How about having a reading list for your children that has been debated and thoughtfully crafted by slightly older students who are themselves passionate and avid readers? With Read! Singapore 2013, you now have just that – a selection covering a mixture of genres, from international fiction to local rhymes, fairy tales, a graphic novel and illustrated picture books.
The 9th edition of Read! Singapore 2013 was unveiled on 7 June 2013 with a new focus on young readers. A new Youth Book Selection Committee was formed, comprising 25 students aged 15 and above, to select books for their peers aged 7 to 14.
Since the formation of the Committee in the second half of 2012, the members who were shortlisted by their respective schools met up to discover and discuss books that would be suitable for three age groups – lower primary, upper primary and lower secondary.
Read! Singapore 2013 Youth Book Selection Committee Members.
Each Committee member scoured the libraries and brought to the table their favourite three to five titles in the four languages. After five meetings, they came to a consensus on a list of 24 selected titles in the four languages for this year’s national reading programme. All members were involved in selecting the English books as well as books written in their Mother Tongue.
Committee member Teo Min Ru, 16, from Nanyang Girls’ High School, shared that their key selection criteria in the selection process was that each book had to be tailored to their target audience and be interesting and easy to read. Added Min Ru who has read about 20 books since the start of 2013, “We wanted to help boost the value of reading and share that reading is a fun and meaningful activity.”
16 year old Joanne Lee from Hillgrove Secondary School, who is another member of the committee, fell in love with books at a young age. She said: “I remember spending hours engrossed in children’s mystery tales. By sharing some of my favourite stories with my friends, I hope they too will love reading and make their own wonderful memories.”
READ! Singapore 2013 Selected Titles for Younger Readers
Recommended reads for young readers include Asian folktales and fiction, and are available at all 25 public libraries in Singapore.
Anthology of Asian Folktales
Available in all four languages
How Tiger Got His Stripes
A folktale from Vietnam about a wise farmer and a boastful Tiger who covets wisdom.
The Very Hungry Lion
A story about a hungry but lazy lion that gets tricked by other animals while hunting for food.
The Carabao-Turtle Race (Story from The Carabao Turtle Race & other classic Philippine animal folk tales)
Carabao does not want to be a coward so he takes up Turtle’s challenge to race over seven hills!
English Books for Younger Readers
|The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights
Author: Farah Bagharib-Kaltz
Publisher: Straits Times Press, Singapore
Year: 2008Being afraid of heights isn’t such a big deal unless you’re a bird! Meet Eddie, a mynah who lives behind an abandoned old house with Matt the rat, his only friend. When Matt is captured, how will Eddie stop his whole world from crashing down?
|Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library
Author: Eth Clifford
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., New York
Year: 1979Two girls spend an adventurous night trapped inside the public library during a terrible blizzard. But their troubles are just beginning. Is the library being haunted by banshees? Or is there a logical explanation?
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Jonathan Cape, London
Year: 1988Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.
|Farrer Park: Rhyming Verses from a Singapore Childhood
Author: Ann Peters
Illustrator: Lydia Yang
Publisher: Epigram Books, Singapore
Year: 2012In this charming collection of rhyming verses, Ann Peters tells the stories of her wondrous, carefree childhood in the Farrer Park neighbourhood.
|Monsters, Miracles & Mayonnaise
Publisher: Epigram Books, Singapore
Year: 2012What would you do if a tiny monster were to slip out from your sleeve one day? Or if the water in your water bottle suddenly turns into Ribena? And what if you find that you just can’t move, no matter how hard you try?
Author: Louis Sachar
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
Year: 1998Trouble started when Stanley was accused of stealing and sent to Camp Green Lake. Camp Green Lake is not the kind of camp children look forward to during summer. It is a place that once held “the largest lake in Texas,” but today it is only a scorching desert wasteland, dotted with countless holes dug by the boys who live at the camp.
Chinese Titles for Younger Readers
|Most Beautiful Woman 《世界上最美丽的女人》
Publisher: Lingzi Media
Year: 2012This is a tale from long time ago. A lost little boy is crying pitifully and looks for his mother. After some probing, all the villagers went around searching for his mother according to his description. They searched high and low but to no avail. How did his mother look like?
|Let Me Help You! 《我来帮你》
Author: X Kwang (万一光)
Publisher: Pan Asia Publishing Pte Ltd
Year: 2008The tortoise and the hare are not having a race this time! This story talks about how the hare and the tortoise help each other to safety in times of difficulties.
|Magical Case 《小铁盒》
Author: Lee Hui Hui (李慧慧)
Publisher: Odonata Publishing Sdn Bhd
Year: 2012Composition results are out! Jing Ning, the average scorer, actually came in first! Cong Ming suspects that Jing Ning has some “secret weapon” that helped her to defeat him. He and his friends, Hui Jie and David are determined to find out what it is. They started keeping tabs on Jing Ning’s movements but to no avail. Just when they are about to give up, Cong Ming chanced upon Jing Ning talking to a metal case.What is so special about the metal case? Could it be Jing Ning’s secret weapon?
