More Local Bilingual Books For Children And Support For Writers Of Mother Tongue Language Materials

Three-year strategic collaboration between National Library Board and Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism will grow awareness, and enhance access and content for mother tongue language resources

Singapore, 27 September 2022 - The National Library Board (NLB) and the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism (LKYFB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to provide more Mother Tongue Language (MTL) resources and programmes to promote bilingualism from a young age, and grow the pool of local MTL writers. 

Children and their parents, along with educators, can look forward to more books, including eBooks, in various mother tongue languages by local writers. To mark the start of this partnership, NLB will add to its collection ten new titles translated from English to Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Patrons can start borrowing these titles through the NLB Mobile app ( from 27 September 2022 and at any of NLB’s public libraries from 31 October 2022. More titles will also be added over the next few years.

Under the MOU, LKYFB will provide grants to convert print books that it had earlier supported to eBooks, which can be accessed by the public via NLB’s mobile app and at upcoming physical and digital storytelling sessions from January 2023. 

[Please refer to Annex A for more details on the titles.]

Local writers who produce works for children in Chinese, Malay and Tamil can also expect more support through the MOU. NLB and LKYFB will work on building an ecosystem of support for local MTL writers to help them create and contribute works which will enhance the discovery of the mother tongue languages and the respective cultural heritage. NLB will host book launches and incorporate these books in its programmes and outreach activities. Interested writers can reach out to for more information on the support.

NLB Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Archives and Libraries Group), Ms Catherine Lau, said: “Our partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism will help to grow our Singapore collection and nurture a pool of writers of such works. In turn, this will grow the Learning Marketplace for all to read, discover and learn about our multi-cultural heritage and culture.”

The Learning Marketplace aims to be a national platform for lifelong learning, and is one of four roles under NLB’s LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025). The other roles are Singapore Storytellers, Informed Citizenry, and Equaliser. More details about LAB25 can be found here (

LKYFB’s Board Member, Chair of Publicity, Outreach and Resource Panel, Mr Lim Jim Koon, said: “The early years are important for a child to develop a strong foundation in language learning. This collaboration with NLB will allow us to expand the reach of MTL and bilingual books supported by the LKYFB to more children and their parents, to promote a love for language learning from a young age.”


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About National Library Board

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 28 libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore’s history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

For more information, please visit the NLB website, and NLB’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.


About Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism

The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism was incepted at the launch of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s book “My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey” on 28 November 2011. Established to supplement efforts by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the teaching and learning of English and the Mother Tongue Languages (MTLs), the Fund supports proposals that encourage bilingualism and the learning of MTLs as a living language and lifelong endeavour. The Fund is set up as a company limited by guarantee, with Charity and Institution of Public Character status.

For more information, please visit the LKYFB website, and LKYFB’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channel.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Denise Yuen Choo Jun Jie

Weber Shandwick Senior Officer, Media Relations

(Representing the National Library Board) Communications and Engagement Group

Tel: +65 9478 7377 Ministry of Education

Email:  Tel: +65 9821 2849



Synopses Of NLB's Translated Titles And LKYFB's Supported Books


 No.  Information on Books and Authors


The Incredible Basket [Chinese, Malay, and Tamil]

A beautiful Chinese wedding basket is used in various ways – it can deliver a batch of Ang Ku Kueh, be fashioned into a prop for a lion dance, repurpose a basket's cover as a hat, attached to a rope to pass a comic book and a bowl of noodles.

Quek Hong Shin is a freelance author and illustrator. His published works include picture books like The Amazing Sarong, The Marvellous Sugee Cake, and Universe of Feelings. He was nominated twice for The Hedwig Anuar Children's Book Award, and The Incredible Basket won Best Children's Book at the 2019 Singapore Book Awards.



The Boy Who Wanted to Grow a Moustache [Chinese, Malay, and Tamil]

Louis imagines himself becoming a grown-up with a moustache and tries to turn the idea into reality through various means. When he turns up at school with a moustache firmly in place, it horrifies everyone he meets. Just how much trouble can a moustache bring a little boy, and how does he get out of it? 

Melvin Koh is a trained economist who previously worked with the Monetary Authority of Singapore before starting his own education centre. His ability to tell a simple story is honed from his experience as a father, not to mention his work in education that also provides him with enough material to use for his stories. The Boy Who Wanted to Grow a Moustache is his first children’s book, developed in collaboration with his ex-students.



