This article is created in conjunction with Kids’ Lit Quiz™, a fun literary competition where children aged 10-13 years old answer questions on children’s books ranging from classics to comics.
In 2018, the winning team from the Singapore Finals will represent the nation at the Kids’ Lit Quiz™ World Finals in Auckland, New Zealand! For general information about Kids’ Lit Quiz™, visit www.kidslitquiz.com.
Yes, you probably have no idea what we’re talking about. BUT YOU SHOULD! Historically, this is the worst category for nearly every team in the POSB-NLB Kids’ Lit Quiz™ competition. With the multitude of zero scores, the markers could collect enough eggs to open a Toast Box™. #NotAnAdvertorial
Oddly enough, Singapore Literature is the easiest category to prepare for, because:
- It will ALWAYS appear – just as regular as the National Day Parade.
- It’s not a huge collection (sadly), but less reading for you!
- Picture books and chapter books are the bulk of the collection – easy, breezy reads on a hot day at the Dragon Playground.
- No one seems to prepare for it very well, so if you double-point it in the Heats or Semi-finals, you’ll have an advantage over the other teams. Whoa, pro tip!
- The books are usually sitting prettily on public library shelves but if they’re gone, you can get them from local publishers. I got my copies at a discount from the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. (Wow, totally unintentional cross promotion!)
Because we like you all very much and genuinely want to help you, we’ve put together a list of Singaporean Children’s Literature titles that are Worth It. We’ve got whimsical, nonsensical, even death-defying books – really not your typical Ellie Belly and Amos Lee stuff, and definitely NOT Mr. Midnight!
These books should all be available at your nearest public library. You can even hit up your nearest bookstore and it might have one or two of them on sale. #SupportLocal
So grab a packet of cream crackers to go with your iced Milo, and indulge in a few hours of relaxing reading! (Unless you’re in a library, because no eating and drinking allowed, lah!)
Title: The Boy in the Whale Suit
Author: Marie Toh
Call No.: J Sing TOH
We’re starting off with something light. Marie Toh’s lovely localised illustrations fit the whimsy of this adorable little book about a little boy who isn’t really all that special. Isn’t he, though? the reader wonders. He’s wearing a whale! (A whale suit, actually.) How is he not special, then? And that, friends, is exactly the point.(If you didn’t get that, you need to read the book. If you got it, you should still read the book.)
Title: Timmy & Tammy: Saving and Spending Money
Author: Ruth Wan-Lau
Call No.: J SING WAN
Timmy wants to buy a cool science kit but he only has fifty cents! How can he save enough to buy it? Cue the sensei: Grandma tells Timmy a story about a squirrel and a raccoon preparing for winter. The squirrel squirrels (haha – geddit?) away acorns while the racoon trades them for all sorts of fun things. I’m sure you know where this is going, but read the book anyway.
Title: Mesozoic Mission (Fossil Finders, Book 1)
Author: Andy Chua
Call No.: J SING CHU
This book is published by the same folks who produce the Ellie Belly series, so expect a lot of magic and adventure as you travel into the prehistoric past with best friends, Samuel and Anna!An excursion to the museum soon erupts into mayhem. When Samuel touches a dinosaur bone, he brings an Argentinosaurus to life. The dinosaur guardian tears the fabric of time to send them back to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Their quest: retrieve an ammonite and an Allosaurus tooth. Will they survive the mission or end up as dinosaur fodder?
Title: The House on Palmer Road
Authors: Si-Hoe S.S. & Sim Ee Waun
Call No.: J SING SI
We love stories about old Singapore, just because they are so at odds with the Singapore we know today! The stories in this charming book take place in 1930s Singapore, just before World War II, and are based on the real lives of author Si-Hoe S.S. and her siblings, who actually grew up in the house on Palmer Road! Lim An-Ling brings the characters to life with her cute line illustrations, and if you bother to hike around Singapore, you’ll still see references to the places S.S. describes in the book, like the Fullerton Building and the Chinese Swimming Club. Thank goodness for Sim Ee Waun, S.S.’s daughter, who persuaded her mother to publish this record of a bygone era. (She also wrote The Little Singapore Book!)
Title: The Mystery of the Hermit’s Hut (Sengkang Snoopers, Book 1)
Author: Peter Tan
Call No.: J SING TAN
On first glance, this is a ridiculously thick book for something that could be told more simply, but you need to account for its pictures and the sections that are basically an ad for Pulau Ubin’s local fauna.Otherwise, this is a real hoot: the racially-balanced gang meet on Ubin, make friends, and immediately start kaypoh-ing into the local hermit’s business. It’s like Peter Tan has given us a localised version of the Adventure books by Enid Blyton – four children exploring while on holiday (conveniently), eating lots of yummy food, and acquiring their own parrot! (We miss you, Kiki!) Mr Tan also wants to inculcate good habits in his readers, like:
- Do not litter, even on Ubin!
- Only bad guys smoke and spit in public.
- Don’t beat your children.
There! Now you’re all set to raid the Singapore Literature Collections at the public libraries, and maybe we’ll have sausages with our eggs this year.