|Extraordinary Teachers 《非常老师》
Author: Yang Hong Ying (杨红樱)
Year: 2011This is a story about teachers. There are some very special teachers in this ordinary school. They are good-looking, dress up nicely and are fun-loving! Their lessons are interesting; they are very caring- the students treat them as friends- and they are able to handle mischievous students well. There is something mysterious about them, they bring students into a magical learning environment where they are free to imagine and at the same time broaden their knowledge. These teachers are very special hence the name Extraordinary Teachers.
|Budding Love 《青苹果的滋味》
Author: Chiu Chao-Yu
Year: 2010This book is a compilation of 5 short stories. The stories describe some of the experiences the students of Secondary 2B had, presenting their inner thoughts.
|The Starry, Starry Night 《星空》
Author: Jimmy Liao (几米)
Year: 2009This is a story about growing up. A girl meets a reticent boy. They are unhappy children. One day, they run away from the city, tramp over hill and dale, to a little hut where the girl’s grandpa used to live in. In the middle of the night on the mountain, they see the prettiest star-studded sky. When they eventually return to the city, the girl falls ill and the boy is nowhere to be found. What eventually becomes of the children? A simple yet complicated story. It is simple because it describes the story of two persons meeting and separating. Complicated as this story brings the reader into a point of the story and reminiscences about one’s youth- a part of life that is hard to explain in a few words.
Malay Titles for Younger Readers
|Giant In The Closet and Other Tales (Gergasi Dalam Almari dan Kisah-kisah lain)
Author: Hirman Mohamed Khamis
Illustrator: Hirman Mohammed Khamis and Norhafizah Ibrahim
Publisher: Anuar Othman & Associates Media Enterprise
Year: 2011Giant In The Closet & Other Tales brings us to an era where the phenomenon of UFO becomes a part of daily conversation. This book, written by a local author who is also a teacher, provides a simple introduction to science fiction for children.
|Runaway (Lari Dari Rumah)
Author: Ashadi Zain
Publisher: PTS One Sdn Bhd
Year: 2006Runaway is a collection of 7 humorous, short stories about the adventures of a young boy named Adam. There are many positive values to be learnt from each story in this book.
|Best Collection of Moral Tales (Koleksi Terbaik Kisah Moral)
Author: Faye Jones
Illustrator: Darian Theoland
Publisher: Noon Publications
Year: 2012This book is a collection of folk tales from all over the world, filled with positive values which children can learn from.
|Aiman’s Promise (Janji Aiman)
Author: Nani Mohd Salleh
Publisher: Blue-T Publication Sdn Bhd
Year: 2012This story is about Aiman who experienced disappointment and inner conflict when he failed to get a place in a good school, and how he picked himself up after that.
|Secondary School? (Sekolah Menengah?)
Author: Natasha Effyzal
Publisher: PTS One Sdn Bhd
Year: 2008Secondary School? is a story based on Alya Amira, a girl who faces difficulties in adapting to a new school environment when it is time for her to be enrolled in secondary school.
|I Want This in ‘XL’ (Aku Mahu Saiz XL)
Author: Ain Maisarah
Publisher: Blink Book Sdn Bhd
Year: 2011This story discusses the current lifestyle issues of several teenagers who are dealing with their body image issues.
Tamil Titles for Younger Readers
|Searching for Mother (அம்மாவைத் தேடி)
Publisher: Mayura PublicationA cat helps a lost platypus find its mother by asking for help from several other animals.
|Humorous Tales for Children (சிறுைர்களுக்கு நவகச்சுவைக் கவேகள்)
Author: Professor Sothi Year: 2010
Publisher: Nanmozhe Pathipagam54 humorous tales wait to enthrall you!
Author: Ishimrithi Ram
Year: 2010This book tells stories of Sinbad and his many adventures.
|Rabbit Goes to the Moon (நிலவுக்குச் சசன்ற முயல்)
Author: Professor Sothi
Publisher: Nanmozhe Pathipagam Year: 2010This book is a collection of eight short stories on the adventures of a rabbit.
|Getting Paid for Eating Sweets (கரும்பு ேின்னக் கூலி)
Author: Professor Sothi Year: 2011
Publisher: Nanmozhe PathipagamThis book is a collection of witty and humorous short stories, which also teach us some lessons.
|New Father and Other Stories (புது அப்பா)
Author: KA. Sangaiya
Publisher: Tamil Arts Printers
Year: 2011This books is an anthology of seven short stories by Singaporean writer Ka Sangaiya.
Photos/images: National Library Board.
Read! Singapore 2013 is a year-long effort this time round and participants can look forward to a line-up of programmes throughout the year. This year’s theme “Under One Sky” highlights the bonds between people of different cultures, societies and generations.
Read our other story Youths Recommend Books to Kids in Read! Singapore 2013 for an overview of and the activities lined-up for Read! Singapore 2013. More information on Read! Singapore can be found at www.readsingapore.sg.