The Beaded Slippers [Chinese and Malay]

Puteh has a pair of worn, beaded slippers given to her by her grandmother. The slippers allow her to enter an imaginary world and re-enact the life of her grandmother as a young Peranakan bride.

Adeline Foo is a bestselling author, with 28 published books, three children’s and young adult TV series, and a fourth TV series in the works, a historical drama currently in development. A Master of Fine Arts graduate of New York University’s film school, Tisch Asia School of the Arts, Adeline completed her studies on a Media Development Authority scholarship in 2011.



Karung Guni Boy [Chinese and Malay]

Ming is a creative boy who loves to make things and he would love the chance to create his fanciful inventions. He did not have the money to buy the things to make his inventions, and when the sound of the Karung Guni man’s car horn beeped, he has an idea! Ming would become Karung Guni boy and make things out of things he collected instead. So he went door-to-door to his neighbours asking for things they no longer wanted. The neighbours were delighted to see that he had built a machine that would serve as a helper for them, whenever they needed an extra hand.

Lorraine Tan is a lecturer at the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Her first children’s book, Pip’s Garden, won the First-Time Writers and Illustrations Award in 2009. In 2013, her picture book, Origami Girl, was the Singapore first prize winner for the Daekyo Eye Level Children’s Literature Award.



Lost in the Gardens [Chinese and Tamil]

Mei had waited very long for this day to visit Gardens by the Bay. But she soon wanders off and loses her way. Lost and afraid, she meets Wise Wee the bear. Together, they search for Mom and go on an adventure around the Gardens like no other. 

Low Joo Hong holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Arts from the University of Leeds, UK, and a Master of Arts in Children's Books Illustration from the Anglia Ruskin University, UK. He is the illustrator of Dragon's Egg (2012) by award-winning author, Carolyn Goodwin. Besides Lost in the Gardens, Joo Hong also wrote There is Nothing Buried Here (2009), which received Honourable Mention from the judges of the Macmillan Prize for Children's Picture Book Illustration.



Grandma and the things that Stay the Same [Malay and Tamil]

It’s time for the yearly reunion dinner with Grandma, and she asks the same questions as she would every year. However, we see how this sameness amidst our ever-changing environment makes home and family all the more precious.

Eve Aw works in advertising, tinkering in the digital, tech, social and mobile space. She’s published numerous websites, banner ads and apps, but this is her first book. Eve is the owner of a post-graduate degree in business, a bad memory and a sweet tooth.



Pura, the Cat [Malay and Tamil]

Pura, a stray kitten, is identified as a valuable Singapura breed and is captured. Pura's three friends, Bhavana, Mei and Dexter work together to rescue him.

Tan Soon Meng is a corporate trainer and lecturer, and has also worked as a lawyer, banker and police officer. In 2011, he won a merit prize in Theatrework's 14th annual 24-hour playwriting competition and also completed a screenplay. Soon Meng's science fiction comic story, Ockham's Razor, was published in an anthology in 2010.



A Stray [Malay and Tamil]

A Stray is a story about Myra-Lou who longs to have a stray cat for a pet. Her parents are appalled and her brother is disgusted. After much haggling and a twist of fortune, Myra-Lou finally gets her stray. This is a story that deals with the attachment that children can have over a dream or an object and the extent that a family would go to reach a compromise without abandoning their principles.

Michael Wang is a teacher and a filmmaker. He teaches at the School of the Arts, Singapore, and the United World College, and runs a small creative writing school called The Young Writer's Table. He has two young children, Liam, who aspires to be a palaeontologist, and Myra, who dreams of being a dentist.



The Trampolines that Nadia Built [Malay]

Nadia builds bigger and bigger trampolines so she can jump to the moon, but each one fails to take her there. Her animal friends ask to jump on her trampolines and have lots of fun doing so. But Nadia is still sad that she cannot go to the moon. Then the animals come up with a plan.

Darren C. Ong is an associate professor of mathematics at Xiamen University, Malaysia. His day job involves doing research on mathematical physics, and how quantum particles behave in environments with an unusual structure.



Makan Time! [Tamil]

Whenever Sarah goes out with Grandpa, it is always Makan Time! Join Sarah as she discovers local delicacies such as Nasi Lemak and Roti Prata with her grandfather. Sarah learns that it is good to try new foods and that it is alright if we like different things.

