Read! Singapore 2013 refreshes for a new generation of readers

Singapore, 7 June 2013 – Read! Singapore returns this year with a new theme, a new format, and a new focus on young readers. The Youth Book Selection Committee, a group of students first formed last year to share the joy of reading with their peers, unveiled their 24 selected titles in the four official languages. The National Library Board (NLB) has also extended Read! Singapore 2013 from its previous three-month duration to a year-long effort. Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, launched this year's programme at the Jurong Regional Library today.

Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer of NLB, said, “For the first time, Read! Singapore has a group of passionate and avid young book lovers to select books for their fellow readers. We want to encourage more children and youths to pick up titles that appeal to them. By getting someone nearer their own age to recommend interesting books, we hope this can inspire and spark a love of reading among the young. We hope our young selection team will become enthusiastic reading ambassadors among their friends and family.”

Young readers can enjoy recommended reads for ages 7 to 14 by the Youth Book Selection Committee in all four official languages. The 25 students, aged 15 and above, have selected a variety of books and genres. These include local author Ann Peters' Farrer Park: Rhyming Verses from a Singapore Childhood, The Starry Starry Night, an illustrated picture book by Jimmy Liao, Giant in the Closet and Other Tales, by Hirman Mohamed Khamis, Sinbad's Adventures by Ishimrithi Ram, as well as a collection of three Asian folktales, among other titles.

Committee member, Joanne Lee, 16, from Hillgrove Secondary School, fell in love with books at a young age. She said: “My brother introduced me to the world of story books when I was five years old, and 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 come to love reading and make their own wonderful memories.”

This year's Read! Singapore's theme of 'Under One Sky' highlights the bonds between people of different cultures, societies and generations, through 12 selected short stories and four poems that explore the common humanity shared by all, despite their differences.  The selected works are published as anthologies in the four official languages, and will be made available at all 25 public libraries.

Besides short stories, Read! Singapore's recommended titles also include novels. In previous years, specific novels for each language were selected. This year sees a change in format to a recommended author in each language instead, where readers can choose to explore any title from each author's body of works. The recommended Read! Singapore 2013 authors are award-winning Malaysian writer Abdul Latip bin Talib, American novelist Ann Patchett, veteran local writer and poet Professor Wong Yoon Wah, and noted Tamil and Malayalam writer and critic Jeyamohan. 

The public is encouraged to keep an eye out for an exciting line-up of activities this year, that aim to showcase books and reading in unusual and unexpected ways. For the first time, there will be a pop-up library in July 2013. In October, the Kids' Lit Quiz, an international literature competition for children aged 10 to 13, will make its debut in Singapore. Readers can look forward to meet-the-author sessions with Chinese writers Chiu Chao-Yu and Lee Hui Hui, and American children's author Rob Cleveland. Other activities and programmes happening throughout the year include reading carnivals, interactive workshops, and competitions that encourage creative expression in all its varied forms.