Posts Tagged ‘National Library Board’

Over the weekend, I did a book reading at Bukit Panjang public library as part of NLB’s Read! Fest. It was the 1st day of the library’s reopening after 10 months of renovations. 

Located within Bukit Panjang Plaza, Bukit Panjang public library comes with a frontage that looked like a snazzy retail shop. The display shelves are like that of a bookshop, with fancy ceiling lighting designs that brightens the atmosphere and invites people in. 

I had the pleasure of reading Tibby & Scaredy Snout to a full room of over 50 adults and kids. As there were a good number of older kids in the room, I also gave them a sneak peek into the process of publishing a book.

Last evening, a mum told me that her 6-year old son had been in one of my book readings last year. He told her that he wanted to be an author after my session.

I hope that my readings can continue to encourage and inspire children to find joy in books even as they progress to primary school and beyond.


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The Asian Festival of Children’s Content is back again come 25-30 May and every year, it just keeps getting bigger and better!

This year, I’m especially thrilled to be on the Festival Committee. As the new kid on the block, I’ve had a chance to see the programme come together and finally unveiled at the AFCC 2013 press conference this week. And there is so much to be excited about!

AFCC 20131) But first off, it started two weeks back with a radio interview I did with 938Live, where I shared about my panel session at AFCC – “Survival and Success as a Singaporean Author”. As I mentioned to Radio Journalist Howie Lim,  I would touch on success for a few seconds and the rest would be about survival!

That was a “truth in jest” statement because there is a lot of marketing work involved as an author which people don’t realise. When I congratulated Eliza Teoh, who will speak on that same panel,  for her success in making the bestseller list for her Ellie Belly books, she told me that she did no less than 50 talks in a year to get that result. And she is both author and self-publisher. Wow and wah! I did half that number over a longer stretch of time and tired out. Now, that is an energetic and driven author, who has since started her own publishing outfit Bubbly Books, and is now up there in the children’s books scene in Singapore.

2) Next, I was part of a judging panel for a new initiative called AFCC Publications which has published three bilingual picture books. I had a lively deliberation with fellow judges David Seow, a prolific children’s books author, and Myra Garces-Bacsal, Founder of the successful Gathering Books blog. The winning books will be launched at the AFCC.

3) During the year, I had the pleasure of seeing from the sidelines the coming together of Project Splash Asia!, pulled together by another very energetic lady Evelyn Wong, who is on the Board of Advisors for AFCC, working together with esteemed blogs Gathering Books and Paper Tigers.

Okay, I had nothing to do with it! But that the books that I wrote – A Very Big Storm and Little Otter Goes Fishing – were selected for the collection of water-themed stories and were also read at the PUB’s (Singapore’s National Water Agency) launch of the UN International Year of Water and the National Library Board’s 10,000 Fathers Read events.

At the press conference with Mr Ramachandran, Festival Founder and Stephanie Wong, Epigram Books

At the press conference with Mr Ramachandran, Festival Founder and Stephanie Wong, Epigram Books (Photo credit: Gathering Books)

4) I will also have the pleasure of seeing the theatre show for Prince Bear & Pauper Bear launched on Day 1 of this year’s AFCC as a free performance for the public. This is staged by theatre arts education specialist The Learning Connection.

And finally, back to the press conference and the man who started it all.

After dropping Caleb off to pre-nursery, I had a little quiet time with teh si (tea with less condensed milk), half-boiled eggs with soya sauce and otah toast at Toast Box. Then I headed to Hotel Grand Pacific to join in the excitement brimming at the AFCC press conference.

The literal diet just before the literary diet

The literal diet just before the literary diet

The shortlisted entries for this year’s Hedwig Anuar Book Awards and the inaugural Singtel Picture Book Competion are of such excellent calibre and had shortlisted illustrators from around the region and one from Iran. Mr Ramachandran, the Founder of the Festival, shared how much the Festival had grown. Unfortunately, my iphone did not capture the impressive growth statistics that he trotted out in his presentation. But, as Mr Rama says, you just need to register for the event to come experience the buzz.

This was followed by 3 panel discussions with representatives from each main tract of the Festival. Stephanie Wong from Epigram Books and I spoke for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference panel.

When it all wrapped up, I went away remembering that the AFCC, of which we can all play a part in either as speaker or participant, impacts the literary diet of 1.5 billion children in Asia. That is a statistic that my mummy brain did not need the iphone’s photographic memory for.