Sharon Ismail is an actress, host, lecturer, and children's book author. She won the First Time Writers & Illustrators Grant (under the then-Media Development Authority & National Book Development Council of Singapore) in 2007 and published her first children’s book based on her mother’s childhood called What Sallamah Didn’t Know. In 2013, Sharon co-authored two bilingual (English/Malay) picture books with Rilla Melati Bahri called Makan Time! and Ati’s Baju Melayu under the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund.



 No.  Information on Books and Authors


Ally’s Adventure [Malay & English]

“Ally at the Library” is the fifth book in the “Ally’s Adventures” series. Set in Singapore, Ally, a little kitten, goes out on an adventure at the library, a place of learning and fun that is close to the hearts of our young readers. This book is designed to encourage early literacy, promote bilingualism and help develop communication skills.

Ms Norlin Samat is a former primary school teacher with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education and a Master in Language Studies. She is a passionate educator with a career spanning more than 18 years as a teacher and an administrator in public and private education institutions. Norlin is proud to be from a place where being bilingual is the norm. She hopes the Ally’s Adventures series will help family members and educators in their efforts to raise the next generation of bilinguals.



Baby King and Friends [Chinese & English]

In this story, Baby King and Papa King visited their relatives in Pasir Ris Park. There, Baby King found out from his aunt that what he heard about a baby owl falling from a tree was true. Aunty King pointed out where Oli, the baby owl, lived. He was trying to fly. As he looked, Baby King saw Oli falling to the ground. The little owl climbed up to his nest and tried to fly again and again. He fell many times and was in tears. But with the encouragement of Baby King and others, Oli eventually succeeded after many painful attempts. Both Baby King and Oli realised then why they should not give up when learning something important.

Ms Chew Lee Ching has always wanted to write stories for children. During the COVID-19 outbreak, she re-evaluated her priorities and decided to pursue her interest. “Baby King and Friends” is her first series of bilingual books. The stories are written simply, colourfully illustrated, and set in familiar local places that young children would have visited. She believes that the early years of childhood are the best time to nurture a love for reading and languages and cultivate personal, social, and community values that will help a young child as he or she grows. There is no better way to do this than through stories.



I Want to Go to Space [Malay]

Adam has ambitions. He wants to go on an expedition to explore outer space. Adam is curious to find out what makes astronauts float in the air. He has the opportunity to enter the astronaut's special room dressed as an astronaut. In that special room, Adam begins to float in the air. He is also excited to see the Omni-Theatre. Adam is determined to become an astronaut when he grows up.

Chased by Dinosaurs [Malay]

After Adam’s exploration in outer space, he continues his exploration at the Science Centre, Singapore. Adam has the opportunity to visit a dinosaur exhibit. He gets curious and gets lost in one of the dinosaur exhibits. Adam is amazed to see the skeletal structure of the dinosaur which was so big and tall. He then sees a strange dinosaur egg and tries to approach it. However, just as Adam is about to touch the dinosaur egg, he is chased by a dinosaur!

Ms Hana Mohd is the Director of the organisation Alam Cahaya since its establishment in 2000.  Hana believes that language and reading must be cultivated in the prime years of a child’s life. Hana has published close to 50 titles and her books, which appeal to the interest and reading abilities of children, have been widely used in schools. Hana also designs teaching resources, and conducts children's story-telling and workshops for budding writers. She advocates raising awareness on the importance of Mother Tongue Languages and strives to make local content easily available on our bookshelves.


Murphy, See How You Shine [Chinese]

《菲菲,你真棒! 》, or “Murphy, See How You Shine”, is a book that explores the themes of self-acceptance, kindness and friendship. 菲菲 (Murphy) is a blind dog that wants to be loved but has low self-esteem because of his disability. However, 菲菲 also has an unusual skill. As a diabetic-alert dog, he comes to realise how he can be a gift to others around him. A story that celebrates diversities, this story reminds readers that we can seek meaning amid life’s imperfections and help make this world a better place in our own little ways.

Ms Chen Wei Teng currently teaches at NorthLight School and was formerly an educational therapist with the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). She works with teenagers with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and also those who come from challenging family backgrounds. Wei Teng received her honours degree in Psychology from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Young Learners from the University of York. She started out as a journalist but switched to teaching as she relishes the challenge of aiding children with literacy difficulties in their English Language learning.