Source: Ethos Books

 

1. Afternoon Tea at Raffles Hotel Singapore by Fluer Vella-Chang

What do the animals of the Singapore Zoo do on an afternoon off? They meet for tea at the historic Raffles Hotel. This little book is perfect for early readers with its bright colours and familiar characters. The pages are filled with colourful illustrations of important landmarks and icons of Singapore, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Merlion. You can also purchase an accompanying activity book with colouring pages and fun games, perfect for your little busy bees.

Buy the book here.

Source: Marshall Cavendish

 

2. Lost in the Gardens by J.H. Low

This book celebrates the wonder that is the Gardens by the Bay. The stunning illustrations are the first thing that drew me to the book. The spontaneity of colour and the beautifully drawn characters bring the book to life and create an atmosphere of utter fascination. A rhyme is also cleverly woven into the story, making it a captivating read for all ages, especially the little ones.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

3. The Amazing Sarong by Quek Hong Shin

This books gives children a glimpse into the “kampung” life of yesteryear. It follows two children, Nora and Adi, who discover the many uses of a sarong. It brings back wonderful memories for me, as I still hold on to my Grandmother’s batik sarong, and use it for a variety of things. My children enjoyed reading the book! It gave them a glimpse into what life was like back when technology wasn’t available and a simple cloth sarong could provide children with hours of entertainment.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

4. (Asia’s Lost Legends) Savitri: The Task for the Mighty Demon by Catherine Khoo 

In this age of female empowerment, Catherine Khoo’s series of books about Asian heroines is a highly appropriate read for our little ones. Based on an Indian folktale, the story sees our fearless heroine Savitri, a little girl from a South Indian village, battle the demon Rakshasha. She dreams up an impossible task to try and outwit the demon and save her village. Her wit, determination and courage are showcased throughout the book and set an admirable example for children. 

Buy the book here.

Early Readers – Ages 5-8 Years

Source: Epigram Books

 

5. The Rock and The Bird by Chew Chia Shao Wei

An inspiring story about the friendship that unravels between a rock and a bird. When I first chanced upon this book, I was excited to read it, as it had won many awards, the most recent one being the Best Young Adult Title for the Singapore Book Awards 2016. As you read the book, you can’t help but feel a stirring of pride that such an uplifting book was written by a Secondary Three Singaporean girl. The moral behind the story is profound and a wonderful reflection of life and the gravity of friendships.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

6. Ang Ku Kueh Girl and Friends: The Blur Sotong by Wang Shijia

I love the uniquely Singaporean flavour this books brings! The title gives you the giggles, and is immediately relatable. As you’re introduced to the characters Ang Ku Kueh Girl and her friends: Ang Ku Kueh Boy, Kueh Lapis Girl, Roti Prata Boy and Curry Puff Boy, you can’t help but smile. Featured in the book is the famous “Dragon” slide, and his battle against the Blur Sotong – the evil sorcerer. The story is a heart-warming tale about the fortitude of friendship and the importance of working towards achieving one’s pursuits.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

7. Percy & Pam: Trouble at the Prata Shop by Ruth Wan-Lau

If mystery and adventure are what your kids crave, then this is THE book to read to them. The story revolves around best friends, Percy and Pam, who set out to help the owner of Ramasamy’s Prata solve the puzzle of a theft at his shop. As the story unfolds, you can’t help but be drawn into sniffing out clues and working out your own conclusions about who the thief could be. For children beginning to read on their own, I highly recommend this one to keep them on the edge of their seats.

Buy the book here.

Middle Grade Readers – Ages 8-12 Years

Source: Marshall Cavendish

 

8. Lion City Adventures by Don Bosco

There’s so much fun to be had with this book as we tag along with the Lion City Adventuring Club (LCAC) on their adventures! The book introduces us to several iconic places in Singapore, such as Little India, Chinatown and Geylang Serai. As readers explore each location, they begin uncovering the food, culture, people and history surrounding the place. The book features a journal page where you can write about your adventure with prompts such as “What I did here,” and “Best thing I ate or drank.” It also features maps, games and short history excerpts and stories about each location. A perfect book keep your children occupied over a mundane weekend.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

9. Sengkang Snoopers: The Mystery of the Hermit’s Hut by Peter Tan

This book tells the story of a sister-and-brother duo, Su Lin and Su Yang – also known as the Sengkang Snoopers – as they embark on a mysterious adventure on the island of Pulau Ubin. Revolving around a group of kids whose friendship and unique talents are vital to solving the mystery, this book is a great read for older readers. It not only teases the imagination, keeping adventure-seekers at the edge of their seats, but teaches the importance of teamwork and self-confidence.

Buy the book here.

Source: Epigram Books

 

10. The Travel Diary of Amos Lee 2: Monkeying in Malaysia by Adeline Foo

Part of the famous Travel Diary of Amos Lee series, this book was hands-down my favourite of the lot. In this book, we see Amos and his friends, Alvin and Anthony, travel to Sarawak, Malaysia’s Batang Ai National Park. Other than the funny anecdotes about leeches and ants, the trio stumble upon strange footprints and discover that they are being followed by a mysterious creature. The banter between Amos and his love interest, Jolin, is highly amusing, and is probably something that tweens can relate with. The book is also filled with beautiful photos and illustrations, and is highly deserving of praise.

Buy the book here.

To check out more Singaporean books, visit localbooks.sg!

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