Post 58 DSC_0689Then, thanks to Mr Rama’s military timekeeping, I headed back, in good time, to my one child in that billion, whose diapers I change, milk I feed and books I read to.

Related Links:

I’m going to rub shoulders with big name publishers and authors over kids’ stuff

Rubbing shoulders with Harry Potter’s Editor, Poverty Porn & other Gems (Part 1)

Rubbing shoulders with Harry Potter’s Editor, a Twilight Moment & other Gems (Part 2)

AFCC Wire – Local Authors, International Audience




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I’m thrilled to find out that my debut book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear has just been selected as one of Singapore’s 10 best picture books under a global library initiative.

I’m doubly thrilled that I Don’t Want Mei Mei anymore, written by my best friend Lynn is on the list too. (Congrats Lynn, if you don’t know yet!)

That way, Prince Bear, Pauper Bear, Mark and Mei Mei can keep company as they travel together to Finland where they will be first exhibited alongside the world’s best, before they continue on to Japan and France for further international exhibitions.

The World Through Picture Books is a new initiative started by the International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The IFLA is the global voice for the library and information profession. Its aim is to create a list of the best picture books from around the world as recommended by librarians.

The 1st results have just been published from submissions from 30 countries, each with a list of 10 favourite picture books. There’s a whole list of criteria about the standards the books have to meet. But it boils down basically that they must represent the best of picture books in that country and have/will last the test of time and are/will become classics.

The U.S. and U.K lists have many classics of course. The U.S. has its Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are and The Hungry Caterpillar. The U.K. list has The Gruffalo, Elmer and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

The books on the Singapore list, selected by our National Library Board, are relatively young – with 9 out of 10 books recently written by my generation of authors. Jesse Wee, creator of The Adventures of Mooty, is the only forerunner in picture books from an earlier generation. We have our Book Council to thank for their efforts in promoting and and discovering many of us as 7 of these books came out of their First Time Writers and Publishers Initiative. That was where I found my voice as an author and Pauper Bear found voice through the immense support of my readers.

This wonderful project will surely become increasingly significant in impact as the list of participating countries continue to grow. I, for one, am simply honoured to have my little Pauper Bear keep company amongst the world’s best picture books.

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear is also available for travel through cyberspace now, thanks to Mediacorp‘s new e-bookstore I Love Books, along with another five of my books which have also gone electronic!

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Once in a blue moon, something big happens which rewards you as an author. And you are reminded of why you write.

I had a blue moon last weekend on 9th June when President Tony Tan and 15,000 people gathered at Marina Barrage for the mass chorus reading of a book which I wrote.

The book is A Very Big Storm, written in celebration of 2012 as the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives.

That event was Co-opaliciouz, organised by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation. Co-opaliciouz, organised around the theme “Come together as one”, brought together 15,000 people from the co-operative movement, their families and the public for half-a-day of activities to celebrate and learn more about co-operatives – businesses owned and governed collectively by their members.

It was A Very Big Day for Ben, Caleb and I on many levels:

– It was blue skies and everything nice at Marina Barrage, where we were at for the first time. And it looks like we have a new place to add to our weekend haunts with Caleb.

Before the reading, with Marina Bay Sands in the background

– Caleb participated in his first mass dance and I can you tell you, his groovy moves do not come from his boogie-impaired parents.

Caleb tops up the liquids before his mass dance participation

Caleb rehearses his mass dance moves

– I watched the mass reading of my book, which was led by reading ambassadors from the National Library Board‘s 10,000 Fathers and More Reading! programme. The reading was kicked off by Mdm Halimah Yacob, the Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports.

President Tony Tan (centre) going through A Very Big Storm

– The reading of A Very Big Storm almost made it into the Singapore Book of Records – it made the mark based on the numbers. But as I was told, the regulators decided that the reading had to last more than 5 minutes to be included. So, in the end, only Dr Seuss‘s Horton Hatches an Egg, the other book read, was entered in the Records.

– Caleb took a photo with President Tony Tan, along with Ben and me

Caleb gets his photo with the President

– And Caleb saw, for the first time, a fantastic display of fireworks which capped the evening’s activities.

The book may not have set a new reading record unlike Dr Seuss. But it is definitely on my record of one of our Very Big Days.

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